Dancing never got as fun as when Chitra Jidesh introduced India to its first online workout buddy system, TwitterGetsFitter. It all began one fine November day when she reached out to her friends & followers on Twitter, hoping to find a buddy to keep herself motivated and accountable on her fitness journey. Her search for one turned into her finding 15, and since then the movement has grown to over 250 participants. These online buddies share workouts, nutrition tips, and most importantly, support. From tips on how to ease aches, to listening when one of them has had a bad day, they’ve turned into a real tribe that motivates and challenges one another. The #TwitterGetsFitter movement has also been supported by brands like Fitbit, RAW Pressery and Milind Soman’s active wear brand, Deivee. The movement is growing every day, and continues to get even more exciting as it continues!
Growing up in Bombay, Chitra, was a shy kid, courtesy to the fact that she was overweight and awkward growing up. Before, belly dancing, she was a fashion designer by profession and worked with various major brands. She was also a brand manager for the Miss India Pageants. Post that, in Chitra’s words, “Belly dance happened and changed my life!”
The big change happened when she lost her job to the recession and her roommate suggested taking belly dance classes temporarily since she had trained in the dance form previously. She enjoyed taking the classes so much that she put her corporate like behind her and began the Bombay Bellyrina Academy!
Belly dance happened and changed my life!”
Considering a dance academy is a huge investment of time, effort and money, it’s no surprise that Chitra faced massive financial struggles especially when the revenue took its own sweet time to really flow. She also shares with us how she had to constantly survive on lots of good ol’ Tibb’s Frankies and Churchgate station coffee. To make things more difficult, society hadn’t quite opened up to the idea of belly dance being mainstream. Hence, resulting in her receiving a lot of judgment and brickbats from family and strangers alike, after all, “no self-respecting girl would be a belly dancer”, right?” Thankfully for our bellyrina, that opinion is changing.
Prepare to struggle. Unless you’re very lucky, starting out is not going to be easy. There will be days you question why you’re doing this, and you need to be certain that you really want to. Most importantly, find the joy in your art. On days you’re feeling low; it’s what will keep you going.”
Advice to the aspiring
To Chitra, dance requires a special understanding between your body and the music. She believes that dance is a form of art that is constantly evolving and there is always going to be something more to learn. Advising the aspiring, she says, “Prepare to struggle. Unless you’re very lucky, starting out is not going to be easy. There will be days you question why you’re doing this, and you need to be certain that you really want to. Most importantly, find the joy in your art. On days you’re feeling low; it’s what will keep you going.”