My second freelance assignment for Les Danseuses academy of Ballet (LDAB).
Talking to parents and their wards, getting to know their incredible and sweet life stories is an experience I’m fortunate to have.
BALLERINA OF THE MONTH – APRIL 2018
As we prepare ourselves to bear the warmer temperatures this summer season, there’s some refreshing news for all our readers: Dia Anand has been crowned the Ballerina of the Month for April 2018.
Dia with her striking almond shaped and ebony coloured eyes is a young 9-year-old ballerina, training at LDAB since August 2017. As we talk to Dia and her parents, she comes across as an extrovert and someone’s who full of enthusiasm for ballet.
On being quizzed on how Dia took up ballet, her mother Aarti Pandey-Anand recalls, “Dia has always been artistically inclined. I noticed that it all began with her special interest in the arts and crafts class at school. I’m always encouraging my daughter to explore new hobbies. So she tried her hand at Classical dance and Contemporary Bollywood but unfortunately, they couldn’t hold her attention for long. Last year her friend Tamanna, who’s a fellow student at LDAB, introduced her to ballet and since then there’s been no looking back.”
Aarti is especially impressed by the dedication Dia’s displayed towards ballet. She proudly narrates, “As a parent, I don’t push Dia towards extra-curricular activities which are burdensome instead of being enjoyable. She did go for piano lessons earlier, but we gave up on them as she didn’t find them particularly interesting. However, she’s taken to ballet like fish to water. She’s always regular to her weekly sessions and even at home, she’ll diligently and tirelessly practice her set to master it to perfection. She’s self-motivated when it comes to all things ballet.”
Neha Sujhani, Founder and Artistic Director at LDAB, mirrors Aarti’s thoughts when she sings praises about Dia, “She’s one of my most hardworking students. She takes ballet very seriously. What began as just a “fun” time with friends has metamorphosized into a wholeheartedly pursued passion for her. ”
Dia is a creative overachiever of sorts. In addition to ballet, she is also a budding gymnast. She has represented Vibgyor at the Inter-School Gymnastics Competition this year. Aarti emphasizes that there is a synergy between Dia’s twin pursuits: Ballet and Gymnastics and she’s reaping dividends in both.
Aarti reserves special praise for Dia’s teacher, “Neha’s dedication and passion for ballet have rubbed off on my daughter too. A big part of why ballet has become so important for Dia is Neha and for that, I’m always grateful.”
The Once upon a time Concert in December organized by LDAB gave Dia a chance to perform ballet on stage for the first time. She was exhilarated to dress up for the night as Princess Fiona in her meticulously designed viridescent outfit. The specially done hair and makeup added charm to her whole look for that night. Watching Dia perform on stage is a memory that will always make her parents’ feel joy and pride.
Both of Dia’s parents: Aarti and Deepak are entrepreneurs in the fitness industry. They run Folk Fitness, amalgamating fitness with the indigenous dance forms from India. They gleam with happiness as their daughter is blossoming in this field too. Dia is vocal about her dreams as a ballerina, “I want to represent India in the field of ballet when I grow up.”
Dia has a younger brother Adeep. Aarti gushes as she tells us about how he’s always trying to emulate all the things that Dia’s good at. He’s already doing gymnastics and perhaps he’ll soon be a ballerino too following her pretty footsteps.
Deepak has a novel take on his daughter’s journey as a ballerina, “I’m so happy to be involved in all the micro-aspects of ballet like buying tutus, leotards and her special shoes. Her explorations of all the feminine aspects of ballet add tremendously to my experience of raising a daughter.”
As we wrap up, Dia has the sweetest compliment one can pay to one’s teacher when she chimes, “Neha Maam is my inspiration in ballet.”
Written by: Amarjeet Pawar.