Paayal Desai dances to her own beat


Brooke Wasson, features editor

Carlsbad High is home of many dancers ranging from many styles such as jazz, ballet, hip hop and tap. Sophomore Paayal Desai, however, practices a genre of dance that is very different from the rest. Desai has been perfecting Bollywood dancing for the past eight years at NDM Bollywood Dance Studio. Even though this style of dance isn’t very popular among students at Carlsbad High, Desai has grown a strong passion for it.

Desai’s parents were the ones who initially thought their daughter would be a natural at dancing, so they decided to start her at a relatively young age.

“I have always had a passion for dancing,” Desai said. “When I was a little girl I would always dance in front of my parents, so my mom thought ‘Why not put her in a Bollywood class?’ As soon as I started taking the classes I really liked it, and through the years I just continued to practice.”

Even though the Bollywood dance style isn’t as common as other dance styles, it has many aspects of traditional dance.

“Bollywood is an Indian based dance style, but it isn’t just Indian based,” Desai said. “The style is really an infusion of jazz, hip hop and even contemporary at times. We definitely have technique behind our movements, so it requires a lot of practice. The dance style is so upbeat and so energetic, to do it you have to be athletic and you have to know your stuff.”

Dancing is considered a visual art, so when she dances on stage or in practice, Desai is able to experience both athleticism and emotion.

“I have kept dancing because I just really enjoy the over all feeling I get when I perform,” Desai said. “I love being able to express my feelings with the high energy and all the different facials. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else because I have grown so accustom to it. Also my dance teacher is super supportive of me, so having his positive feedback makes me feel confident when I dance.”

Desai continues to practice because of the strong bond she shares with her dance teacher. It is because of his positive attitude she wants to continue dancing through high school.

“My biggest inspiration is my dance teacher,” Desai said. “Since no one in my family has ever done this dance style I really look up to him and his accomplishments. Also, he is the choreographer for ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ whenever they have a Bollywood number on the show, so that just pushes me to work hard whenever I take class from him.”