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Here's How Belly Dancing Became My Path to Self-Love...

( words)
*For representational purpose only.

Ever since I was a little girl, my heart beat to the rhythm of dance and the thrill of sports.

My eyes sparkled with dreams of moving gracefully and conquering new heights. It all started with Shakira's 'Hips Don't Lie' music video – the belly dancing movements mesmerised me.
After graduation, I wanted to get into fitness training, figuring it would be a practical career choice. But deep down, I knew dance was my true calling, a flame that wouldn't fade with time. So, I made a decision.

Belly dance would be my formal training, keeping my spirit young for years to come. Fitness, however, could come later. Ahmedabad didn't have the proper belly dance classes, so I took a leap of faith and moved to Pune.

Living in a new city was exciting but challenging. Belly dance lessons opened my eyes to the importance of flexibility and fitness. This led me to gymnastics, and to pay the bills, I landed a part-time job as a receptionist at a dance studio. Between belly dancing, gymnastics, and work, there simply wasn't enough time to fit in the fitness and nutrition course.
As my skills grew, an audacious idea sprouted. I wanted to incorporate my love for belly dance with aerial arts – could I move my body in those mesmerising ways while suspended in the air?

To my surprise, it worked! This wasn't just belly dancing – it was something entirely new, something I christened 'AerialBelly.' It was practically unheard of!

Determined to hone this unique style, I discovered an aerial silks training centre in Mumbai. The train journey from Pune became a weekly ritual. The challenges were immense, but the joy of developing AerialBelly kept me going.

Soon, I realised I might be the only person in the world doing belly dancing in the air! I knew I had to protect this creation, so I went ahead and copyrighted it.
With my belly dance training complete, I shifted to Mumbai for advanced aerial training and further development of AerialBelly. The doors of opportunity started opening. I auditioned for dance reality shows, landing a spot on Main Hoon Michael alongside Tiger Shroff and Nawazuddin Siddique. Belly Dance performances on television shows became a regular thing.

Then came a defining moment - securing a bronze medal at the National Aerial Sports Championship 2018! Everything seemed to be falling into place.

However, fate had other plans. While auditioning for another show, practising an aerial routine, a fall at 15 feet led to a broken shoulder and collarbone. My entire right side was traumatised.

With a heavy heart, I returned to Ahmedabad for surgery. A rod with eight screws became my unwelcome companion. Recovery was a year-long struggle, but my spirit wasn't broken. Back in my hometown, I started belly dance classes at home, a small step towards my dream.

Soon, another television opportunity knocked – Dance with Me by Shakti Mohan and Mukti Mohan on Zee Café.

My career seemed to be back on track. I performed an opening aerial act at a huge national event, the Khel Mahakumbh, at an astounding 40 feet!
My home studio flourished, attracting students eager to learn this unique art form. A trip to Egypt for specialised training in belly dance followed, culminating in a performance there. This experience fuelled my ambition, leading to the opening of my institute in Ahmedabad – a well-equipped space with a 22-foot aerial setup.

Today, my journey has evolved into a global dance experience. My troupe and I perform AerialBelly shows across Europe, Egypt, Vietnam, and all over India. We train students from all corners of the world, both online and at the studio.
Throughout this incredible journey, the unwavering support of my family, especially my father, has been my rock. He even trained me in yoga, a practice that helped strengthen my shoulders to the point where I could do headstands and handstands – a testament to his belief in my independence and my desire to be unique.

This is just the beginning. As I watch my students take flight, both literally and figuratively, I know my journey has just begun. The world, after all, is a stage waiting to be dazzled with the magic of Aerial Belly Dance. The sky, quite literally, is the limit! 

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