Bom­bay Bal­le­rina

India Today - - LEISURE -

En pointe for two years, 13-year-old Mum­bai-based bal­le­rina Priyan­shi Parikh is all set to per­form a solo from Swan Lake on the in­ter­na­tional stage. In Au­gust, she will be­come the first bal­let dancer trained in In­dia to par­tic­i­pate in the Hong Kong-based Asian Grand Prix—com­pet­ing against 300 dancers from 15 coun­tries for schol­ar­ships to renowned bal­let schools and other awards.

Parikh put on her first set of bal­let shoes four years ago when she was liv­ing in Bangkok. “My gym­nas­tics teacher was a bal­let dancer—that’s how I was in­tro­duced to bal­let,” she says. Al­though gym­nas­tics helped her flex­i­bil­ity, it was bal­let that helped her self-con­fi­dence, es­pe­cially when she tran­si­tioned from soft bal­let shoes to danc­ing en pointe, Parikh says. Hav­ing moved to Mum­bai about three years ago, Parikh is now a stu­dent at Ut­pal Sanghvi Global School and trains with Apeksha Bhat­tacharyya at the In­dian Acad­emy of Rus­sian Bal­let (IARB).

While In­dia’s ex­po­sure to bal­let has im­proved over the years, it is still a chal­lenge to find good teach­ers and stu­dio spa­ces. In the Vile Parle stu­dio where Parikh prac­tises her plies and chaines to Tchaikovsky’s com­po­si­tion for Swan Lake, she is wear­ing a pair of pink Gr­ishka shoes es­pe­cially pro­cured from Rus­sia—and ig­nor­ing the thump­ing Bol­ly­wood mu­sic stream­ing in from the dance stu­dio next door.

Parikh knows a ca­reer as a bal­le­rina would be a tough road to walk, but hopes it re­mains a pas­sion she can con­tinue to pur­sue. On her re­turn from the Grand Prix, where she will have a chance to at­tend sem­i­nars and classes on tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary bal­let, Parikh will per­form on the In­dian stage too—with the Acad­emy’s ren­di­tion of Goldilocks and the Three Bears on Au­gust 19 at St An­drew’s Au­di­to­rium in Mum­bai. Bhat­tacharya aims for the IARB, which cur­rently teaches over 150 stu­dents across 10 cen­tres in Mum­bai, to soon have franchises across other cities in In­dia too.

—Moeena Halim

While ex­po­sure to the dance style has im­proved over the years, it is still a chal­lenge to learn bal­let in In­dia

PRIYAN­SHI PARIKH be­gan­learn­ing bal­letattheage of9,in­Bangkok

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