There are times in our lives when we are extremely close to giving up on our dreams because of how the circumstances play out. It definitely takes a miraculous amount of strength and great dedication to continue towards our goals. Dancer and aerialist Nupur Kaushik Shah faced many hurdles in her way to becoming a one-of-a-kind AerialBelly dancer but finally she emerged victorious through it all.
SocialBoat got a distinctive opportunity to interview a very graceful, confident, and passionate woman who brought in the idea of AerialBelly dancing - Nupur Kaushik Shah. Read on as Nupur shares her story of how she became one of India’s top performers in the domain with sheer hard work, determination, and razor-sharp focus.
Who is Nupur Kaushik Shah?
Aerialist by profession and a belly dance artist by choice, Nupur Kaushik Shah runs her Instagram handle called “@aerialbelly” where she starts from teaching the basics of aerial art and belly dance and gradually turns you into a pro. She is a professional belly dance artist, an aerialist, and one of the head secretaries at Aerial Sports Association of India. She says,
“Anybody and everybody can learn to belly dance. Size, colour, gender, and age doesn’t matter when it comes to an art form. Even a non-dancer can learn this art.”
How did you get into this domain?
“The initial plan was to be a fitness trainer and a nutritionist. I was an athlete and used to learn gymnastics. Belly dancing looked interesting, so I took it up as a hobby.”
Her hobby soon turned into her passion and she realised that she was naturally good at it. However, there weren’t many advanced belly dance schools in Ahmedabad. So, she decided to move to Pune to explore her hobby further. She adds,
“While I belly dance, I feel connected to the body and what am I doing with each muscle of the body. So, moving to Pune might have been a big decision. But, my passion was calling me.”
How did you come up with ‘AerialBelly’?
“So, being a gymnast I always had excellent upper body strength. One time, I was up on a rod with my arms, and I thought of doing some belly dance in the air. It was just a random thought then, but I felt I could do that. I was in the air, and belly dancing! That’s how it all started.”
Nupur’s discovery was unique. She was the pioneer of the art form at that time, as no one else was doing it. It was a beautiful amalgamation of graceful aerial movements with the panache of belly dancing.
How did you take it to the next level?
“I wanted to learn aerial more, and for that I had to go to Bombay. But, my life was in Pune with my work & students. So, I started going to Bombay three days a week to learn.”
Nupur would take the train, take her classes and then get back to Pune where she would teach students belly dance. This is just another instance of how much determination and grit goes in excelling at something!
Woah! That is demanding! How did you keep up with this hectic schedule?
“It wasn’t easy. Six months into it, and my body gave up. My fingers wouldn’t move, I couldn’t get up!” It was a big setback for Nupur, and at this point, she took a six month break to recover, back in Ahmedabad.
But destiny had planned something else for her. While she was recovering, she launched AerialBelly on Instagram and YouTube with some previously shot sequences. As soon as she recovered, she went back to aerial and participated in an aerial championship in Bombay. Her artform was loved by the judges, and she bagged a podium finish there bringing herself into the limelight.
This was a great breakthrough. Did the offers suddenly roll in?
“Sadly, no. There was still some struggle for me in Bombay. I got a few students who I started teaching. A few months later, I got a TV show and that is when the transition started happening.”
Talking to Nupur, one is sure to be dazzled by her spirit and passion. Even though the destination might always look glorious, the journey of passion-preneur is not an easy one.
What was a low point for you in your journey?
“In one of the shows, I fell from a height and got badly injured. I broke my collarbone and the doctors said that I cannot do aerial anymore.”
This was a difficult moment for Nupur. However, earnest passion cannot be contained. In six months, she again went back, and two years post rehabilitation, she had returned to the art from. It was always her dream to bring her art to the TV screen, but that looked very distant when she was injured in 2018. But Nupur’s determination was strong; after two years she went on to star in the show ‘Dance With Me’ on Zee TV and Zee Cafe. She had accomplished her dream.
After your injury, did you never have second thoughts about this?
“No. I am very passionate about this. This is what I want to do. For me, there was no plan B. Plan B was just plan A.”
All these years of hard work have borne fruit now. Nupur has signed up with numerous TV shows and teaches students all over the world. Her Instagram page has grown in popularity and she is getting recognition and love from everywhere.
“Dance to inspire, dance to freedom, life is about experiences so dance, and let yourself become free.”
Our two cents:
For me, Nupur has always been a representation of a strong and confident personality. How an artist expresses their emotions through their paintings, she expresses her ideas, her skills, and her individuality through her dancing. Her determination and hardwork needs no explanation. Nupur is a true passion entrepreneur and an epitome of the fact that if one works hard and has something unique to offer, success will have no bounds.
@Alfisha Sabri; @Rahul Jain