Bindu Bolar: First Indian Tribal Fusion Belly Dancer

Passion is not merely a seven letter word but it is that driving force which gives you the courage to leave your comfortable job, break the barriers of a secured income, step beyond the stipulated boundaries and create an identity on your own terms. Such is the story for our today’s post featuring Bindu Bolar who has opened up the gates of Tribal Fusion Belly Dancing into India. This interview will for sure recreate the energy in you to follow your dreams once again.

1. What was the first event of your life which gave you the courage to leave a comfortable job and open up an entirely new venture?

I can’t exactly pin point an event as such. I have been dancing since I was 3 years old. Always looking for an opportunity to dance. But coming from a very education oriented family dancing was never encouraged except for school/college events. Even after I joined the software field I was still dancing part time. But as time passed I realized I was not happy there, despite the fact that I was at the peak of my career. I even won best employee of the year award, but I was not happy. There was this void. A feeling of not being me, my heart and soul were always pulling me towards dancing. I think that void, that feeling of being incomplete, having something missing in me… made me put down my papers and take up my passion as my profession. The best thing that has ever happened to me! 

2. What is your take on reaction of typical Indian people on Belly dancing?

collage_pefBelly Dancing is one of the most new genres to have set foot in India even though its history dates back to thousands of years. So for an art form to establish in any country take’s time. The Belly Dance community in India, we are trying very hard to establish this as a respectable dance form. Belly dancing requires the same amount of passion, dedication, discipline to learn as any other dance form. There are various people in the country who have their own opinions and perspectives. In my opinion and based on the experiences I have had, well it is very saddening to say that people don’t respect this form as much as they respect other classical styles of dancing. Most of them see it as indecent or people feel it’s some male entertainment dance form.

It’s a 2 way road to be honest. Firstly people need to change their mentality towards the dance form and secondly the artist should be responsible towards the art form, provide correct information and do justice to it when presented.
Any dance can be made to look vulgar and cheap. It need not be just belly dancing. It’s a matter of how it’s presented and the general perspective and knowledge level of the audience.

Having said all this, I have seen the perspectives changing too. The past 2-3 years have seen a significant change in its acceptance in India. And also a lot of people are taking up this dance form either professionally or as a dance student or as a workout routine considering its health benefits. More and more people are getting drawn towards Belly Dancing.
3. The students come up willingly to attend your workshops or you have to put an extra effort?

Fortunately, it’s been very very willingly. They are very interested to learn, especially in the genre that I teach – Tribal Fusion Belly Dance.

4. Who inspired you to take belly dancing as your profession and what was your family’s reaction on it, were they supportive?

I am firstly a professional Dancer who also happens to do Tribal Fusion Belly dancing.
I love two things, very dearly… It actually gives me kinda of an adrenaline rush – Learning Dance forms and Being on stage performing. I started my career with Bollywood and moved into other dance forms. I am trained in Kathak, Contemporary, Hip Hop, BBoying, Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Jive and many more forms.

So having this craze to learn new dance forms bumped me into Classical Belly dancing almost 5 years back. But then I connected most to its sub-genre Tribal Fusion Belly Dance.
One of the pioneers in this form Rachel Brice (USA) has been my inspiration to become a professional Tribal Fusion Belly Dancer.

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And about my parents!! Forget Belly Dancing, initially my parents were shocked with my decision to move into professional dancing itself. Like any concerned parent would be they were worried about my future. It’s difficult for any parent to see their kid from a software engineer to a dancer. They were aware of the harsh realities of moving from a fixed income job to an uncertain life of the artist. It’s not easy especially in India for an artist to survive. Each day is a struggle. But now things have changed, my parents are very supportive. I stood by my decision and have been working really hard. My parents have seen this and understood my passion, so are OK with whatever I am doing now. 
5. How do you see belly dancing’s future in India?

Very Bright!!! There are a lot of young girls and guys taking up this form seriously. So happy to see this change in the country.

6. What is your message for the girls who are stuck somewhere and are not able to fulfill their dreams?

Hmmm … clear your mind. Make yourself strong. If you don’t stand up for your dreams and ambitions who else will? There will be people who support and there will be people who oppose. You can’t make everyone happy. Listen to your heart … follow your dreams. Work hard…. Work with discipline. Then your success will do all the talking for you! Once you are there you need not justify … your work will speak for you. This quote comes to my mind as I write this “The journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step”. So don’t stop yourself from taking that first step. Rest is easy. All will fall into place. Believe in yourself.

7. What conventions of the society you wish to break by your venture and how do you plan to contribute towards the nation?

Best oneYou ask any Belly dancer in the country they will give you the same answer – we are concentrating our efforts to do our best to clear the misconceptions surrounding Belly Dancing and make it get the recognition and respect it deserves.

Also for me personally, I want to make people aware of Tribal Fusion Belly Dance. Not many people in the country know this form. It’s so alien to them.
My aim is to conduct classes, workshops across the country and make people aware of this beautiful mystical dance form. I have already travelled to a lot of places around the country conducting workshops and performing. The response has been amazing so far. I already have my own vocabulary in terms of my teaching and my styling put together as “The Tribalina’s Format”, which I wish to teach across the world. I also run a small accessory line called as “The Tribalina’s Tjori” which deals with the costumes/accessories related to Tribal Fusion Belly Dance. Working on spreading the brand name too.

I want to learn from my favorite International artists. I also dream of representing India in the Global Tribal Fusion Belly Dance field. It has been my dream to teach this form, perform and compete on a world platform representing India. Well the dream has come true. Very soon I will be travelling aboard to teach and perform.

I wish to contribute my part not only to Tribal Fusion Belly dance, but dance in general. When I leave this planet I want leave my footprints as a Dancer, Performer, Teacher and a Human being.

8. You’re an inspiration to all those who want to pursue their dreams, so to whom you would like to give the credit for your success?

Success! Lol! I don’t know how to define it. I feel I have a long way to go. This is just the beginning. It’s too heavy of a word to use. All I know is it’s a beautiful dance journey right now and I am enjoying every moment of it. I am so grateful to Tribal Fusion Belly Dance that it has chosen me. Given me an identity. Feels blessed to have the title ‘The Tribalina’ attached to my name.

But yes I would definitely like to mention that … I am who am I today, because of my parents blessings, best wishes of my friends/colleagues, guidance of my teachers, criticism of my critics and the Divine power I believe and have faith in.

I owe my life to these guys.

Rachna Ghiya : Believe in yourself

Here is a glimpse of our chit chat with Rachna Ghiya – Founder, CrispTalks . In this she has shared parts of her life from being an employee in a small organisation to the founder of her very own venture.

Q1. How you started your entrepreneurial journey?
A. It has been a journey of few; failed interviews after reaching the final rounds, being the last one to get placed even after scoring good GPA in MBA, first to opt out of the placed company due to unmet promises, sitting idle for months when all my friends were savoring the initial success of their jobs, and then starting on a meager salary that didn’t match with any of my friends’ fancy paychecks… this is how my professional life kick started.

CrispTalks - Creating awesome animated VIDEOS (Y)Well, it felt horrible because not just that I failed my own expectations but of my family and loved ones too. They had high hopes for me and had big dreams of finding me well suited to a high position in MNC. Though the salary I earned then was peanuts yet it gave me satisfaction that my presence made a difference and added value. Well, all good things come to an end, and gradually stagnation picked momentum. It felt monotonus to do this 10-10 job.

My desire to leave the company was counter offered with a sabbatical instead. But, I knew that I couldn’t do a job and I care to live on my own terms – where I am the anchor and boss of my life. With much confusion and family pressure, I rejoined.. However this didn’t last for long. Alas, on the evening of August 25, 2013, I finally took the big decision without telling anyone. I slept over the thought and the next day, emailed my resignation.

This is where my independent journey started. I still remember the $5 I got from my first freelance work – my first little success. I experimented new things and put my zeal into work. The results started showing up with new projects making their way to me  It’s almost a year now when I began my new journey and I am happy working as a freelancer. The year blessed me with contentment and accomplishment. Not only that, this 1 year gave me ample opportunities  to enhance my skills and  also come up with my own venture – CrispTalks. CrispTalks aims at providing affordable awesome animated videos and engaging presentations for start-ups, entrepreneurs and trainers. I also got a chance to become the editor of a book written on Powtoon software which is soon to be released in 2015.

Q2. What were the initial hurdles you faced during your journey?
A.
 The first hurdle was to be courageous enough to leave a settled job & convince my parents. When I actually started as a freelancer, I single-handedly worked on multiple projects & had to make sure that I do justice to all the projects. Also, creating initial trust and believe in your services is a daunting task.

Q3. Most asked question by budding entrepreneurs, how can they explain to their parents about their dreams as they force them into doing jobs?
A. I think that the job I did gave me a lifetime of experience & clarity of what I am good & bad at. It helped me in self-analysis. But when I felt that I am not enjoying what I am doing I took plunge and simply dived in to explore the entrepreneurial path. My resignation was an independent decision where I just followed my heart. According to me, you just need to convince yourself & set goals for moving ahead in life. Rest of the things will start converging by their own.

Q4. What is your message to young girls, as for them life is graduate->marry->kids->end?
A. I don’t think this is true in today’s era. Girls are equal contenders & they want to make their families proud of their achievements. Good education is the stepping stone for a well paved life. I just have one message for all the girls, it’s important to determine who you are & the reason of your existence. It’s great to see you as a homemaker but are you actually content in being one, is the question. Just ask yourself this & your life will be more than graduation >marriage > kids > end.

You can visit the company’s website for more information about what CrispTalks do

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Sneha Kapoor: The Indian Salsa Princess

Here we bring you our conversation with Sneha Kapoor popularly known as “The Indian Salsa Princess”, Holder of Guinness World Record for “Most Number of Swing Dance Flips in a Minute”, a very dynamic and hardworking personality.

1. How it feels credited for putting the Indian Salsa on the world map?

I started dancing in mid 2006 and before I knew it I was competing in the year 2007. I won at The Australian salsa Classic 2007, The European Salsa Masters Championship 2007, represented India at the World Salsa Championships in 2007 and placed 2nd at the Asian open salsa Championships in 2007. A lot of people abroad were shocked that people in India even do Salsa and it was a great feeling to be the first Indian to represent India and compete and win! People abroad gave my partner and me awesome reviews on our performance and considered India to be a growing country to promote salsa! So its very humbling to have helped put India on the World salsa map by winning international championships and being invited to teach salsa in workshops nationally and internationally but at the same time it’s also a huge responsibility to keep up the standard.

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2. What was the initial hurdles you faced before making your passion as your profession, did your family supported you?

photo 2I started dancing when I was still in college where you are still trying to figure out who you want to be. So I had a lot of people who did not take me seriously! I had a lot of dancers/ instructors/ choreographers who were ahead of me in terms of time and had years of experience more than me. So I had to work twice as hard in half the time they did to catch up. Being in this line is not the easiest you need to be dedicated and hard working and be self driven. A lot of people told me I wouldn’t make it or become somebody in this line, a lot of people doubted me and a lot of people thought I did not deserve the success I achieved for myself and different legs of my journey but I did not let it effect me. I just concentrated on what I had to do, who I want to be and where I wanted to reach and I worked harder every passing day. So in college instead of hanging out with friends for coffee an movies I spent all my time at a studio rehearsing! I lost a lot of friends on the way at that moment but I guess it was worth it, cause I had a dream and I saw it through. My family was very supportive from the start so that was very comforting and boosted my confidence to succeed.

3. You appeared on many reality TV shows like Jhalak Dikhla Jaa 7, Dance India Dance, India’s Got Talent. So are you looking forward to participate in any other show as of now?

I just performed on the Got Talent – World Stage Live Show on colors and as of I have some work in pipeline for me on television so as soon as everything falls into place you will be able to watch me on screen again.

5. You are a Guinness World Record Holder, tell us something from the moments of making the record?

I have Guinness World Record for “Most Number of Swing Dance Flips in a Minute”. The record of 33 flips in a minute was set four years ago in the UK, but I made a new record at 39 flips. The whole experience was just amazing, rehearsals for the same were fun , shooting for the same at that moment was exciting and I don’t think i’ll ever forget the nervousness in my stomach when they were about to announce if we had broken the record! and then when we broke the record, it’s an amazing feeling to know my name is in the Guinness Book till today!

sneha-guinness

6. What is your message to young girls, as for them life is graduate->marry->kids->end?

If you have a dream don’t let anyone stop you from trying to or working towards achieving it. In today’s world it’s also our responsibility to make an effort to treat ourselves as equals when it comes to being men and woman and have people respect us and treat us that way too. The universe has put out all around us everything we desire, we just need to have the will power and self confidence to step out into the world and take it and make it our own.

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7. What is your message to young and budding entrepreneurs, who are following their hearts and creating their passion into profession just like you?

Don’t let anyone tell you ‘ You Can’t’ and even if they do, don’t believe them. Only you have the power to stop yourself from reaching your dreams and goals. So if you have a dream, work hard towards, be smart about it, you probably will fail but don’t give up cause that’s your chance to learn from it and get better and smarter! Compete only with yourself everyday to do better than the previous day and you will reach your goals much faster than you think!

Sneh Sharma: You don’t choose to be an Entrepreneur, It just happens

A passion for work and freedom led, Sneh Sharma, from her life as a leading marketer in the country to a dynamic entrepreneur. Here we bring you our conversation with this buoyant leader, Founder & CEO of the first ever only girls Digital Media agency, Ittisa.

We are different! No, we really are!
We are the first ever only girls digital media agency.

1. How you started your entrepreneurial journey?

You don’t choose to be an Entrepreneur, It just happens.
I was 23 when it happened to me. I was four months with a media house and very restless. I wanted to innovate, create, experiment, fall, fail, learn and most prominently, take charge and work and work more. However, I realized, in bigger companies it takes eons, to even fail. My intuitions urged me to experiment with my life and I realized if I wanted to start something, I should do it NOW. I was freshly out of college too! So in terms of lifestyle I was already in a start-up mode; before salary, comfort etc. spoil my routines, I should quit, I thought, and there began my journey as a budding entrepreneur starting my 1st company.

But Ittisa began with a provocation, and this time in the form of a book.

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Winning and losing has never been a part of my big picture, but challenges have always been my driving force. Reading Sheryl Sandberg’s sensational book ‘LeanIn’ ignited my entrepreneurial journey. The intriguing narration by the COO of Facebook about new age women and her professional side of life sparked a striking thought in me, making me relive my 7 years of professional life with 7 start-ups and one multinational. I never could accept that women worked less or were less competent than men, because in all my recollection, the best performing from my school to organizations were always women.

So where are we as women going wrong? Blaming it on society seemed to be the easiest way out. Motivational content for women too were thriving at the time through ad campaigns and what not, but none walked their talk and that’s when I knew it’s actually time – time to take charge.

2. What were the initial hurdles you faced during your journey?

ittisa-logoWhen it comes to starting a new business, there are so many things that could go wrong. But I have always faced every challenge as an opportunity. The idea to start an all girls agency received a lot of slack from various quarters. “That is a far-fetched and futile idea”, people would say. However, I stuck to my resolve and went ahead and started Ittisa. It’s been only 7 months into the inception and with only 10 girls on-board we have already successfully partnered with more than a dozen clients. From my past and present experiences I have realized that women are extremely hard working and have it in them to even outperform men. Provide them with opportunities is all you need to do.

Another hurdle-turned-opportunity was the general lack of trust in young entrepreneurs in the business world. But the resolve and the readiness to walk that extra mile has worked well for us. We started off by partnering with a renowned and distinguished firm like Mara Mentor and for any start up this is undoubtedly a dream start.

The hurdles that I faced never weakened my resolve instead they only further motivated me to keep striving.

3. What motivated you to make “Girls only digital media agency”?

ittisa mediaAs mentioned earlier, the idea of making it an all girls firm struck me when I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Her stories about how women take a back seat and face innumerable challenges in their work space were an eye opener. I decided then and there that mine would be an ‘all girls’ firm. From then on I have never looked back.

And did I ever complete the book? Never could I. But here I am, writing a completely different one.

Ittisa is now one of the youngest and fastest growing digital media agencies and I am constantly proved right in choosing an all girls space by my highly energetic and gritty team. They are my Super girls.

4. What is your message to young girls, as for them life is graduate->marry->kids->end?

You are your own architect, not what others make you. So make sure you follow your passion and put your heart and soul into achieving whatever it is that you have set your mind upon. Remember, ‘there is no force equal to that of a determined woman’.

5. What is your message to young and budding entrepreneurs?

These few lines etched by Lord Tennyson pretty much sums it up,

 “To Strive, To Seek, To Find and Never to Yield.”

Ruchi Sanghvi: From Facebook to facing the unknown

Ruchi Sanghvi, Facebook’s first female engineer, decided to follow her dreams rather than fearing. From joining Facebook, to building Facebook Newsfeed, to quitting Facebook and embarking on her own startup cove, Sanghvi has proved that following your dreams is the way life should be lived.

 

Her startup Cove was acquired by Dropbox for its brilliant engineering team Aditya Agarwal and Ruchi Sanghvi.

Varun Agarwal: From failing in engineering to co-founding a million-dollar company

Varun Agarwal is a first-generation entrepreneur, film maker and author. He co-founded Alma Mater and two other companies – Reticular and Last Minute Films. He is also the sole author of a bestseller book “How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded A Million Dollar Company“. He Co-Founded Alma Mater with his friend Rohn Malhotra, which is now India’s largest company for providing merchandise to students of schools and colleges.

 

He recently launched a music video with a very genuine message that you should not worry what people will say if you follow your dreams just follow your heart.

 

You can know more about him on his Personal Website http://www.varunagarwal.in