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Meet Shailee and Simran Butalia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shailee and Simran Butalia.

Shailee and Simran have been individually dancing for professional dance teams throughout their 20s. Shailee has had the opportunity to dance in the A.R. Rahman show at the Hollywood Bowl as well as in performances featuring various Bollywood singers and actors. Simran has danced for multiple Bhangra teams including USC’s Punjabi Soormay and Khalsa Junction.

They met through the I Just Wanna Dance show which Shailee co-founded and went on to choreograph several performances together. One day, after getting married and starting a family, Simran met another dad in his basketball league that mentioned he was having a hard time finding good Bollywood classes for his daughter in the area. Simran and Shailee decided to explore that niche and see if there would be interest in Traditional Bhangra dance classes as well. They found a fantastic dance studio location and started marketing. Two years later, they have a great group of students and have taken their students to perform in various locations throughout the Valley.

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?
Initially, we had to find a way to grow our classes. We wanted to provide more of a professional environment but we weren’t linked to any local community groups so we had to figure out our marketing strategy. Over time, we have grown through referrals and have grown our community outreach as well. Now, we have a consistent set of families that show up every week. They tell us that the students finish their homework quickly so they can be on time to class.

Other than that, our biggest challenge is balance. We have two kids who we want to give the world to. Finding time to do everything we are passionate about takes effort and luckily, we have the support to do it. We want to be able to show our kids that we can to be there for them while finding a way to live our passion.

Please tell us more about your work. What do you guys do? What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from competition?
We teach Traditional Bhangra dance with some Bollywood on the side. Our goal is to share our passion and love for dance with the next generation of dancers. We want to help them build a solid foundation in these dance forms and, in the process, increase their self-confidence and boost their self-esteem.

We are really proud of the kids in our dance classes. Some of them have come in with no dance experience and have worked extremely hard to develop their abilities. Whatever we have thrown at them, they are willing to try. We have received fantastic responses to their energetic performances at the annual India Independence Day celebration in Van Nuys and the Swadeshi Cultural Show in Santa Clarita. In addition, the parents have told us that they have noticed an increase in confidence in their children.

What sets us apart from others is that we are doing this for the love of dance. We truly just want to share our passion and have some fun in our classes.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Shailee’s favorite childhood memories are of teaching and coordinating her family friends in all sorts of different performances. The practices were always such a great bonding experience, and they had a great time putting the dances together.

Simran’s favorite childhood memory is when Malkit Singh released “Tutak Tutak Tutiya.” He was one of the first to grab the cassette tape from the local store and dance with his cousins all weekend.

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