When Something Fails, Always Think About What Went Wrong - Angela Choudhary

Don’t be scared to fail! There will be setbacks, but don’t let them discourage you. You will learn a lot more from setbacks than you will from success. Evaluating and learning from failure is its own form of success. 

1. Tell us more about your background and journey.

I was 6 years old when I first started performing on stage in my school’s weekly morning assemblies. My peers and teachers knew how much I loved to dance and would invite me to perform new classical, Bollywood, and folk dances every week. 
Although I didn’t have any formal training at this point, I used to watch my favorite Bollywood songs on TV and try to copy them to create my dances. 

My favorite actress to watch and copy was Madhuri Dixit. Being a die-hard fan, I wanted to dance exactly like her and so when I read that she is trained in Kathak, I insisted my parents to enroll me in Kathak classes. At the age of 14, they finally granted my wish and I began my training under Smt. Guru Prachi Dixit in the Jaipur Gharana. 

In high school, I joined the Mira Costa Dance Company where I was exposed to Western styles such as Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, and Ballet. In my senior year of high school, I got a chance to lead this team as Captain and learned a different angle of being a dancer. One that taught me organization, discipline, and structure in a team setting.

As high school came to an end, I had to take some time off my Kathak training to focus on my college education. In college, I joined USC’s premier Bollywood dance team called Zeher where I got a chance to travel and compete across the United States. 

During this time, I came to realize that there was a drastic difference in the Bollywood that I had learned through Hindi songs in India and the Bollywood that was being taught and performed in the United States. In my final year of college, I decided to start my own Bollywood dance company called Garv with the mission to spread authentic Bollywood across the globe. 

With Garv, we performed in a competition in North Carolina where we were called the "Crowd Favorite" of the night. We went on to produce high quality music videos for our online audience and taught several sold out international workshops in India and the USA.

After leading Garv for 1.5 years, my co-founder and I recognized that our career paths would benefit from taking different routes and so we decided to disband Garv. I am now working as an independent Dancer, Choreographer, and Director and plan to shift to Mumbai soon to pursue my creative career in the heart of Bollywood!

2. When did you first decide you wanted to pursue dancing and how did you start?

During the course of my Kathak training, I was fascinated to see so many professional Kathak artists who used to travel around the world doing shows. I got the opportunity to work on behind the scenes of some of those grand productions and fell in love with the idea of creating from scratch. 

That is my favorite part about being an artist. You get to imagine a concept in your head and make it come to reality from start to finish! I decided that at "some point" in my life, I will start a dance company and produce grand theatrical shows. 

Towards the end of college, I started debating - when will that "some point" come? What am I waiting for? I realized that I am not getting any younger and I didn’t want to look back later in my life and think that I didn’t give it my full shot when I had the chance. So finally, I decided to take the scary step of going all in and becoming a full time dancer!

3. Who is your favorite dancer and why?

Favorite dancer currently has to be Nora Fatehi! What she is doing with her career is truly so commendable and brave. She came from a non-Bollywood background and has become a sensation in the industry now. She is also probably one of the first dancers who is standing up for other dancers and paving the way for them. 

She is actively working towards getting dancers the respect and credit they deserve. And how we forget her Mind-Blowing dancing!! This woman taught herself how to dance like that. That requires some next level talent. I love her!

4. Can you throw some light on opportunities one gets as a dancer?

A dancer’s career can go in many different directions based on your preferences. Some people choose to become teachers and teach workshops or start academies. Some become choreographers and choreograph for music videos, reality shows, or events. Some choose to dance in movies, songs, or stage shows.

5. Is formal training required or can one train themselves purely on the basis of talent?

Although not required, I definitely think that formal training can only help you, never hurt you. I believe you are naturally born with some aspects of being a dancer and training can enhance those qualities. Training helps you understand the technicalities of being a dancer and makes you more disciplined.

6. What piece of advice would you like to give to future and aspiring artists?

Don’t be scared to fail! There will be setbacks, but don’t let them discourage you. You will learn a lot more from setbacks than you will from success. Evaluating and learning from failure is its own form of success.

When something fails, always think about what went wrong and what you will change next time to do it better. Creating a habit of this mindset will ensure consistent growth and improvement. You will keep getting better and better and better at your art!

7. Which is your favorite book and why?

My favorite book is “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson! I have never been much of a reader and only read books that were assigned in school, but this is one book that I voluntarily picked up to read on my own.

The biggest learning lesson from this book is the importance of focusing on the bigger picture. We often get so caught up and worried about little things that don’t matter in the long run. This book has helped me develop a more positive and practical mindset and I’d highly recommend it to everyone!

- Angela Choudhary
Instgram - @iamachoudhary

- Interview by - Chamanth Krishna

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