My dance journey is an unconventional one. I had always been scared of performing on a big stage. Anyone that knows me, knows I hate being the center of attention and hate cameras. My parents brought me to the US when I was 3 and when I turned 5 my mom decided to put me in ballet… and within 6 months I told my mom I hated it.
Eventually, in middle and high school, I got back into dance through cheer, ballet, and other dance teams. Still, I always felt like a part of my heritage was missing. Doing ballet, jazz, and contemporary was not the same as the styles I grew up admiring. Growing up, my friends and I would come up with dances for international shows. Seeing their friendly faces with me on stage helped me get past my fears.
Once I started college at Towson University, I stumbled upon a small Indian dance team. Towson does not have a huge Indian population so our team started with 7 girls. The team was not very organized, so with the support of the other girls, I took over as captain. We eventually gave the team a name: Chala. Simultaneously, I joined Fusion, which was the largest dance team on Towson’s campus, to continue what I started with – ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, and more. Having five dance practices a week helped me stay in shape.
Two years later, when the stress of school significantly increased, I left my position as captain of Chalak and remained on Fusion. Fusion helped me get rid of my stage fright and taught me how to dance more confidently. Just before graduating, I had choreographed Fusion’s first Bollywood group dance.
After graduation, I started my company, Anis Collections, which offers custom bridal and groom wear, as well as, a full-time investment banking job, and a couple of other side projects. While working 24x7, I missed dance, but I didn’t have enough time for it.
A few months went by and soon, the stress of it all took a toll on my health. After a year, I quit my job to focus on getting better. During that period, I realized I finally had time to bring dance back into my life. Pavani had reached out to me earlier when I didn’t have time with my job, but once I got my health in control, I reached back out to see if something was available and luckily there was!
Teaching has been really rewarding. I love the kids and how much potential they have. At first, I was nervous about how it would go, but as I do it more, my skills as a teacher and choreographer improve. I hope to continue following my love for dance and spreading that joy to my students.
Through dance, I have met so many talented people, made lasting friendships, and gained skills that can apply to all aspects of my life. I am glad to have this hobby back through BILB!