30 May 2020

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Danseuse with a Heart

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Coming from a family of doctors and architects and being a brilliant student at academics, Nirali pursued her education to be an architect. Being a danseuse was never in her plan. But as they say destiny rules and she is enjoying and pursuing her passion of dance and made it her profession. The Pune based Nirali Someshwar is today an entrepreneur as well, as she has been successfully running her dance academy Happy Feet in Pune and Mumbai for the last 10 years.

About her entrepreneurial journey

The journey was completely unplanned at the initial stage. She performed at few festivals and events in Pune, was praised for her performances and immediately was approached by few parents who wanted their kids to train under her. “That's how it began and slowly with my efforts towards the institute and with my sincerity and planning I went on to begin my classes at 5 different locations in Pune. Also went to other cities and did workshops of dance” says Nirali with passion.

Nirali Someshwar's Happy Feet dance academy teaches various forms of dance like Bharatnatyam, Kathak, odissi, Bollywood, belly dance, Indian folk, Latin ballroom, Hiphop, contemporary, Zumba, etc. They also do choreographies for various corporate events and school annual functions and wedding Sangeets.

Nirali met with an accident in 2008, which broke her femur bone, “arguably the worst tragedy of sorts for a dancer I still moved on” she says. While the road to recovery has been a story of falling down repeatedly and standing up again, her outlook has changed. Now not only she teaches children, but has diversified into teaching children who have learning and physical disabilities, and those from underprivileged backgrounds. “In ways more than one, I feel the accident taught me a lot about life”, says Nirali. She realized that it is time I help those who are deprived of it.

“That accident was an eye opener because she realised that not everyone can learn to dance, or even be lucky enough to learn the movements. The reasons can be varied, right from being physically to economically challenged. And that is when the thought hit me. I was running a commercial venture, but I could always teach for free to those who couldn’t avail these services easily. And that is what I began doing”.

“It is so difficult for some of the children to even move their hands. And even though there is an overpowering sense of helplessness, they just look up and smile. The determination in their eyes is just worth everything,” shares Nirali. Speaking about the children who come from economically challenged backgrounds, she feels that it is the hunger to learn and the discipline along with it to keep their focus from going awry, which inspires her too. “I always thought that charity was not about spending tons of money. A little effort to bring a smile on a face is good enough— in fact better”.

Challenges facing and being a woman entrepreneur

“There's a lot of talent in the country. Art and dance is becoming a mainstream profession now. A lot of people are leaving their jobs of medicine, engineering and pursuing their passion and making it their profession. I have done it too” says Niral, who is an Architect by education and pursues her passion. She knows that there is a lot of competition but it is positive and good because it makes one work harder and learn and better oneself more.

She never sees things as challenges. “It's just a lot of hard work and determination. And with my kind of work which actually is not even work, it's just about enjoying your work and giving your best and success shall follow. It's highly rewarding in terms of the respect and adulation that it brings along with it”, she puts it. She believes that today there are equal opportunities presented to both men and women. It's a world of equality. A woman is naturally gifted with the art of balancing things and with the art of multitasking. “Women are gifted with the art of balancing and multitasking. I would call it a god gift!” says Nirali. 

For her, it is extremely satisfying to be able to be independent and stand on her own feet and contribute towards the family income and not be dependent on a male for her basic necessities, and in turn, being a helping hand to them. “I consider myself blessed and lucky to be able to stand on my own and face life and its challenges on my own. It's the need of the hour”, she puts it.

Her Strategies

She never marketed with the way her business works and it's more on word of mouth publicity worked for her. “Honestly your work speaks for yourself”, believes Nirali.  “But yes when you are doing workshops in different cities and beginning a centre at a new place, you have to market yourself to create awareness and launching oneself” she says. When she started in Mumbai, she did with newspaper insertions, banners at various festivals, a website, a Facebook page, email ids, SMS and Whatsapp messages. “Technology is the key to growing today. It's a boon!!” says Nirali.

For each batch that she takes, she saves aside a part of its earnings for further expansion and marketing and for further inputs in it.

Future plans
“I want to have my own studio in the next 3 years which would be my main centre. Currently I rent out spaces. “I also intend to begin a chain of dance schools in India and out of the country,” signs off Nirali telling about her future plans.


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