Inspiration personified! Mumbai school girls lead the way towards social change

It was a perfect evening of grace and elegance as 17-year-old Aanya and 18-year-old Anoushka seamlessly wove together their artistic skills, propelled with what they considered their duty to give back to society. ‘Prerna’ was a mesmerising show put together by these talented danseuses along with the children of Salaam Bombay Dance Academy. The show was a noble attempt to raise funds for underprivileged children, like those performing with Aanya and Anoushka, to get access to world class dance training.

The performance was an exotic melting pot of different styles and artists from different socio-economic backgrounds, all with one unifying goal who spoke the language of dance with an ardent fervour. It was an outcome of the passion and zeal of the girls and the children of Salaam Bombay Foundation together.

Prerna - Salaam Bombay Dance AcademyExplained Aanya, “After years of training in our respective fields, we wanted to take our skills outside the four walls of a classroom. At the same time, we wanted to make it count for something. Those like us who love dance know and believe it can change the world. But there is no community change without community participation. Thus began our collaboration with our peers from the Salaam Bombay Dance Academy. The Salaam Bombay Dance Academy has been working with children from underprivileged backgrounds by giving them the best available dance training. This in turn helps these children to continue their education and explore career avenues which they otherwise would not be able to access given their humble backgrounds. It was a perfect fit.”

“Initially we were nervous and had no idea if our plan of a joint concert would appeal to them. Later they told us how excited they were. They invited us to their class and then we never looked back. Although we were just meant to observe the class, the afternoon developed into one filled with song, dance and laughter. The rhythm eventually got to us and we began to dance beside them”, explained Anoushka.

Aanya began her Kathak training eight years ago under the legendary late Sitara Deviji and continues under the tutelage of her guru Smt. Anjalie Gupta. Anoushka, on the other hand, has been training in the arts of Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre and Latin American for 12 years with the School of Classical Ballet and Western Dance, Mumbai.

The idea of a joint performance with Prerna looked surreal but the girls agree that it was not without its set of challenges. “We come from different places, both geographically and in our minds. We have different skill sets and have trained in different ways. We also have our own personal preferences when it comes to styles,” explained Aanya.

It was an exciting experimental curve for both the girls as they worked around different sets of dance techniques and successfully fused it together to create a charming display.

The children of Salaam Bombay Dance Academy were equally thrilled about their role in Prerna. Lokesh Mishra, one of the students of the Academy says, “Prerna has given us the opportunity to put our talent to good use — to raise funds to ensure that many more talented children like us get the chance to pursue their dancing dreams. Through all these practice sessions, we have come to rely on each other and formed close ties that will last beyond an evening.”

Aditi Parikh, VP, Communications & Development, Salaam Bombay Foundation, acknowledges the efforts of all the artists. “What is important is the coming together of peers, each an artist in their own right. They learn much more than dance moves. They learn to admire and acknowledge, criticise with tact and take feedback gracefully. They grow from the experience.”

The venue was packed with enthusiasts and connoisseurs of dance were treated to a mesmerising display of dance fusion for a noble cause.

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