Today’s guest of honor is a lady who has earned herself a place in the hearts of many fellow Indians and has made waves internationally too! She is an inspiration for the people who see this world through their narrow lens. She is also an appropriate answer to one of the most generic questions-“Can we make our passion our career?” Her body defines flexibility, elasticity,
springiness. Puzzled? You will understand what exactly we mean once you see her groove. This powerhouse of talent has mastered several dance forms and performs effortlessly. Her feet become restless and she starts tapping them according to the pace of the beats. Being dance her first love, her heart is specially connected with any kind of body movements-yoga or martial arts. A lady with a beautiful heart and a charming face, she is one of the reality show Dance India Dance’s finalists, PriyaVarunesh Kumar.
“If you move, you feel alive”: Priya found her true calling in dance during childhood. The illustrations in a famous yoga book made her fall in love with yoga. Priya’s mom encouraged her daughter to take up Bharatanatyam. Subsequently, Priya happened to learn Indian classical dances such as Bharatnatyam and Kathak, along with Kalaripayattu. Above all, she has also excelled her skills on be-boeying and ballet.
“I love maths and physics”: Priya loved mathematics and physics and like many in the family, she ended up joining a reputed engineering college, NIT Bhopal to be precise. However, all she did during her campus days was dancing and organizing events. Her heart preferred dance more than sticking to a techie’s job that did justice to her degree. She managed to bag a job through the campus placement drive and survived in the corporate world for almost 8 months. She chose to work in Bangalore since she had a motive of joining dance schools. That was the end of her corporate career and Priya embarked on a whole new journey altogether, in 2010.
“I didn’t have a plan”: Ever since she quit her technical career, she was happy. She didn’t have any definite plan though but decided to follow her heart. Priya took up dance classes and enjoyed attending actively without fail. As time passed, things started falling in place for Priya. It was in the year 2011-2012, she thought of acquiring new skills and honing her talent. She founded ‘Piah Dance Company’ in 2012. One year later, she started imparting dance lessons to several aspirants.
“Talking about the productions”: Priya has done two productions namely “Bandhni” and “Bhoomi”. The two productions have a lot of cultural significance. While one of them is based on different regions of Gujarat, the other is a story of a brave woman. “Bhoomi” was presented as a dance drama in the year 2015. Both the productions received overwhelming response from the viewers.
“Dance India Dance (DID) talk”: ‘DID’ is a famous show which has been a great platform for several talented individuals and has urged them to push their limits. “We would rehearse and practice almost 18 hours”, Priya informed. The participants were trained under various international ballet and hip-hop dancers. ‘DID’ was a result of her power of thought. Once she was done with her productions, she took a break. During this rejuvenating period of hers, Priya received a call from ‘DID’, which reminded of her scripting “Go and win a reality show” on her personal diary.
“Activities involved”: Priya chooses her dancers on the basis of their availability. The group comprises of freelancers, as well as both part-time and full-time members. They do corporate shows, choreograph dances for weddings, participate in folk dances during festivals and also flash mobs. Her styles involve Folk, Indian Contemporary, Hip Hop as well as Bollywood, among others. Priya has a YouTube channel and subcribers, especially those who are passionate about dancing, can hugely benefit from this channel, which gives an insight about various dance forms.
“Facing challenges”: The decision to follow her passion was not an easy one. The transition from a technical career to becoming one’s own boss was not as smooth as it sounds, indeed. Even though money was one of the biggest challenges, her parents’ support became the solution. She faced most of the difficulties in making people the importance of following one’s passion and the viability of dance as a career.
“Starting up a production”: Priya advises to have a concrete idea before starting up a production. Having an idea followed by number of people required, networking with the dancers, time needs to be devoted (10 hours a week approx.) are criteria needs to be followed. One should pay attention to the logistics- costumes, props, venue and tickets as well. The Press and radio partners should also be taken into consideration.
“Future plans”: Numerous ideas excite Priya, which basically is a driving force to keep her moving. She would like to spread her tentacles in Bollywood and make waves globally as well.
“To follow a dream giving up a safe and secure life that you have been brought up to live is not an easy task. The road is lonely and most people scared to take up the risk. However, once you reach your destination, the happiness and satisfaction one receives is incomparable”, Priya signs off.