This week’s instructor spotlight is on NY Instructor, Gina! This classically trained dancer is not only a certified BollyX instructor, but also regional delegate for National Dance Week Foundation, member of daCi (Dance and the Child International)! Read more about this rockstar instructor in our interview with her below!
Q: Tell us about yourself – what do you do when you’re not teaching? What are your hobbies? What other formats do you teach? Give us a little on your background.
A: My college degree was in Elementary Education, but I’ve also been a multimedia designer, an arts administrator, a dance teacher, a mom, an avid traveler, and community volunteer. As a kid I took lots of different dance classes (Tap was my favorite!), but really found my passion in high school when I began studying Odissi-style classical Indian dance.
During and after college, I was part of a South Asian dance company, and was blessed with opportunities to perform across New England and work in school artist-in-residence programs. In addition to BollyX, I’m currently involved in a variety of other dance activities. I lead library-based preschool literature and movement programs, mentor fellow dance teachers, and choreograph dances for local theater groups and special events like Quinceañeras.
For the past 6 years, I’ve served as regional delegate for the National Dance Week Foundation, coordinating an annual Dance Mob that brings dance out to unexpected places in our community We’ve danced at shopping malls, senior centers, street corners, even on a dairy farm! Dance Mob involves kids and adults of all ages, including individuals with autism, cerebral palsy and others who may not always have access to formal dance instruction. It’s an honor to work with such diverse groups, who support each other and share the joy of dance with such enthusiasm. Everyone should have the chance to dance!
Q: How would you describe BollyX in one word?
A: Adventurous! BollyX encourages us to explore another culture thorough music and movement. And the “western match” songs make it a round-trip journey, drawing connections to show how much we all have in common.
Beyond that, BollyX challenges us to be bold, to build our strength, to encourage one another, and be our best selves. As we sweat, smile, and pose together—that’s building a real spirit of adventure!
Q: What is your favorite part of BollyX class?
A: The high point of each class is the Performance. I love to see the students rally a big burst of energy and give the movements their own dramatic flair. The closing gesture is also special for me since it brings to mind the “triple salutation” of my classical dance training, but mostly I just love how it acknowledges that mind, heart and body are interconnected–and BollyX benefits all three!
Q: How has working with BollyX changed you or your lifestyle?
A: BollyX instructor training has definitely improved my overall effectiveness as a teacher. In particular, pre-cueing is a tool you can apply in many situations. BollyX aptly demonstrates how a well-timed, clear and bold gesture can be a powerful tool for teaching and communication.
Q: How long have you been with BollyX?
A: I’ve been with BollyX a little more than a year; I took my first certification in March 2016 and started teaching a weekly class in October. And I just got LIT in February 2017!
Q: What is your favorite BollyX song to teach?
A: So many favorites, and I look forward to the new releases each month! Dance Basanti is often in my playlist because it’s accessible for beginning students, while more experienced dancers can enjoy playing up the eye movements and adding their own personal spice. And for pure joy and big energy, I’m really loving Zingaat!
Q: Where do you teach BollyX?
A: I teach in a small, rural community in upstate New York on the Vermont border. For a small town, there’s a lot happening here…and it all centers around our bustling little Main Street. There’s an independent bookstore, a brewery tap room, eateries, a natural food co-operative, an historic theater, and a whole complex of rail yard buildings from the 1800s that have been repurposed as community arts education & performance spaces. If you ever find yourself in Cambridge, New York on a Thursday evening, please come visit my class at Hubbard Hall!
Take a class with Gina today!