We all don’t mind shaking a leg or two – recreationally, or after we’ve had one too many vodka martinis, but how many of us have the courage to take up dance as a career? Getting involuntarily and unknowingly sucked into the “9-5” job lifestyle makes us forget what our inner passions and talents really are and before we realize what we really want to pursue it’s already too late. This is exactly what professional dance artist Payal Gupta didn’t want happening to her.
The Dawn of Payal’s Dance Academy
Payal graduated as an electrical engineer in 2010 although she started dancing at the young age of 7. Today she has trained herself in as many different dance styles as possible from modern contemporary to Indian folk, hip-hop, salsa, jive and even the freestyle.
Payal specializes in performing and teaching the traditional classical oriental style of belly dance – the ancient Egyptian and Middle Eastern form of social dance. But one dance that has gained immense popularity is the Drum Solo style – a hot favorite amongst her dance students at her very own dance academy.
Dancing, according to me, is an art. Of course, there is the theory that ‘anyone can dance’ but it has to be studied seriously enough to do justice to the art.”
And to do justice to belly dancing is the toughest of them all as not only is it one of the oldest dance forms that has a lot of history and rich cultural tradition attached to it, but the dance itself empowers, celebrates and liberates women.
The Challenges Behind Pursuing Her Dance Dreams
Payal’s engineering background and lack of marketing knowledge were her first challenges. Starting a company of her own and spreading the word on social media wasn’t her forte. To add to that, she was the first in her family to pursue the fine arts for a career which lead to minimal guidance on decisions regarding her life choices as well as financial instabilities.
I was only always learning from my mistakes and experiences and through trial and error. But nonetheless, I hold no regrets; it’s this journey that’s made me what I am today.”
From A Caterpillar to A Butterfly – The Triggering Point That Made Payal the Artist That She Is Today
For Payal, it’s been a series of events that have led to her becoming an artist. However, her turning point was when she won a place in the worldwide belly dance competition – “Belly Dancer of the Universe” in 2014 and 2015. She also organizes India’s biggest belly dance festival every other year.
Payal has also been invited to several cities in India to teach belly dance which has led to her dance academy branching out into Mumbai and Hyderabad too. She even holds a record in the “Indian Book of Records” in the field of Belly dancing.
The Future of Dance
Payal plans to open branches of her dance academy in other major cities in India besides Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. Alongside this, she also sells her own line of merchandise that includes belly dance wear and props.
Payal’s words of boldness to those who plan on dawning some dancing shoes of their own…
Strive towards being unique and creating your own style. Stay true to yourselves and the art!”
To accord to that…Shall we dance?