Read our interview with young and dynamic dancer, Krupa Shah as she discusses growing up in the dance world, and the whirlwind of classes, schools and performances that have come together to make her dreams come true. The interview is open, honest and truthful. A true look at her life.
Tell us something about yourself, your personal life, and educational background.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in dance, sports, music and Biology (yes, really!). Since I was 4, I have spent most of my time pursuing one or all of them. On the dance front, I have been learning Bharatnatyam for the last 18 years and was also a part of the Shiamak Davar Institute for the Performing Arts for 10 years. My education at the Good Shepherd International School, Ooty taught me to be independent and focused at a very young age. Thereon, I have been extremely lucky to be a part of some of the best institutions in the world. Mount Carmel College, Bangalore, Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai, for my under graduation, Harvard University, Boston, for Summer School, Manchester Business School, U.K for an MSc in Management and eventually Broadway Dance Centre, New York wherein I graduated in dance. Also, I’m a big foodie and I love to travel. A few places already covered from my bucket list are Barcelona, Ibiza, Venice, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai and London. Many more to go!
What exactly do you do?
Currently I am a teacher to 22 lovely students ranging from the age group of 3 to 53 years who have reached out to me in the past 12 months which was when I first started teaching dance professionally. I am involved only in private dance lessons, allowing me to limit my batch size to maximum 5 students per batch. That way I am able to give individual attention to every student, thus reflecting widely in his or her quality of dancing. Alongside, I myself started learning Kathak about 6 months back and still continue to give Bharatnatyam performances around the country.
In addition to all this, I also help in my family business and usually work and handle the Business Development portfolio.
Why something like this? I mean in today’s time, we know how many people are into following the traditional trend. Weren’t you scared? What if you had failed with this? Had any back up plans?
Many people told me (and still continue to persuade me) to start my own dance school or enter Bollywood and become a choreographer, but somewhere deep inside I just know that it’s not meant for me (at least not right now). What I do today is only because of the love and passion I have for dance. Not as a source of my bread and butter. It gives me immense happiness and pride to see my students perform on stage or even in class because I know they are thoroughly enjoying themselves and to see that is extremely satisfying and fulfilling. The smile it brings on a student’s face is irreplaceable. And yes, of course I was scared. I didn’t know if I would be accepted, if people would like my teaching style or my choreography. But from the day I started, I haven’t had a single student who has discontinued my class. The number has been steadily increasing and I couldn’t be happier! As for the back up plan, since I wasn’t doing it for financial reasons the thought of failing never occurred to me. If not this, I would’ve looked for another way to spread the joy of dance!
How did the idea of this come to you?
I had been involved with dance for 20 years when I decided to start teaching professionally. I felt that it was time to impart and spread the knowledge I had gained from all the different avenues, which I was truly blessed to be a part of. I also saw the need for the same, in the manner that I do. Most of the dance classes you will see today are filled with so many students making it impossible for the instructor to give his or her personal attention to the students. I know this because I have been one of those students throughout my training. In my opinion, that hinders growth. I just knew that if and whenever I would teach, my approach, as a teacher and towards my students, would be totally different.
When did you decide to give it a start? And how?
I knew I wanted people to be involved in dance for one or more reasons. Not only for learning but also for the fun element – to let go, to enjoy, to have some me-time and most importantly to discipline one’s body. Dance is a fantastic way to exercise and improve flexibility. It teaches you so much about your own body. It can also get challenging at times and that’s when it is really productive. To help people overcome something like that and all the other things I mentioned is why I started doing this.
Do you get nervous before a performance? What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Yes and no. Yes because I want everything to go smoothly. Right from the choreography, to the audio, to the lighting and many other such elements which put together an entire performance. And no because I am confident of my learning and the hours of practice that I have put in along with the trust and belief of my teachers instilled in me. Being nervous is absolutely normal and it does not mean that there’s a reason to worry or get intimidated. However, I would advice others to not let this nervousness over power the level of preparation they have built for the performance. It all lies in the mindset just minutes before the performance starts. Be confident and believe in yourself. Just that, does wonders!
Anything that you want people who are into this line to keep in mind for success?
Try to innovate and be different. Don’t follow somebody else’s footprints just because they are successful. Make your own footprints. Make your own mistakes. Be perseverant. I am not trying to be philosophical but the things you learn this way will teach you something no other experience will. And most importantly, amidst all of this, don’t forget that you are blessed and talented for a reason. Put that potential to good use and always put your heart and soul into whatever you do.