Mistri cracks Bollywood mystery in Spain
Enchanted with Bollywood dance and inspired by actress Madhuri and Helen, she moved to Spain in 2005 to test whether the virgin market of this European country had any taste for the typically Indian genre of dance.
Seven years later this Briton of Indian-origin has found a steady flow of students willing to dabble in the fusion art of Bollywood dance.
Meet Sneha Mistri, who has taken it upon herself to import the magic of Bollywood dance and music to Spain. Given that Bollywood is relatively new to Spain, this
dancer-choreographer says she did not find it too difficult to introduce the genre among the Spaniards.
Having moved to Spain permanently, Mistri started teaching dance in schools across Madrid and other cities there and says she got overwhelming response and Bollywood started making waves across Spain.
"When I arrived in Sapin seven years ago there was very little Bollywood. I started teaching in various schools and saw there was an opportunity and a market for this form of dance. Those who initially approached me were students of belly dance but now I am seeing people from all background of dance.
When Slumdog Millionaire came out, although we knew it was not a typical Bollywood movie, it opened the eyes of the general pubic and Bollywood became a big boom in Spain,"
Mistri told PTI from Madrid her present home. There is a massive interest in the Indian culture, the clothes, the food... and of course the dance.
There wasn't difficulties, it was a growth bit by bit over the years. I find the people here to be very open and interested in what I had to offer as a dancer and choreographer," says the avid fan of Madhuri Dixit.
Asked about her choice of Bollywood dance, Mistri also a trained Bharatnatyam danseuse says, "As Bollywood dance is a fusion, I can basically do what ever inspires me. If I am in
the mood for a classical choreography I can do that or can churn out a funky number.
So I am constantly creating and learning. That's in itself inspires me. I try and see as much dance as possible to allow me to learn more 'vocabulary' to use for new pieces. So, basically Bollywood is perfect because it has everything!" Now, Mistri says she wants to try her luck in the Mumbai film world and wishes to bring her dance troop to India.
"I always wanted to choreograph for Bollywood movies. One day you never know... I would also love to bring my dance troop to India if I could get funding and a promoter," says
Mistri, whose parents had migrated to Britain from Gujarat. Asked about her favourite Bollywood danseuse, she says, "I love the expression and beauty of Madhuri.
There are so many amazing dancers and artists in Bollywood. You can't ignore
Aishwarya Rai, Hema Malini even Helen from the old days. Just captivating all of them."
"I always like and prefer dance numbers that are not treating woman like objects or meat unfortunately a lot of item numbers these days are like that but some artists always
rise above it with an amazing grace and dignity." On her Indian root, Mistri says she found the country as "fascinating and warming".
"India is a country with so many religions and sub-cultures, people do live side by side with each other. I find that fascinating and warming.
Being bought up in an India culture has definitely formed a lot of who I am, my morals,
beliefs etc," says Birmingham-born Mistri.
Mistri is currently working on a new dance production titled 'Bollywood - The Cabaret' to be premiered in Madrid in September. "'Bollywood - The Cabaret' is a story of a dance company on tour.
It's a fun show with so many different styles of dances fused with a great drama storyline. I wanted to do something totally different and original with a more modern storyline and nothing too typical, I am sure the public will enjoy it," says Mistri, who studied dance at Middlesex
University in London.
She has also produced and was the artistic director of the dance show 'Suenos de Bollywood' (Bollywood Dreams) and toured Spain since 2007. PTI