Shreya comes from a middle-class family background but she has a dream of reaching the sky, and according to her “always trust in your own abilities and strengths. Believe you can and you’re halfway there”. There is no doubt that with the right direction and effort, she will achieve her desires one day. Shreya has always had a propensity towards the Bollywood dancing and right from her childhood she wanted to become a professional dancer so today, at the age of 19, she has achieved that and now performs at various events and programmes.
“Bollywood dancing had left a huge impact on my memories right from my childhood,” Shreya said, adding that she would wrap a dupatta around herself and make moves to the tunes of Bollywood numbers. Shreya’s mother noticed her enthusiasm and decided to direct the talent of her daughter. “The first opportunity struck me when I was eight years old. We were at Sarvajanik Ganesh Programme and I saw the girls dancing on the stage. It was an All Goa Dance competition and I told my mom that I want to participate… and the rest is history,” said Shreya, adding that it was her first dance competition for which she received a cash prize. She won first place in the taluka level in Art & Culture talent hunt.
Her first endeavour gave her a boost of confidence to go ahead in the field of dancing. “It made me realise that people like what I am doing, so that means I am doing something very important and the journey that started at the dance competition is continuing till date,” she said. Shreya appeared in her next competition when she was nine and won second place in the Junior category. “The dancers came from all over the state for that competition and it made me realise that if I can do so well without being professionally trained, imagine what will happen if I got professional training in this field.”
The next day Shreya told her mother that she wanted to join dance classes to learn western as well as Indian dance form. “Although I said that I wanted to learn western dance form, I was still always more inclined towards traditional Indian dance such as Bharat-Natyam and Kathak,” she averred. “Bharat Natyam is not just dance: in this dance form, you tell a story and most important thing is, it is a form of exercise which keeps us fit,” said Shreya, adding that when she does Bharat Natyam she gets a full body workout. “With Bharat Natyam I feel that I can handle my body with grace.”
Besides classical dance forms, Shreya had also learnt western dance forms like Jazz, “I joined Jazz dance classes in Don Bosco and after doing 2 years of training in Jazz I decided to switch back to my classical dance classes,” she said. Soon Shreya met her first Guru, Nidhi Sanke, under whom she is training till date. “Under her guidance I did a performance on Sudha Chandran’s Nache Mayuri song,” said Shreya adding that she and her mother had often travelled all the way to Canacona by bus, having to stay there since it was difficult to travel back.
Shreya and her mother have encountered many hardships on this journey. “It used to be very tiring sometimes, but I never gave up or compromised on my dreams. When Nidhi Mam had to take a break from her classes due to her pregnancy, I went to join Kala Academy since I could not take a break of a couple of years till she resumed her classes.”
Shreya attended many events with Nidhi Sanke and with each event her experience and confidence kept growing. “Nidhi Mam gave me a very good platform and I am very grateful to her for that.”
Presently Shreya is doing her graduation in Psychology but she did not give up on her dreams. “May be now that my preferences are changing and I need to put more effort in to my studies, but I did not give up on dancing, In fact I have a dream of having my own dance academy and one day I am going to do that.”
Shreya’s mother is a housewife and father works for a government department, “My parents have struggled throughout their lives and that made me become independent right from a young age. Even in my studies I was always working on my own and never troubled my mom for my studies,” she said.
According to Shreya, after finishing her graduation in Psychology she wants to do a post-graduation in Clinical Psychology. “After finishing my post-graduation in clinical psychology, I would look for a job since I do not want to go ahead with setting up of my own clinic immediately as it will require a lot of experience and investments too. So instead, I want to gain some experience and would continue to finish my dance training before I set up my own academy with the support of my Guru, Nidhi Mam,” she said.
Shreya is very young and just like many youngsters she also has a good bucket list which she intends to fulfil one by one. When I asked Shreya who her inspiration is, she said that she does stick to one and tries to learn from everything that comes her way. “Goodness is an investment that never fails and you have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life. Don’t give up and one more thing I want to mention here, don’t seek revenge. Rather, seek the strength to forgive. Be patient, be strong and have courage,” and finally she quotes the message from Gandhi, “your life is your message.”