Dance for life 💃🏿🤸🏾♀️ 💃🏼
What is it about dance that made you pursue it as a career? Dance has always been a part of me since I’m young. It is a way to express yourself and it’s an art that makes music moves you. Then we bring this concept on a stage in front of people in exchange of the greatest feeling. Waking up and doing what you love is what everyone should focus on.
You have worked in different areas. Along with all the dancing, the reality show, and your growing fanbase on social media... Who is Shanie Blais and what is her goal? Shanie is a little girl (5ft) that lives her life to 100%. I always take risk even if I’m scared, I always follow what my heart says and I trust the universe that everything will be ok. My first goal has always been to move to LA and tour with artists. I also hope one day I’ll be able to share all my experiences with the new generation of dancers.
When you are dancing either on a stage or in front of the cameras, to whom are you doing it for? I always dance for myself first and then for all the people that came to watch me or the artist. I also have a thought for my parents that are so proud of their little girl.
What advice would you give someone who wants to become a dancer? Work hard, be confident about yourself and your dancing, never ever compare yourself to others because we all have a different path and most important YES you are going to FAIL MILLION times get TONES of NO from auditions but keep believe in yourself and keep going and growing.
In the mood of celebrating the International day of Dance, what is the role of dance in the world today? And what do you hope for its future? I think dance is part of every single person in this world. Dance can bring a community together either for rituals, fun, traditional dances, etc. I hope it’s going to continue to grow because dance is a peaceful way to express ourselves and share with everyone.
You describe yourself as a communicator, what do you believe to be your message through dance? I believe in the possibility of change or a better life. I believe if people see away forward, they will try and follow it. If we can open windows in people’s lives, by offering alternate ways or views, that are positive and humane, they will take those with enough persuasion and convincing. It is those alternate, humane ways, thoughts and attitudes that communicates through my work.
Throughout your career, you have received multiple awards, what these awards mean to you? Awards are a lovely pat on the back. It is always nice to have one’s work appreciated. But they are just that, a transient smile on the face. It is the rewards of the work itself, the daily smiles, that really allows one to go on. Seeing someone take a different path than the known one, seeing someone make an alternate decision because of work we have done - that is what gives the strength to go on a midst world filled with such hatred, pity mindedness, violence, fear.
You are known to have developed a characteristic vocabulary when it comes to dancing. How would you describe it? I am deeply rooted in classicism, especially the amazing, liberating vocabulary Bharatanatyam. It is a very strong and powerful body language. My newer vocabulary takes from this and stretches it, takes it out of context, brings inner contexts but is definitely a daughter or grand daughter of the style. I also add voice and theatre to it.
How did dance change your life? I was 23 and in a deep depression over a relationship, I had broken up because I found that the man I was in love with was a chauvinist. I didn’t know what to do, who I was and so on. And one morning I woke up with the feeling, “All I want to do is dance”. It tried my life around. And ever since, it is the most liberating and exhilarating thing every day. The sheer abandon of every rehearsal, every session.
When did you had your first contact with dance? My first time dancing was when I was 8. I took my first hip-hop class and loved it! The following year I took ballet, jazz, hip-hop and tap!
You recently hosted your first public master class in Orlando, is becoming a choreographer an ambition of yours? I love to choreograph. My goal is to teach and choreograph more in the future!
Where do you see yourself in the future? I see myself in L.A. dancing as much as possible and learning from the best teachers around the world! I would also love an opportunity to dance on tv one day. Besides those things I see myself teaching in master classes and eventually running my own dance studio.
You are known as Dubai’s biggest Bollywood dance Youtuber. How did you get to where you are in your career? It started with luck. I posted only 2 videos for 2 years on YouTube. A remake released of this very famous old Bollywood song & I made a dance video and a tutorial on it of the steps in the movie and my video went viral! That was my first official video & it hit 2.9 Million Views & that's where it all began. I started putting regular content on the top songs and used social media to further what I uploaded on YouTube.
What was the biggest challenge you've faced professionally? I think an ongoing challenge that I'm dealing with has to be, Time Management. Since I work in different fields in Performing Arts itself (dancing, acting, modelling, presenter) it gets difficult sometimes for me to single-handedly manage everything, go to work, scheduling plus update my social media content on a daily basis. I put content on 6 platforms daily plus thrice to four times a month on YouTube. Sometimes, due to the lack of time I have to give up on some good projects which is always a disappointment. However, this struggle allows me to become better at what I do every day.
In which ways have your Youtube channel and social media helped you? These mediums have really placed me as a popular Dancer/Choreographer professionally. And not just dancing but since I work in other fields too, it has given me platforms to express myself better and to a new & bigger audience every day. But most importantly, I get to interact & connect with people with similar interests from all parts of the world.
What’s next for you? I'm working on many big projects simultaneously but my biggest focus is on my Professional Dance Crew which I recently launched called NK CREW & I'm working towards making it internationally known. Collaborations with big music labels are under the pipeline now, very excited to see their results. Also, aiming to do international workshops in the upcoming years. But of course, all this is the path towards the big dream, Launching my own dance academy!
How old were you when you knew dancing would be your career of choice? I’m 16. I started dancing when I was 12 and it took me a few months to realised that dancing would be my job.
What is the role of dance in your life? I dance everyday. It helps me to forget my problems. I know that if I wasn’t dancing, I would have been a different person. When I am performing, I feel free and it helps my confidence. It’s more than a passion, it’s a way of expressing myself.
What are some everyday challenges you face in the dance industry? Dancing is a challenging skill because the critics can be very negative and even unkind. My goal is to make the planet less nasty and more open minded.
🎙Interview by Catarina Botelho