“It is a blessing for a student to find the right teacher but it’s an even greater blessing for a teacher to find the right student” – Nikita
I joined the DNC when I was five years old with no prior experience of learning classical dance. I had done Bollywood classes before that, however they were in no way similar, to how I was going to learn with Nikita. With Nikita I not only became a dancer; I became a performer. As I was learning from her, we all performed in the annual summer showcase. In this showcase, we all have a wonderful opportunity to show off all that we have learned throughout the year. The performances allow us to all come together, and it is because of the wonderful memories that are created there, that makes the performances so special. Nikita organised many different workshops for us. We did a workshop with a Tabla player and we were taught by the Late Pandit Birju Maharaj ji. She also is the reason why I won a scholarship to be part of an Advanced Training programme, in Birmingham which is a very rare opportunity.
Nikita is very dedicated to her craft; it is hard to find a teacher who is as dedicated. We go to her lessons wanting to learn new things about dance, but we come home with all that knowledge about dance and also about mindfulness, yoga and other interesting things that we never thought that we would have learned. She could simply just teach us dance moves, but she teaches us so much more than that. She goes above and beyond to make sure that we understand what we are learning. I remember before the coronavirus pandemic started, Nikita would sit us all down by the whiteboard and have a thorough conversation with us about an interesting dance-related topic. For example, Using expressions and their impact or a story behind a dance we are learning. I think that Nikita has created a great company in which we are all very close. I feel extremely lucky that I learn from such an amazing teacher and learn in such a safe and protected environment where I can say what I think without being judged. I am extremely grateful and fortunate to learn at the DNC. Nikita isn`t just my teacher anymore, she is a mentor. Maahi Dodhia (aged 14)
Click here to watch a video of Maahi dancing
I started going to DNC at the very young age of 5 years old. I have successfully completed Grades 1 to 5. The studio that we dance in is such a caring environment, with incredible people. I’ve enjoyed every single lesson I have had there, and attending these classes has led to many opportunities such as performing at packed venues. I am very grateful for being part of this fantastic organisation. Everyone in DNC is so kind and down to Earth and I have met friends that I have shared memories with, which I’ll always remember. We all celebrate each other’s successes, and we help one another when we are unsure of something. Sometimes we can teach younger students new things, and there’s always something to learn from the older students too. Dancing with fellow students is great, but when those students are your closest friends, the whole dance feels completely different. You gain loads of confidence when you’re amongst your friends. They are like sisters to me.
My teachers have always been there for me, and I really do appreciate them. They always help us, and let us speak up when we don’t understand something. They’re really kind, but whenever we make mistakes they give us constructive feedback which helps. They give us so much love and support, and their guidance is so useful. Everyone at DNC really feel like family. My Guru is Nikita Thakrar and her Guru is Shila Mehta. She teaches us very well and is passionate about her vocation. At times, she can be a perfectionist because she likes to makes sure that every dance is very accurate. She pays attention to the correct position of the body and the expression we use to show the mood of the dance. I love my Guru so much because she is very kind to us and understanding if we make mistakes. Furthermore, her dancing skills are absolutely flawless. I have never asked her a question she is unable to answer. Nikita’s performances are truly beautiful, she is very humble about all her successes and inspires all of her students. She is my idol. Anya Dhillon (aged 15)
Click here to watch a video of Anya dancing