I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, but grew up in the city of Lisbon, Portugal. My family is Portuguese therefore my heritage is influenced by African and Portuguese culture. My exploration in dance began at a young age through my family. Being brought up in surroundings where music, song and dance were part of our daily lives, and in a city where all cultures from around the world where emerging, inevitably I grew to be an extreme seeker of world cultures but especially in the arts of dance. Within dance, I would find myself completely.
After completing my degree in Marketing, I traveled to India in search of the sacred. I arrived in Goa and after a sunset meditation on the beach, I received a clear message that I was here to be reborn as a dancer. During my travel to Rishikesh, I found a teacher who introduced me to Odissi, Classical Indian Dance. One month’s intensive training later and I was totally obsessed by this new way of relating with dance. It had never occurred to me that I could dance my prayers. And that’s why Odissi Dance became a strong path in my life until today. It’s now been a profound 7-year journey with this dance.
inevitably I grew to be an extreme seeker of world cultures
As a seeker, the journey continued all the way to America, to my favourite city on this planet: San Francisco. Very similar to the city of Lisbon but on a larger scale, I instantly felt like it was home and the excitement grew stronger because there was so much more to explore. I was introduced to many innovative artists and began exploring contemporary dance forms like Tribal Fusion Belly dance and Persian / Sufi Dance.
After a few years traveling, the need to have a home base grew stronger. India was top of my list. I received an invitation to affiliate with an event company based in Goa and create a new company that would promote international artists in India. After six months of negotiations, Nakshatra Productions was born and I finally found my home in India.
I have been working professionally as a dance artist in India for the past two years. My dance is a reflection of my in-depth study in the sacred arts and cultures from the east. Currently, I’m teaching dance in a couple of studios in Goa and working on choreographic pieces and collaborations with artists.
Besides my dance career, I’m directing and managing Nakshatra Productions. Here I create events – either shows, workshops and retreats promoting international artists – and manage artists for events around India.
Recently, I started a new creative project called Azadeh – a Persian/Urdu word that translates to “Women’s freedom”. Passionate about tribal adornments from India and its mystic arts, I found the need to collect and market these precious items that I have access to from all my years of travel. For now, all my sales are done online or by personal appointment but, soon I will open a shop in Goa.
What has been your biggest challenge to achieving your success?
There are always so many challenges on the path of success. I cannot name the biggest one but can for sure say that, believing in oneself is a constant culturing. Without that, you won’t go anywhere.
My dance is a reflection of my in-depth study in the sacred arts and cultures
What has been my greatest achievement personally?
Studying dance and music with the greatest masters on this planet. Living and working in India.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I completely and clearly made the choice to do what I am doing now. But, if I chose not to be a dancer, I would probably be working at a new technology development company based in San Francisco.
What has been your biggest inspiration?
There are so many things that inspire me that it’s very hard to say just one! There are a few amazing dance masters that inspire me everyday: Miriam Peretz, Sharokh Moshkin Ghalam and Colleena Shakti. Their devotion and innovation in dance is ecstatic and the way they carry their art in life is a great example of strength and fearlessness.
Besides that, my school in the education in the nature of mind: Balanced View. We have a centre in Goa and online media available for everyone. This training is my constant reality check. I cannot see myself living with out this support and it’s community.
What does the future hold for you?
All I know is that I must make the best of the present moment and know within where I want to go and allow the Universe to unfold my prayer.
This article was provided by WeAreTheCity Mumbai committee member, Abhishek Chandola.