Stree Shakthi Series focuses on the art form of Dance.
Welcome to the world of Indian classical dance, where every movement is a story waiting to be told. The dancers are not mere performers, they are master storytellers. Some classic dance forms have existed for years and their significance in the modern society that grown multifold. Some dancers also have a career beyond this. It is commendable that have very well managed both their passion and work. Let us hear from one of the founders of Nritya about their journey so far.
1) What inspired you to chose dance as a career/ passion ?
We are deeply passionate about celebrating and sharing the vibrant and culturally rich heritage of India. For us, the art of performing and teaching authentic Garba is a profound privilege as artists. We have intentionally chosen not to turn this passion into our primary source of income. We never wanted to compromise the purity of our craft by being solely driven by financial pressures.
2) Tell us about how Team Nritya happened.
Upon our arrival in Canada as international students, Shivani and I were determined to stay connected with our cultural passions. We made several attempts to join existing dance groups. But, encountered challenges that made us feel like they didn’t quite belong. Challenges included differences in culture, a lack of dance groups dedicated to authentic folk and classical pieces. Also, a sense of disconnect with dancers who couldn’t relate to the unique struggles faced by us as international students led us to a significant decision.
It was from this realization that we founded “Team Nritya“. This is an initiative aimed at not only preserving the authenticity of their cultural art forms but also at creating a welcoming home for fellow immigrant dancers who sought to stay connected with their roots.
3) Team Nritya being run by 2 woman, what are the challenges that you have faced in setting up and expanding the organization?
We are currently facing a situation where performers are not receiving the compensation they truly deserve. It is disheartening that organizers of major South Asian festivals often cite budget constraints. It is quite perplexing considering the prominent brand sponsorships and the massive turnout at these events.
Another substantial challenge we face is the scarcity of affordable rehearsal spaces for our team. Renting studios on an hourly basis can be exorbitant, adding significant financial strain.
Additionally, we encounter difficulties in finding passionate and experienced dancers who are well-versed in the authentic folk and classical forms we wish to uphold. Our team members are spread across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which is also logistically challenging.
Notably, one of the founders of Team Nritya, Shivani, makes an admirable commitment by traveling from Windsor to Toronto every single weekend to rehearse with the team. These challenges underscore our dedication to preserving and promoting our cultural heritage. Besides, it is also driving us to find innovative solutions to address these issues.
4) What are some Indian dance forms that you would like to teach and create awareness about to the next generation?
These are some of the most beautiful and authentic dance forms of India that the world needs exposure to:
1) Classical: Bharatnatyam
2) Classical: Kathak
3) Gujarati folk dance: Garba, Tippani, Hudo, Rasdo, Beda, Gauf, Raas
4) Punjabi folk dance: Bhangra
5) Rajasthani folk dance: Kalbeliya, Ghumar
6) Marathi folk dance: Lavni
7) Haryana folk dance: Haryanvi
5) Your advise/ tips to any woman who would like to choose Indian dance form as their career path?
We are wholeheartedly dedicated to empowering women to pursue their passions, regardless of the sacrifices it may entail. Whether you opt for dance as a full-time or part-time career, the key advice we offer is to maintain that unwavering connection with your passion. We firmly believe that choosing the path of your passion will spare you a lifetime of regret.
6) Being a Navratri special Blog, please share some fun fact about Garba .
Garba is a traditional Indian dance form that originates from the vibrant state of Gujarat. Its roots can be traced back to the ancient legends of the Hindu goddess Amba (or Jagadamba), who is believed to have danced the Garba to honor Goddess Durga. Over time, this devotional dance evolved into a vibrant and joyful social celebration, particularly during the nine-day Hindu festival of Navaratri.
Some Interesting Facts:
The Circular Dance: Dancers adorn themselves in colorful dress and accessorize themselves with ornate jewelry and move in a circular motion around an earthen lamp symbolizing the cyclical nature of life.
Dandiya Raas: Dandiya Raas, a closely related dance form, involves dancers using colorful sticks, called dandiyas, to create rhythmic beats in harmony with the music.
World Record: Gujarat holds the Guinness World Record for the largest Garba dance. In 2017, nearly 19,000 participants gathered in Vadodara to set this record, showcasing the global appeal of this dance form.
Global Reach: In countries like the United States, Canada, and the UK, Garba events are a vibrant part of cultural celebrations.
Cultural Exchange: In 2014, UNESCO recognized Navaratri and Garba as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, further solidifying its cultural significance.
The remarkable journeys of Jinkal and Shivani serve as inspiring examples of harmoniously balancing their engineering careers with their deep passion for dance. Jinkal excels as a Project Manager, while Shivani’s dynamic role encompasses being a software engineer and successfully running a tech startup, all the while nurturing Team Nritya and teaching nine dance batches each week. Their stories unequivocally demonstrate that you can indeed do it all. We wholeheartedly support your journey and wish you the strength and determination to follow your dreams. More power to you.
Team Nritya is always looking for passionate and dedicated dancers to join our team and deliver exceptional performances. We are more than happy to announce that we are planning to expand our location to Brampton and Mississauga very soon. For more updates about hiring dancers and dance lessons, please follow team Nritya on Instagram.
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