Dance is an expression of art in motion.
Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Folk and Bollywood
Growing up in Kenya’s coastal city Mombasa, Parita Bose spent her younger days watching her mother grace the studio floor in front of dozens of eager young dancers, the sounds of Bollywood and Indian Classical music filling her ears.
Sitting in the lounge-turned-studio of a rented property, five minutes away from her family’s city centre apartment, Parita watched on from afar, uninterested in the glitz of the dance scene.
Years later though, after shifting from East Africa to her native home town India, and finally to New Zealand, the Wellington local followed the pull of her genes and fell into her mother’s footsteps as a Bollywood dance choreographer.
“As a child, I never took it seriously and was reluctant to be taught by my mother,” said Parita, who recently launched the Shivam Dance Academy NZ, after her mother’s Kenya-based dance school of the same name.
“As it turns out, it was in my blood and when I was ready, I picked everything up and realised I was more like my mother than I realised."
“Now, I’m a professional dance instructor specialising in Indian Classical-Kathak, Bollywood, folk, Contemporary Bollywood, personalised dance choreography and event productions.”
Her dive into professional teaching and production stemmed from a move to New Zealand nine years ago.
“I landed in New Zealand on a cold winter night in 2008".
Six months later and longing for her family back home, and with a desire to connect with people in the community, Parita started her first dance class.
“I found that Bollywood dancing was something NZ, wanted to experience and the classes took off.
“Dancing to Bollywood music is an open canvas."
“I create my own choreographies and my inspiration lies in the music, and the energy I get from my students.
“It involves using various dance forms like Indian folk, Indian Classical and all other modern styles.”
Currently settled in Wellington, Parita has taught over a hundred students throughout the lower north island.
“My students experience modern Indian dance with a combination of folk (bhangra, garba), semi-classical, Indian, jazz, Latin and hip hop; performed to the latest, old and popular Bollywood tracks."
“I like to work with a person’s strength and in the process, help them to overcome their weaknesses.”
As well as having worked alongside renowned Bollywood dancers and celebrities and providing production for a variety of events, Parita is recognized for her skills in the Indian classical style of dance, Kathak.
“The origin of Kathak is traditionally attributed to the traveling bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathakars or storytellers,” Parita said.
“Starting from a basic level, Kathak classes are divided into various levels as the year progresses and students develop their awareness of space, body, and rhythm.”
Her students, she said, range in age, background, ethnicity and skill level.
“To me, choreography is about encouraging people to dance to their own personal ability and enhancing that."
“I love receiving feedback from students or their parents who say the classes made them overcome confidence issues, stress and depression.”
With various external tutors visiting the classes and conducting workshops, Shivam Dance Academy NZ aims to prepare students for optional performances including the Academy’s Dance Production.
“I love my job and don’t mind spending all my spare time running the school, organizing shows and costumes, preparing music and coming up with new flavors,” Parita said.
“Something beautiful happens when one dances; the release of good hormones and it can be very spiritual.”
By Cloe Willetts