When we think of Ballet, we picture a beautiful and graceful girl in tutu dancing on the tip of her toes to a soothing piano music. However, ballet is not only for girls and this is exemplified by ShubhangSakpal of LDAB – The Ballerino of the Month.
Shubhang has been training at LDAB for over two years. His initial training started with MsParand (Senior Assistant Teacher at LDAB), and later his training progressed under Ms Neha (Artistic Director, LDAB). Prior to lockdown Ms Neha had conveyed to him that his technique is fantastic, and that he will be giving his CSTD Examinations in 2020 not for Grade I level, but for Grade II level. This news brought him tremendous joy, but was short-lived as the whole nation went into a lockdown in March 2020. After a few weeks of uncertainty, when he heard that Ms Neha will continue the ballet lessons online, Shubhang was one of the first ones to enroll for the Online Training Program. Thereafter there was no stopping him. Technical issues, poor connectivity, bad flooring, nothing kept him from logging into every online lesson. He managed to have 100% attendance throughout the lockdown.
In November 2020 Shubhang appeared for his first ever ballet examination. It was special in a lot of ways. Not only was this the first time he was demonstrating his ballet technique before an international dance faculty, he was going to be part of history! Where most ballet schools cancelled ballet examinations in light of the pandemic, LDAB was the Only Ballet School in India which was providing this opportunity to its students through Live Stream Examination. And Shubhang was thrilled to be part of it!
Shubhang is a dancer in the true sense. He is trained under various dance forms such as Hip-Hop, Contemporary and Bollywood. He lives dance! In addition to Classical Ballet he has also started training in Indian Classical Dance form – Kathak because it will help him become a better dancer.
Ms Neha is in awe with Shubhang’s dedication. She recollects a discussion she had had with him where he was so passionate about improving his technique that he decided to do a certain exercise 50 times a day! Ms Neha had to tell him not to be too hard on himself and to enjoy the journey of becoming a ballet dancer. “I have noticed how his passion rubs off on others around him. When he comes to the studio, he immediately starts his warm up and stretches, without wasting time. The other students in his batch see his seriousness and also follow his lead. I see him going places if he continues his ballet training the way he is currently!” says Ms Neha
Outside of the ballet studio, Shubhang is an introvert. His favourite topic of discussion is dance (no prize for guessing!) He has various future plans and all are connected to dance. Professional dancer, Ballet teacher, Dance Therapist, these are only a few of the various goals he has set for himself. We wish this extremely talented and inspiring ballerino great success for his future.
Music and dance, together they are like lovers who understand each other, like playful siblings who build beautiful things together and like best friends who have their own personality yet create magic when they come together. Music and dance are like hot chocolate and marshmallows, a beautiful combination, a little incomplete without one another while being the perfect recipe for comfort. Ballet and violin are the hot chocolate and marshmallow in our 8 year old ballerina of the month, Ritika’s life.
At a young age of 3, Ritika started her ballet training under the tutelage of Miss Neha. Ms Neha recalls how the wide-eyed Ritika entered the ballet class for the first time in her pretty pink tutu dress, and immediately won her heart with her curiosity and sharp mind.
Ritika’s journey with LDAB has since been full of new adventures. She has been a part of two LDAB stage shows, ‘Once upon a time’ , where she performed a duet with Tisha Rathi, and ‘The Nutcracker’ where she was one of the Spanish Dancers. She has also been a part of the CSTD International Competition 2019, Singapore. It was an amazing experience for Ritika, and her display of confidence and grace on stage was inspiring. When asked about her favourite part about LDAB, Ritika was quick to mention Miss Neha while the ballet exercises conducted by Miss Neha were a close second. Ritika wrote an essay on miss Neha when she was asked to write about her favourite teacher.
Ritika is a 3rd grade student of Abhinav Vidyalay English Medium Primary School. Since the age of 2, Ritika has been learning Violin. Her best-loved piece is the Bourrée.She has just graduated her Book 3 in July 2020 and is one of the youngest violinist to pass this exam. Ritika also appeared for the Grade 3 exam of the Royal School of London last year and has passed with distinction. She got an opportunity to go to the NCPA Mumbai for the high scorers’ concert. In addition to this, Ritika has won numerous accolades. Ritika spends most of her time perfecting the violin and ballet combinations. In addition to this, Ritika is also an avid reader and loves reading the works of Sudha Murty among other authors. ‘Grandma’s Bag of Stories’ is one of her most favourite reads. Ritika likes playing badminton as well. Another feather in Ritika’s cap is the language Japanese which she has been learning since a few years now.
When asked about Ritika, Miss Neha said that Ritika is the brain of Grade 1. “When Ritika walked in the ballet class for the first time, she came in with her big, gleaming eyes and was extremely keen to learn from the very first day. Ritika initially walked in a class with older students, but was not intimidated even a bit. Since day one, she showed great potential and has always been very quick in picking up new and challenging exercises. I call her the brain of Grade 1 class as she remembers tough ballet combinations and executes them without getting confused.” exclaimed Miss Neha. “Her performance at the CSTD competition was fabulous. She was not at all nervous facing the audience and performed the whole piece with grace and a smile on her face. It is a delight watching Ritika perform.” added Miss Neha.
During the lockdown, Ritika has made sure to utilize her time by practicing ballet, violin, reading books as well as doodling. In addition to these, Ritika also took up some new activities. She learnt stitching from her grandmother and helped her mother, in the kitchen, in making chapatis. Ritika has an elder sister Gayatri and is fond of drawing and reading books with her.
Ritika is a very fun-loving, caring and compassionate person. She is highly organized and is very focus driven. Even in school, Ritika has bagged numerous awards such as the ‘General Proficiency’ award and the ‘Best Handwriting’ award. When asked about her ballet journey, Ritika’s mother, Ms. Mugdha said “It has been a delightful journey since the get go. The progress Ritika has made under Miss Neha’s guidance has truly been commendable. We can observe the change in her posture and the elegance that ballet has brought in Ritika.”
Ballet has been an important part of Ritika’s life and she wants to pursue it in the future as well. We would like to wish Ritika all the very best for her future!
We all have a close friend who has been a part of our lives since the time we can’t even remember. A friend who has been with us through thick and thin. A friend who makes us smile when we are low and tells us stories to lift our mood. A friend who helps us grow and never leaves our side no matter what. The Ballerina of the Month Prisha Ambi’s best friends are her books.
Eight year old Prisha has been learning ballet under miss Neha’s tutelage from the past 3 years. Her fondness for ballet began after watching a movie, soon after which Prisha began her training and fell in love with it. Currently, Prisha is in grade 1 and will be appearing for her CSTD exam coming November. She dedicates time for her training everyday and enjoys practicing different combinations.
Prisha, who is a 3rd grade student at Euro School, has been quite busy during the quarantine. Not only has she been attending her school and ballet classes online, Prisha has also taken up a course in communication from Trinity College, London. When asked about what she likes doing in her free time other than her ballet practice, Prisha was quite quick to exclaim “I read books, books, and more books”. Her favourite novel is ‘Out of My Mind’ by Sharon M. Draper. In spite of not being able to go out, Prisha likes to do some skating once in a while, which is also one of her hobbies.
Till date, Prisha has been a part of two stage shows, ‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Children’s Gallop’ and is excited to be a part of the upcoming ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ performance. When asked about Prisha, Miss Neha said “She is very passionate and hard working. Even during online classes, Prisha’s level of enthusiasm is with par with that in the studio. She is very dedicated, and a lot of credit goes to her mom. Her mom really motivates her and encourages her.”
Prisha, who loves her words just as much as ballet, doesn’t miss out on any opportunity in unifying the two. While speaking to Mrs. Ambi about Prisha’s ballet journey, she mentioned how Prisha started mirroring the moves which she saw in a movie and that’s when Mrs. Ambi decided to enrol Prisha for professional training. “Prisha is a very dedicated girl and gives her hundred percent in whatever she does. What I like about her the most is her fun and carefree nature.” Added Mrs. Ambi.
Prisha always dreamt of becoming a ballerina and being awarded the ‘Ballerina of the Month’s title, she feels one step closer to her goal. We wish her the best of luck for her future!
Music is soothing, like the waves crashing on a beach. It’s like the warm sunlight after a cold dark night, like the friend who holds your hand when you need it and hugs you tight if ever you don’t ask for it. Music makes you happy and it gets you emotional. Music talks volumes without having any lyrics. Music makes you want to get up and sway and music is what attracted 9 year old Ria Dhumal to the alluring world of ballet.
At the age of 5, Ria started her ballet training under Miss Neha’s tutelage. She is very dedicated and enjoys performing ballet just as much as she finds pleasure in watching it. Ira Pawar, who is also a part of the LDAB family, is a ballerina who’s work Ria has been following. But the ballerina that inspires Ria the most is her idol, Neha ma’am. Ballet is about how effortlessly a ballerina can blend grace with the correct technique to create something as beautiful as the blossoming of a flower and this is what Ria loves.
Ria is a student of Sanskriti school and is studying in 4th grade. The quarantine has been stressful for her because of the hectic online lectures. Ria is quite occupied with her classes and homeworkyet, she tries to make the most of her free time by singing and dancing to her heart’s content. Ria prefers instrumental music overother genres. When asked about her interest in sports, Ria spoke about her participation in swimming as well as badminton.
Since the last 3 and a half years, Ria has been training with LDAB. She’s due to give her ISTD and CSTD exams this year. Ria has been a part of numerous stage performances including ‘BibbidiBobbidi Boo’. “Ria is a very giftedperformer. In spite of being in grade 1, I’ve decided to start Ria’s grade 2 training simultaneously. She is shining in grade 2 as well” Said Miss Neha when asked about Ria’s progress. Ria has been awarded 2 trophies in ballet till date and is extremely determined to bag more in the coming years.
Ria is a very outgoing person and is fond of meeting new people. When asked about Ria, her mother, Mrs. Dhumal, said “Ria is like any other 9 year old and yet so different. She is fun and naughty with a touch of melodrama but at heart, she is an old soul. Sometimes Ria casually mentions something out of the blue which come as a surprise because of how mature she sounds.” Exclaimed Mrs. Dhumal. “Miss Neha is the best teacher Ria could get. She is a pleasure to watch while performing and gives each and every student equal time and space.” Added Mrs. Dhumal.
At such a young age, Ria has already made up her mind about becoming a ballerina who sings. She is hardworking and is sure to achieve any goal she sets for herself. We wish Ria all the success for her future endeavours!
The last few months have been a series of unfortunate events. We were all confined to our houses, trying to keep up with the ongoing pandemic. While most of us struggled with keeping ourselves occupied, Tisha Rathi utilized this time in perfecting the art of dancing, making her the ballerina of the month.
Tisha has been learning ballet under Miss Neha’s tutelage for almost 5 years. Due to the lockdown, Tisha has been living her life through the screen, from attending online school to her ballet training through video calls.
In spite of missing out on sharing a tiffin with her school mates or a chat with her ballet friends, Tisha has been spending more time with her beloved novels.
Currently, Tisha is in grade 1 and is preparing for ISTD and CSTD exams which are to be held in the coming November and February respectively. Tisha has been a part of numerous recitals but the one in which she stood out the most was ‘Frozen’. “The most memorable performance by Tisha was in our ballet concert Once Upon a Time. She did a duet with Ritika on the Frozen theme where she played the character of little Elsa. Her acting and dancing moved the audience to tears.” Quoted Miss Neha. “Tisha is very dedicated, hard working, and passionate about ballet. She has grown into a beautiful dancer in all her years at LDAB.” Miss Neha added.
A fun fact about Tisha is that she makes her mother plan all their vacations as well as other activities keeping her ballet lessons at the epicentre. When asked about what keeps her so driven, her mother, Poonam Rathi, said “Tisha looks forward to each session and thoroughly enjoys performing ballet. What really drives her is to achieve perfection and she constantly tries to polish herself by rehearsing until she is satisfied with the outcome.”
This otherwise talkative and bubbly 8 year old also has a very caring and understanding side to her.Tisha is very adaptive to her surroundings and is compassionate towards everyone.When asked about her future in ballet, Tisha exclaimed that she would love to become a ballerina though a professional swimmer and teacher are close 2nd and 3rdoptions.
As hardworking and dedicated as Tisha is, it is sure that she is destined to achieve great things in whichever path she chooses. We wish her the best of luck!