[Photo Courtesy: Bollywood Funk NYC| Photo Credit: Abigail H. Davis]
New York’s premier dance institution, Bollywood Funk NYC, took on a new challenge with legendary choreographer Saroj Khan. The dance institute specializing in urban, contemporary and Bollywood dance styles, held master classes and workshops with Khan.
The class was led by Saroj ji with help from Bollywood Funk’s artistic director, Ayesha Khanna, and marketing head, Zenobia D.
“She does not create dance steps, she creates pure magic!” Khanna said about the award-winning choreographer. “To have witnessed her teach us with so much passion left me mesmerized and in awe. Just being in her presence and watching her dance has been so inspirational. Dedication, discipline and attention to detail—she demands this from every dancer. Hosting her workshop at our school has been an absolute privilege and I feel that my journey as a dancer and choreographer has just taken a new turn. With her blessings, we hope to do more and we would love to invite all the dancers in NYC to participate in the future workshops.”
Khanna and Zenobia were instrumental in organizing the event that brought together dance lovers of all backgrounds and all dancing skills. Both of these talented dancers cite Khan as an inspiration and role model in their lives.
“My experience of this event has left me a very fulfilled person,” Zenobia said. “To be around her is a privilege in itself but to be organizing her workshops has been nerve wracking yet the most rewarding experience ever. I am amazed and in awe of Saroj Ji. I will always remember what she casually mentioned in one of my conversations with her—’I have enjoyed dancing every day of my life.’ I wish I have her spirit when I am her age. She is a force of a human being. I am fortunate to be part of organizing this for BFunk.”
Bollywood Funk NYC invited India.com to take a master class taught Khan as well. Now, I’ve taken tap dance in elementary school, a few dance classes in middle school, a Shiamak Davar course in my later years and of course the rest of my dance experience is from emulating my favorite Bollywood diva’s—needless to say I’m not a professional. Walking into this class I wasn’t sure what to expect but it unique, unlike any other class I’ve taken.
Talented choreographer that she is, Khan choreographed a performance on the spot to the classic Bollywood song, “Dola Re” from “Devdas.” Khan separated the class into groups of 6—starting with the boys. She individually taught each group a different step, making sure to give each student enough attention to help them all with their positioning. She then taught all of us the iconic dance steps she created for Madhuri Dixit Nene and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for the chorus of the song.
Both Bollywood Funk teachers worked tirelessly to teach the students along with Khan and it was easy to see how hard they were working. Khan is a very tough teacher, serious about her class, and she is not afraid to let you know how she feels.
You’ll hear her shouting everything from “next time wear a salwar kameez, I don’t teach that type of dancing,” to “do these arms and legs belong to you or me? How come you can’t move them at the same time?”
[Photo Courtesy: Bollywood Funk NYC | Photo Credit: Vijay Nyack]
The legendary choreographer is a true perfectionist and she demands the best from her students. As tough as she is, Khan is also pretty hilarious as well. She is kind when needed and will make you do the same step over and over when she knows you can do it better. She pushes you and encourages you to do your best but she also understands the limitations of your capabilities.
She was able to turn a class of professionals and never-danced-in-their-life students into a beautiful Filmfare-worthy stage performance. When the class joined together at the end to perform all that was taught, it was a beautiful vision. We all surprised ourselves with how well it turned out.
This was the first time I had taken a class with Khan but for dancers— and friends—Khushbu Patel, 24, and Bansari Shah, 25, this was their second time taking classes with the legend.
“We took the class in New Jersey over the weekend” Patel added. “This is something that we will definitely cherish forever.”
They assured me that it is just as awe-inspiring every time. “Learning from the legendary Saroj Khan is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Shah said. “We are truly blessed to be learning and dancing next to the evergreen master.”
The class ran longer than expected but almost all of the students were so enthralled by Khan that they remained until the end. Khan even gave out a small reward with her blessings for a few exceptional students.
Not too surprisingly, many of those earning rewards were Bollywood Funk NYC team members. Bollywood Funk NYC has trained skilled dancers who have performed at the esteemed Fred Astaire Dance Awards, Madison Square Garden, Diwali at Times Square, Governor’s Ball NYC, appeared alongside celebrities in world-famous Bollywood movies and were the first dance group of its kind to be invited to audition for MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew.
Want to be a dancer? Then check out this prestigious dance institute for classes. They offer both beginners and advanced classes in New York and New Jersey. They also offer a special class, “Nach Xpress,” which you can drop in for at any time.