Ex-pilot turned dance instructor, Michelle Sharma advocates gymnastics to give you an edge at any form of dance
Starting November 1, Danzza Institute of Modern Dance in Alwarpet will starts gymnastics classes, and co-founder Michelle Sharma is excited. “Gymnastics is a fundamental that can help you with any form of dance,” she insists, adding that Danzza is roping in a certified instructor to teach students on weekends. “The class is for four to 12 year olds and will start with basics like forward rolls and progress slowly,” says Sharma, an instructor herself, who hails from Malta. “Gymnastics is a basic for any form of sports too. It focuses on strength building, flexibility, concentration, balance and a lot more,” adds the former pilot, who settled in India after marrying a pilot, Sidharth Sharma, who she met in America.
Together with Hari Krishnan and Vikram Naidu, the other founders and instructors at Danzza (Krishnan choreographs for Tamil movies, while Naidu is an aspiring director), Sharma is on a mission to get parents to understand western dance forms. “We have around 60 students learning tap dance, jazz and ballet. But beyond a point, the parents don’t encourage them to take it further because they don’t have a proper understanding of western dance,” she says, explaining that’s why Danzza insists that parents join their children in the class once in three months. The younger children (think four year olds) show a keen interest in ballet and jazz. “Contemporary is also becoming really popular,” says Sharma, adding that Danzza encourages its students to try cross styles.
The dance school, that recently celebrated its first anniversary, is a member of The Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dancing (CSTD), Australia, and allows its students to take up the examinations of the CSTD. And besides preparing for their second set of exams coming up this month, Sharma’s students are also working on their Christmas show. “Next year, we want to have our first show outside the academy,” says Sharma, adding that Danzza is also trying to start a programme that will also allow underprivileged children to learn dance. Details: 24997432
Gymnastics classes are also conducted at:
● Spin Dance Studio: Balaji Badrinarayanan, takes classes for different age groups twice a week. Students level up based on their performance in exams conducted once in six months. Rs 1,500 a month. Details: 9790790714
● The Swingers: Simon, the secretary of the Chennai Gymnastics Association, takes classes for ages five to 20, on Saturday and Sunday. Rs 1,000 a month. Details: 9884799673
● Raack: Basic gymnastics classes on Saturday and Sunday for ages seven onwards. Details: 26473470