It’s kind of ironic, this month of October; we celebrated Dussehra, the festival that epitomises the defeat of the gods over demons and then as a recent contemporary import from the West, there are parties in the urban centres across the country inviting youngsters to revel in the jollification that is Halloween, a festival where we dress up as ghosts, demons, witches and what not! Natalie Portman’s ebony feathered costume from the ballerina movie, Black Swan, will make one amazing Halloween costume for sure! A few thousand miles away in Germany, there’s the merrymaking in the spirit of the October Beer Fest!
We, here at LDAB, have our own reasons to celebrate in October. We’re celebrating the crowning of young ballerina Mira Vogelaar as “Ballerina of the Month: October 2018.”
Mira, 10, is the daughter of Joel and Elishiba Vogelaar. She’s a 5th Grader at Vibgyor High School. Mira is fairly new to ballet, having been a student for about 4 months with LDAB now. Her relative newness to ballet hasn’t held her back in anyway though. Our Creative Director, Neha Sujhani’s assessment of Mira’s progress stands testament to this,
“She’s full of enthusiasm when it comes to ballet. Her intelligent questions during class highlight her razor-sharp focus on all that I teach.”
Mira is the older sibling to 6-years-old Lovisa and 5-years old Asher. Lovisa is a fellow ballerina at LDAB too. Joel happily admits, “Mira and Lovisa love jumping and dancing around the house all day long. And I guess that transcends to the ballet class as well.”
Neha also adds her observations on their sisterly love, “Mira helps her little sister tie her perfect ballerina bun and makes sure that her shoes are properly worn at all times. She’s subconsciously cultivating the discipline that this dance form demands effortlessly.”
Joel is a Dutch citizen, who has now happily settled in India for the past few years with his Indian wife and kids. He ran a graphic design, multimedia and event management firm in Holland. Since 2014, he’s been a teacher of Culinary Arts at the Maharashtra Fellowship for The Deaf. He also manages his own bakery “Dutchies” in the campus.
They say the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree. Mira has inherited many of her parents’ interests. She loves to paint. She plays the piano beautifully. She sings and has performed live in her church multiple times for crowds of over 400. Her dad’s there to accompany her with his guitar and the rest of his bandmates. She even bakes when she spends time at Dutchies.
But there’s something zen about Mira. Her father shares, “Her teachers at school go gaga over her work in the Arts and Music subjects. But Mira never bothers to competitively pursue them and win medals or prizes. She has no interest in vain things like recognition, self-promotion, awards and accolades. She pursues these hobbies simply because she enjoys them.” That’s a lot of wisdom for a 10-year old, I must admit.
I ask Mira what she’d like to be when she grows up. She’s non-committal, to say the least, “My mom wants me to be a doctor maybe. But my dad wants me to do whatever I want to do.”
Joel’s got some sound parenting advice for everyone here, “Childhood and the teenage years are honestly the best time to let children discover their talents and gifts. That allows them enough time to hone their craft and eventually make a substantial career out of them. “
For now, Mira is thoroughly enjoying her time at LDAB. She’s made amazing friends in her Grade 1 batch here. Most importantly, she’s looking forward to performing in the Nutcracker Ballet Concert that’s planned for December this year. It’ll be her first real live stage performance as a ballerina and we’re sure she’s going to amazing in it.