Honey Kalaria Interview
- Tell us about Honey and what Bollywood means to you.
I am a dancer and choreographer and I tend to work as a Bollywood ambassador to the UK, really promoting Bollywood, getting people involved in Bollywood projects, perhaps developing East /West relations through Bollywood. Using my work and promotion of Bollywood as a vehicle I am educating, entertaining and informing people about Indian art and culture through the world of Bollywood. All the projects I tend to get involved in are Bollywood related and entertainment related.
- What is your new project
My current project is the Bollywood Dance Championships. The contest's aim is to provide a platform for and open up opportunities for the wealth of talent we have here in the UK. Because Bollywood is an amalgamation of so many dance forms, it includes belly dancing to hip-hop to Indian traditional classical dance to bhangra, this particular competition is open to people from different dance forms and different dance genres.
This particular UK Bollywood Dance Championship is open to the whole of the UK and it could be, along with the wealth of talent at our dance academy- Honey's Dance Academy, other dance organizations, professionals, or it even could be someone who dances in front of the mirror in their room and thinks they are absolutely amazing and people are clapping for them. The interesting part will be that it is a process that people can enjoy. The whole journey people will enjoy. The real idea, of course, is to develop more intercultural relations, develop that side, get people to appreciate each other's cultures, appreciate each other's dance forms along the way.
- How will the competition work?
It is a 3-tiered approach – 3 phases. The 1st phase is that people will come in for an audition and they will get kind of "weaned out" – some people will go through and some people won't. Let's say we have 1000 applicants and entries. From that thousand, we will be selecting 360 that will go through to the heats.
- At the end of a series of heats, the judges will put 48 entries through. The 48 entries will then compete for the overall championship title. We have 8 categories (4-7, 8-12 13-17 18+) with both a solo entry and a group entry, and there will be winners in both categories in each age group.
The exciting thing about the project is that it is all going to be part of a TV series. Whoever takes part in the auditions and go through to the heats and then goes through the finals they will be part of a TV program. We may have television crews that are going to be following them and filming their rehearsals and things like that.
- Besides being on TV, which is good, even further than that, this will help to promote these artists and help them have so much fun along the way. Desitara.com, our online talent portal partners, will also be promoting every single entry online, so the world can see this wealth of talent that is available here in the UK. They will also allow the public to vote for their favorite dancers and performers. Although the judging process is a panel of judges that will select the winners, there will be also a winner for the public category online.
- Speaking of Honey's Dance Academy, tell us about the school. Honey's Dance Academy is a Bollywood training institution. The pool of talent we have got in the academy is amazing. Since Bollywood is an amalgamation of so many dance forms it tends to attract dance students from many different dance disciplines. We have had so many jazz performers, we have had contemporary dancers, we have had people who are hip-hop performers, and we have people from Indian classical trained background who perhaps want to modernize their skills.
- We have Western dancers, who perhaps want to bring in the ethnic style within their choreography or want to find out what is all this fuss about, why is everybody talking about Bollywood and why has there been such an explosion of Bollywood. We coordinate a lot of Bollywood productions in the UK and many times we have requests that they want Western dancers, so we find that we connect with a lot of the Western dancers who hear about the Bollywood industry and after getting involved really enjoy it and come back for more.
- We have people from all sorts of different backgrounds, but then having said that, we also have people who just want to come and keep fit, who may just enjoy the music and come along for a nice little evening out with their friends for a dance lessons. We also have that side of the spectrum of coming a long to classes were they are just doing it for fun and others who really want to go out there and compete and become somebody.
- You have recently worked on It's A Wonderful Afterlife – tell us about that experience.
Ahh yes, It's A Wonderful Afterlife, now that's with Gurinder Chadha. That was a really exciting project, that was really good fun. Especially because I was a choreographer for the film and did a little quick bit part as well as a fun thing. I provided artists for the film as well, including the really nice junior professional dancers between ages 10-12.
- They are so amazing as performers; they melt people's hearts the way they perform. They are so cute and really energetic and beautiful performers. As a choreographer it was great because Gurinder has always been a very professional director and a fun director, so being on the sets was definitely a very positive experience for us. The dancers loved working with her. Not just that, she is a bit of a maestro when it comes to creating East/West movies that are appealing to mainstream audiences that have the fun and comedy elements in it as well.
- Tell us some interesting incident from the movie
I will tell you a little experience that I had on the film. There was a part in the film were I am supposed to be teaching a Bollywood dance class. I didn't realize there were all these zombies standing in the back of me (laughs!!). Suddenly I saw this little zombie dog walking around I was thinking, what is that dog doing in this place?
- I am teaching and I am trying to keep a straight face and I am being filmed and suddenly I looked behind me and there are these zombies and I thinking, AHHHHH! They certainly got a natural kind of expression for the camera (laughs). It was just fun. Everybody loved it, we laughed a lot and really enjoyed the whole process.
- What do you think is going to make a Bollywood Dance Champion?
First of all, Bollywood dance championship is a journey that you have to start enjoying. It is about the dedication, positive attitude that you are going to put into your project and into your routines. Those are the foundations because it is a competition and you have to have belief in yourself. It will be hard work because there will be other big strong individuals in the competition, but the idea is if you enjoy your process and you keep that positive attitude you can concentrate and put all your energy and focus into the actual performance.
- Most important is that the judges will be looking out for versatility in your choreography. They will be looking out for the way you present yourself: so your costumes, your look, all your individuality and anything that will add value to the look of that performance. They will be looking at your formations, what kind of teamwork, what type of interpersonal skills you are showing while you are performing. There are quite a lot of elements that the judges will look at when you are performing on stage, but I think it is also about having a personality on stage.
- It is not just about doing a performance. Come out with your individuality, be there and believe in yourself. Remember, all those people in the VIP seating area, the director, the producers, the music companies and people who are out there who have come to find talent, they are there to see you and it could mean that even if you are not the crowning champion, a much bigger opportunity could open up. It could be dreams coming true!
If you are in the UK and want to be a part of this amazing program and make your dream come true, the first audition is coming up on Saturday the 17th of April 2010 at St Giles Hotel, Central London.
- To seal a place to become Bollywood's next top British star you must register by calling +44 020 8590 8050 or by visiting http://www.desitara.com/honeysdanceacademy.com/.