I have always thought of dance as my best friend; it's been there for me on my good and bad days.
Growing up as a South Asian, I naturally fell in love with Bollywood movies and music. I remember blasting loud music and dancing in a small storage room, back home in Bangladesh.
Although I was too shy to dance in front of others, my mother constantly pushed me to dance in public to break me out of my shell. She started off by encouraging me to dance in front of small crowds. Once I was comfortable with small crowds, my mother signed me up to perform in front of enormous crowds for school events.
Then suddenly, I moved to the United States, but my love for dance followed me. After coming to America at the age of 12, I started to become exposed to a broader variety of music and dance. It wasn’t long until I discovered a passion for Hip Hop and Contemporary Dance.
Although I had doubts that I would not make it in the real world of dance, I never gave up and continued to look for dance opportunities. At Glen Burnie High School, I auditioned for Dance Company and got selected for Junior Dance. The following year, I was selected for Honors Company. I received many dance awards such as “Outstanding Facials” and “Having the Most Energy.”
By the age of 16, I discovered a new passion to complement my passion for dance: teaching. I cultivated this new passion by teaching high school classes of 30-40 students.
After high school, I decided to live in Bangladesh for two years because of a family death. This not only prevented me from teaching dance, but I also gained about 20 pounds, which took a toll on me. I started to exercise and incorporated dancing into my workouts.
As a result, dancing soon became my lifestyle, rather than a hobby.
Once I came back to the United States, I started college and majored in business. I quickly learned that college requires a lot of patience, commitment, and hard work. However, I noticed that dancing in my free time kept me sane and focused.
While in college, I yearned for a career in dance, but I did not think that I could get back to where I was because of my weight gain. Still, part of me knew that this was not the ending. I continued to workout and slowly got back into dancing.
One day I unexpectedly received an email from Pavani, the founder of Bend It Like Bollywood Dance Company(BILB). She informed me that she was searching for new dance instructors. I was ecstatic at the opportunity and felt euphoric when I met and interviewed with Pavani.
I knew this was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. When I started teaching the first class at BILB, I reminisced on the love I had for Bollywood dance and music. This organization has provided me with the opportunity to meet some of the most beautiful and kindhearted people. BILB has helped me rekindle my friendship with my best friend: dance.