Artist of the week - Ritambhara (Belly Dancer) - LTO BLOG

Artist of the week – Ritambhara (Belly Dancer)

Posted On:06.13.2016

What is the history to your taking up Dance – how did it come into being, your journey(in brief)

Dance is within me and it was something that I was born with. I use to dance to music or no music ever since childhood when i was 5 years old. I started to learn and I started to perform professionally ever since I was 7 years old. My mother Shrimati Indu Sahni [now no more] was the chief announcer at All India Radio.

Girls of Ritambhara’s The belly dance institute Mumbai 
The radio station would have its events and my mother gave me the opportunity to learn professionally and perform at these events and that’s when I started to perform. Back then in the late 80’s and early 90’s dance was forbidden as a career. But my mother really supported me not only to dance but also encouraged me to do voice overs, act and do many other things related to performing arts as a child artist right from the age of 7 years.
So who are your favorites/ Icons/ Role Models in the field of Dance?

I started to dance with old school Hip Hop and I could moonwalk ever since I was 7 years of age. I was crazy about Popping and Locking and so but of course I would worship Michael Jackson. I worshiped all my teachers who taught me other dance forms as well back then and I worked in my early school days with choreographers like Sandeep Soi and Santosh Shetty who were big names in choreography back then when Shaimak Davar was the only western dance school India had. There were many other choreographers back then who I really admired but could not work with, one of them being Astad Deboo. Down the years I have worked with many professionals in almost all dance forms and belly dance of course. I saw belly dance in a James bond movie but could not pursue to learn as belly dance back then was considered as taboo. Then came Shakira and the whole scenario changed. For many girls in India including me, It was Shakira who created the burning desire for so many of us to belly dance . Racheal Brice is someone who I love and admire as she is a great tribal belly dance artist.

Does your Dance carry a message / a theme or a story ..if so can you share more on it…

Whenever I have danced or taught, I have always maintained that dance gives me my identity, -I define dance and dance defines me. Well as of today I teach belly dance and I run belly dance institute Mumbai by Ritambhara Sahni and whenever I teach or perform, there is one thing that I always try to convey to each and every female, and that is —-belly dance is empowering for a female in the most magical ways and the dance form can makes her discover herself in a complete new positive light. Belly dance has its immense – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits and can be done by females of all age, shapes and sizes.

Of all the performances you’ve given, which is your favourite one and why ?

My favourite performance is not one, it’s many and too much to list. When the audience claps and cheers, u feel the love and that is a beautiful feel. When the audience wants to speak with you and know you after you perform, is when you know you have created an impact. I have felt all this in each and every performance and I feel truly blessed however I would also like to say is that whenever I perform I discover something new about my performance and me. Performing for me is a very fast journey to positive self-realization and performing makes me feel more assertive and extremely powerful. I would say performing to me is spiritual. So every performance is a gift to me and I really cannot say which is my favourite performance for all the above reasons.

How do rejuvenate your creative insights / get the adrenaline going?

To rejuvenate is to carry on always and to of course always do new things. The show must go on and the audience wants something new each time. It’s my audience that inspires me to create something new each time and that is the greatest force I guess not just for me but also for all the top names in the creative world. That’s really how I rejuvenate my creative insights and get the adrenaline going. Also being a performing artist, there is not a single day I don’t dance.

Do you have any interesting fan stories to tell?

Not one but so many, I love it when people want to talk about my performance, they do eventually become positive connects and many are my students and friends. If I inspire someone to learn belly dance after my performance that is my greatest achievement. If she feels the power of the dance that she can achieve through this dance form it’s a mission accomplished for me as I want each and every female who is fascinated with this beautiful dance form to achieve the benefits this dance form carries and to eventually achieve the power and beauty of the dance form.

Of all the stages in your Dance Journey which has been your most memorable one (learning, practicing, performing, teaching etc) and why ?

Dance is a journey and I have cherished each and every moment. Learning was amazing each time. I still learn something new every day. I want to learn so much more and I am. Every aspect of my journey right from learning, practicing, creating, directing, teaching and choreographing is a beautiful gift. I can’t get enough of any and I feel this life is not enough to fulfil all I still want to achieve and do

Can you share about some funny incident that happened on-stage / during performance /with you or the other artists / stage members ?

The funny incidents happened in school and college but not on a professional level. They were really technical errors but there was one really funny incident that happened during a casual performance for my good friend’s wedding who is an actor and a recognised name in TV serials – Mark Parakh which was when one of the dancers left the performance to have water and then came back and continued to perform in the group with us. We all freaked out on stage but continue to laugh our guts out even today. So yes that was truly funny.

How has the Dance journey been so far for you and what are you looking forward to

Dance is a journey and will continue to be one. It has been a magical journey and I want it to get even more magical down the line. I want to learn more and more and continue to teach and spread the love and joy of belly dance to each and every female who is fascinated to learn the beautiful art of belly dancing. I want to continue to perform, to create performing artists, to teach, to choreograph, to help my students make a career in dance and bellydance in terms of a professional performing artist, choreographer and to help them even start their own belly dance school.

Do you have any words of advice for youngsters who are thinking of getting into this line ?
 A dance performance of the TBDIM group
My advice to youngsters is to follow your dreams and never give up on them come what may. Keep up the work and if one way does not work, some other way surely will. Believe in yourself. We all have the power to achieve all that we want – we need immense self – belief, hard work and we should never stop and keep on going.
“Whenever I have danced or taught, I have always maintained that dance gives me my identity”

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