New York – Indian dancer Shakti Mohan recently traveled from her home in Mumbai to New York to collaborate with Arab-American classical composer Mohammed Fairouz as part of the Collaboration Culture series being broadcast on the BBC’s international 24 hour news channel BBC World News.
Trained in both traditional and contemporary Indian dance, Shakti is also influenced by Western culture and performance techniques. Recently she appeared in an Indian soap opera, but is now focusing solely on her dance studies and Bollywood dancing after winning a scholarship.
In a candid interview, Shakti, a star in India and winner of a nationwide TV talent show “Dance India Dance” in 2010, shared her experiences, challenges and vision with India America Today.
What was the first feeling that came to you when you found out about this opportunity to appear in front of an international audience (through BBC)?
I consider myself very lucky that I had an opportunity to work with artists and technicians from different parts of the world. I was very excited when Luke (the director of the series) called me and explained the concept. I was thrilled to know I would be performing to live music in New York.
How has your journey been since that euphoric moment when you were crowned with the prestigious “Taqdeer Ki Topi”?
My journey has been beautiful after I won the Dance India Dance. It is an amazing feeling when you see people recognize you on the streets and anywhere you go. After winning, I have performed for award nights, events, shoots for commercials, and traveled to the most exotic places in the world to perform. I’ve also had an opportunity to act for a fiction show and perform for Bollywood films. Having said all that, performing for BBCWorld News was momentous. The journey is still going on and it is very exciting when you don’t know what is coming next for you.
Was it always dance that you wanted to pursue, or did anything else catch your attention along the way?
I was good at studies, so there was a point in my life when I wanted to become a civil servant. I am glad today that I chose dance. I love it.
Who have been your inspiration and guru?
My elder sister Neeti Mohan has been my mentor all my life. She is a successful singer in India and she has been a constant source of inspiration.
Secondly, Terence Sir was my guru for 3 years and motivated me to take up dance as a career and made me a better person.
Which and when was your most favorite performance on stage and why?
There are many performances that I’ve enjoyed. My favorite would be the one I performed for BBC World News with the live musicians and Mohammed Fairouz’s music. I’ll never forget the feeling when I heard the piece for the very first time. It gave me goosebumps.
Do you have a dream to shine on the Bollywood/Hollywood screen? Are you working towards it?
Yes, I do want to shine everywhere I can. I am working towards getting better as a dancer/ choreographer and I hope the right people in the world find me.
What is the message you would like the global audience to get through your dance performance on the BBC program?
I believe in believing in myself. My dance performance on BBC had a motif which meant you nurture and protect your hope and ambitions from everything that can pose harm to it. It is a world full of opportunities, fill your life with positivity and explore it.
Collaboration Culture series broadcasts in the US and globally on BBCWorld News.
Collaboration Culture on BBC World News:www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18730793