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Meet Aakansha Maheshwari of BollyPop in Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aakansha Maheshwari.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started my training in Indian classical dance in New Delhi under the tutelage of National Award Winner and Dancer Geeta Chandran. After finishing my Bachelors in Sociology from Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi, I started my first job at Vasant Valley School as a dance teacher, working with over 500 students from elementary to high school. In 2012, I worked in a feature film shot in Sri Lanka, called Vara- A Blessing and then moved to America. I started my dance company in Los Angeles called BollyPop and this name was suggested by my mentor Wil-son Williams. BollyPop is a dance fitness program which includes Bollywood, Arabic, Korean Pop, Hip Hop, Pop and Latin music. There is great emphasis on storytelling and expression. I have introduced this program to various studios in Los Angeles and currently I teach 6 fitness classes a week. I also offer ‘Kids BollyPop’ which is an Indian choreography class and we have 4 locations. I have been blessed with some devoted teachers and I work with their dance companies in Los Angeles. Viji Prakash’s Shakti Dance Company is one of them and my last performance with them was at the Ford Theater in Hollywood. With the Festival of Colors USA Tour, I get a chance to travel outside of California and share my love for Indian classical and folk styles with different crowds.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been an incredible journey so far. There have been more blessings than struggles for me. As I mentioned earlier, I am lucky to have great masters like Geeta Chandran, Viji Prakash and Wilson-Williams who have guided me and supported me in many ways. There have been other friends and my parents who have encouraged me to take the difficult decisions to move forward. There are innumerable things that one has to do in order to run a dance company and you can call them the everyday struggles- Researching music, creating new choreography, staying up to date with technology, sound editing, staying connected with the students on social media, designing and printing marketing materials, updating the website, collaborating with musicians for live performances, applying to dance festivals, hiring people- to work at the front desk, to make videos, to make merchandise, driving all around town to 10+ locations, and more. But if you have true passion and the drive with a strong purpose, nothing seems like a struggle, right?

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about BollyPop – what should we know?
BollyPop was started with the sole purpose to spread joy. Hence the tagline- Where Happiness Is. We specialize in providing Indian dance performances for events and festivals and our group is known for the Gypsy folk style that originated in the Indian deserts of Rajasthan and it is called Kalbelia. This is a dying art form and by performing and conducting workshops, we are trying to preserve it. Our dancers are trained in Indian classical, Bhangra, Bollywood and Hip Hop styles as well. We choreograph for weddings, corporate and school events. BollyPop Dance Fitness classes are offered in Santa Monica at TriFit Gym, Ismaili Religious Worship Place and Community Corporation Center and in Torrance at the West End Club. Kids BollyPop classes are offered at Hermosa Beach, Playa Del Rey, Westchester and Santa Monica. The schools in America do not have the infrastructure to provide programs on Indian performing arts, yoga and meditation and with the huge South Asian population in Southern California, we are proud that we can give our students an authentic Indian cultural experience. Academic qualification is enshrined as a goal in schools whereas movement and expression is highly neglected. What sets up apart from others is that we always begin the dance class with meditation and yoga. There is a great emphasis laid on mindfulness and kindness. Our goal is not to expand and make BollyPop the biggest dance company in America but to use dance as a tool to make our people happier and fit.

Contact Info:

HIMALAYAN FESTIVAL


Image Credit:
Tom Lamb, Shri Vrinda, Nimesh Nimo Patel, Nicole Fernandes, Bhavisha Patel, Tony Montesione, Kishore Mathrani, Anurag Bhargav

3 Comments

  1. Tripti Srivastava

    April 11, 2017 at 11:42

    Just wonderful to read abt ur co in LA . Great going Aakansha ! Keep it up ! So proud of you ! All the very best . Luv Tripti Srivastava

  2. Rosh

    April 12, 2017 at 05:19

    Wishing you more and more success with BollyPop. Such a fun loving person who is so passionate about teaching and dancing. Love your energy and positivity you bring to people around you. Hope we get to do more dance classes with her in future. Enjoyed reading your interview.

  3. Stu

    April 13, 2017 at 07:13

    So proud to know you in person, and to see you grow every day.

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