Bollywood beat that can’t be beaten

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Dancer Sasha Blom, left, and instructor Krisha Jilson, ”When you hear the music you can’t help but dance,” says Sasha. Photo by Andrew Finch

SMILES, laughter and the energy of her students are what keep Bollywood dance instructor Krisha Jilson going.

An IT manager by day and dance instructor by night, Krisha started the Canberra School of Bollywood Dancing in Tuggeranong with 30 students and now, 10 years on, offers classes to 150 students every week in all the major centres across town.

“Three thousand students have danced with us over the past 10 years. Eighty per cent of our students are non-Indians. People love the catchy songs and the costumes attract them, too,” she says.

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Bollywood dancer Sasha Blom. Photo by Andrew Finch

“Bollywood dancing is an integral part of Bollywood films. It’s all about storytelling and can be upbeat or slow.

“Modern Bollywood dancing is a mix of classical Indian, hip hop, jazz and Arabic dance and people are attracted to the mixture and the beat!”

Krisha and her family moved to Canberra from Darwin 10 years ago when her sons (now aged 16 and 10 years) were small. She had been teaching dancing for 10 years when she was persuaded to start her own dance school.

“The past 10 years have not always been a smooth road. It’s hard to run a passionate business with two school-aged children and working full time,” she says.

“But I’m so glad to be in Canberra and be part of spreading the joy of dance and music for people to keep fit and healthy. My motto is to always find time for your passions in life.

“Some of the ladies I met 10 years ago are still dancing with me. They have finished school, gotten married and are now bringing their kids to classes. We are one big Bollywood family!”

One of these dancers, Sasha Blom, says she tried a class for fun with friends 10 years ago, which started her passion for Bollywood dancing and, over time, became an instructor teaching Bollywood Zumba classes. Sasha says that Bollywood dancing is infectious.

“When you hear the music you can’t help but dance. I love the vibrant costumes and the opportunities to perform at charity events, Indian weddings and our annual concerts,” she says.

Now on maternity leave, Sasha says she can’t wait to introduce her five-month-old daughter to Bollywood dancing when she turns two.

“Krisha’s passion for the dance school is inspiring. She shares her passion with others and does it because she loves it,” says Sasha.

The school holds annual concerts to give students the opportunity to perform at a major event, with ticket proceeds going to support local charities.

Krisha says that she pioneered the first Bollywood “flash mob” performance at the Multicultural Festival in Garema Place seven years ago when unsuspecting passers-by were entertained by a surprise performance, which ended in many people joining in the fun. It’s now a popular annual fixture on the festival’s program.

Canberra School of Bollywood Dancing, visit canberrabollywood.com.au for more information.

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