I was born and raised in New Delhi, India. There was domestic violence in my family. At five years old, my parents, my brother and I moved away from my grandparents to live in a more peaceful environment. With hard work, sacrifice, and love, my parents raised my brother and I so that we could achieve everything that we dream of.
At the same time, from early childhood, I was expected to be an excellent student, attend top schools and universities, have a successful career (in science, finance, or run the family business), and have a family. This is what it took to be considered an “acceptable” and “successful” man. Yet there was a rebellious side to me that wouldn’t listen, acted aloof, and avoided connecting with others. Unless I really enjoyed something, I wouldn’t work hard at it or commit to it. I was obese. I didn’t like any subject or sports, and I wasn’t accepted at schools and universities. People called me stubborn, and indeed there was always a stubborn mind and spirit in me which wanted to explore, to express and to be free.
At the age of twenty, I took my first dance class. There was something in the art form which piqued my curiosity and changed my outlook on life. My curiosity and interest helped me to overcome the obstacles on the way to improving as a dancer. There was something in dancing which felt very comfortable and like home to me. I thought I could perform in front of an audience. I asked my teacher to help me train to be a professional dancer. He told me that I had to be thin to be a professional. Two months later, through, running, yoga, and a better diet, I had a different physique. I got accepted (under probation) at the local academy of performing arts, The Danceworx New Delhi. There I got introduced to passionate American and Spanish professional ballet artists, my pedagogues Anthony Noa and Tino Sanchez. They would be two of the biggest influences in my life.
They saw that I had something very charismatic and powerful to offer an audience. I believed that they could train me to be a professional dance artist. Noa, in particular, confidently encouraged me and trained me to be a professional ballet dancer. After training in New Delhi for a year, I got invited to train in a full scholarship program at The Ailey School, the official school of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (NYC). When I told my family, it was another battle I knew I had to fight — going against my family, culture and society to be a male dance artist. As always, I knew I would listen to my rebellious, stubborn side and convince my parents to support my move to NYC.
It was hard for me and as well as for my parents, but they came to support my move to New York to achieve my dream of becoming a professional dance artist. They had no Idea about what dance or ballet is, but they trusted me. I trusted the voice inside of me which was leading me to this sacred path. In 2011 I moved to New York and attended The Ailey School. During my time training there, I met another inspiring teacher, Tracy Inman (Director, The Ailey School) who supported and mentored me during all my time at Ailey. I studied with many dance icons and performed works by Alvin Ailey alongside Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ray Mercer(From the Lion King on Broadway), Matthew Rushing(Rehearsal Director Alvin Ailey)
Hope Boykin (BESSIE Award Winner), Darshan Signh Buhuller (London Contemporary Dance Theater), Jamar Roberts(Resident Choreographer Alvin Ailey), Freddie Moore(Alvin Ailey), Nick Cave and William Gill for the 100 Years Anniversary of Grand Central New York produced by CREATIVE TIME. I was also a key dancer in Katie Holmes Documentary In Short, David Monn’s production for the 2013 Park Avenue Armory Gala and many more professional dance productions and companies around the United States and Europe. I am additionally the recipient of the The Yass Family Scholarship, The Ada Brandon Scholarship, The Glorya Kaufman Dance Foundation Scholarship, and The Bob Fosse-Gwen Verdon Scholarship, read more
After my dancing experiences in Germany, I moved back to the States and danced the principal role of Mowgli in Jangala (based on the story of Jungle Book) with Oakland Ballet (Oakland, CA). Yet In March 2018, I badly broke my foot while performing. I was on crutches for seven months. I ended up staying in California for longer than expected.
I was depressed, devastated and had no idea where my life or dancing career was going to go. Through consistent influence from my ex-girlfriend, I tried for two tickets to Burning Man Festival through the OMG SALE — and got them! I was not sure what I was getting myself into, but it seemed like a sign from the universe and I thought I should give it a shot. I had a very emotionally stimulating ride and the emotions fluctuated. When I came back to everyday life, I decided to focus on my rehabilitation and get back to dancing.
Almost for a year after my injury, my whole left side — from foot to neck — was constantly in pain. It always felt like a heavy burden. While searching for rehabilitation coaches, I found Alex Munz, founder of an award winning spine decompression technique called SAFE® FLOOR. S.A.F.E. stands for Spine Advanced Functional Empowerment. A body-training method informed by cognitive science, the S.A.F.E. method is practiced by the Olympic Athletes, Ballet companies, and as well as senior citizens all over the world.
My first training session in this method was a ray of light. After only a few classes, I felt a big difference in my spinal health. I could get back on my legs and start walking normally. It also made a huge difference in my dancing and artistry. I started feeling freedom in my movement and limbs. The method inspired me very much, and I was chosen to be the first Certified Coach in the US — trained by the founder himself. Since then, I have been sharing this practice with athletes, movers, and non-movers in the US, Europe and India.
Now, looking back at my journey, I truly feel that I went through all of this for a deeper purpose. Performing on stage was the first time I experienced the sense of being at ease and free within my own skin. Dance has helped me share my spirit with the rest of the world. Through being a professional dancer, experiencing Burning Man, and being trained in S.A.F.E. method, I realized there is something within us that is more home than the body — our mind and spirit, which expresses joy in creativity. After training in S.A.F.E. I became stronger, more flexible and hyper-connected with my skeleton, nervous system and muscular system. It made my dancing and artistry much stronger, and my understanding of ballet and contemporary dance techniques much more sound.