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  Entertainment   In Other News  07 Nov 2017  The Pole Star of India

The Pole Star of India

THE ASIAN AGE. | SANDIP SOPARRKAR
Published : Nov 7, 2017, 12:45 am IST
Updated : Nov 7, 2017, 12:45 am IST

Smilly has taken her acting talent a step further by introducing the beautiful art of pole dancing into Indian dance scene.

Smilly Suri
 Smilly Suri

There are some people who we meet and they make a place in our hearts forever, their personality has some kind of magnetism that pulls us and bonds us with them for life. Today, I am going to make you meet one such person, who I met over 15 years back during a film shoot and till date she remains one of my most favourite people. You all know her as “The Jiya Dhadak Dhadak Girl” from the super hit film Kalyug. But to me actress Smilly Suri is not just a super dedicated and sincere student but a friend who I will cherish till eternity.

I take great pride to inform you that Smilly has taken her acting talent a step further by introducing the beautiful art of pole dancing into Indian dance scene. Here are a few things I asked the super-talented dancer and actress:

Take me through your varied dance background and what you learnt from it.
My mother said I danced before I walked, dance is prayer for me. I trained with Shiamak Davar, became an instructor in his institute, then took up Latin and ballroom dancing under your guidance, learnt Kathak from Guru Vijayshree Choudhary and later moved to salsa and aerial arts. Each dance form came to me at that time in my life for a reason, like ballroom and Kathak made me grow into a lady, I learnt to be feminine. Salsa helped me learn improvisation and fast foot work. Jazz made me strong and sharp with my moves. Aerial arts and aerial silk helped me conquer my fear of heights and free falling. I have loved every bit of my dance journey.

How did Pole dancing happen then?
I went for an aerial silk class in Dubai but happened to meet a pole teacher who taught me pole tricks, that was it I had found my calling, found my inner self, my purpose, I experienced a dance that helped me feel strong yet sexy and helped me hold my weight and use all my dance knowledge to feel beautiful.

Tell us more about your training in pole dancing
In 2016, I was depressed, I had hormonal issues, I was unhappy so I decided to leave India and train in pole. I applied to Brass Barre pole school in Singapore and they called me and I took the leap. I was broke I took a loan from the bank and just took off. But I have to say it has been the best decision of my life. At the school I found women of all age groups, I found a sistahood. I met women in their 50's and 60’s yet so physically strong, cancer survivors and women who struggled but pole was their religion. They taught me how to be strong and happy and most importantly the art of celebrating woman hood. I realised the importance of good pole wear, and that it was not just skimpy clothes. I wore 8 inch heels and was very comfortable in them too. I will never forget my training days, they made me who I am today.

How is the acceptability of pole dance in India?
It is not as bad as I imagined it to be. India I won't say is ready for Pole but for any dance form to bloom it takes time. Internationally pole dancing is a sport, but I like to keep the sexy elements attached to the fitness and the tricks and I have coined my own style now and have got a copyright and trademark for “Bollypole” which is gaining popularity. I school is having its first a graduation party soon which will be a burlesque night where my students will perform all they have learnt.

What all challenges have you been facing?
The biggest challenge I am facing is to make women feel empowered. We Indian women lack self-confidence, we are so busy with our husband and family and we never take time out for ourselves. We love ourselves less, body shaming and self acceptance is a struggle. Yes, few women do like to post their videos and pictures on social media, rest still lie about their rendezvous with pole, which will change too I am positive.

Tell me more about your school Pole Star.
I intersperse yoga and gymnastics with pole dancing, it is the best exercise for all our muscles and core, while we pole we lift our own body weight, so why gym when you can pole. Pole dancing has changed me completely and I believe if it could happen to me it can happen to you too.

You are a part of Bollywood, where pole dancing has been associated with bad girls, what is your take on it?
Pole dancing world over is associated with strip bars, adding to that Hollywood and Bollywood both have sensationalised it. In 50s and 60s strippers brought pole out into clubs and while dancing they stripped, showed tricks as to how tough and flexible they were, as a result, today, it is accepted as a sport. I believe soon it will be recognised, accepted and hopefully done and used the right way in Bollywood and Hollywood too.

What are your plans with pole dancing in India?  
I want to empower women and make them blossom through pole.

I want people of our country to know that pole art is close to contemporary. There are many styles like static pole, chair tease, lap dancing, burlesque, cabaret and more. I want to educate what real Pole Dancing is all about and make strong educated polestars in India. I want to be known as the mother of pole revolution in India, I want to empower women through pole tricks and allow them to challenge themselves.

I feel so happy and elated to see that the young cheerful Smilley who I had met over one-and-a-half-decade ago has now bloomed and blossomed into a confident and self assured woman, who has learnt to not just speak her mind with boldness and courage but even to dance with equal Gusto. You indeed are a Polestar my darling, God bless.

Sandip Soparrkar is a well known Latin and Ballroom dancer, a World Book of Records holder and a Bollywood choreographer who has been honoured with National Achievement Award and National Excellence Award by the Govt of India. He can be contacted on sandipsoparrkar06@gmail.com

Tags: shiamak davar, smilly suri, pole dance