A Kathak Visharad, first Indian cheerleader for an IPL Team, 12 years of experience as a dance instructor at Shiamak Davar Dance Company, and now an assistant choreographer in Bollywood. Ananya Bera, a person born to dance (later, you’ll come to know why) with a magical yet glorifying journey. A Bengali from Kolkata who started dancing as a hobby at the mere age of 4, now makes celebrities match her moves.
How did a girl from Kolkata became an assistant choreographer in Mumbai? Please tell us about your journey so far.
Being born in a Bengali family, like all the other kids, I was expected to explore my creative side. In a very early stage of life, I realised dancing is my thing and joined kathak classes at the age of 4. Since I was exploring and Kathak was a little boring for a kid, hence to learn western dance, I started taking Shiamak Davar’s dance classes. The turning point of my life came when I was in 10th standard and got a call to audition for a show in Kolkata, the IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders was looking for an Indian cheerleader.
The jury included elite Bollywood celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Deepika Padukone, and many other known faces. After winning the show and cheerleading for them in South Africa, I did not look back! I immediately got a 7-years contract as a dance instructor in Shiamak Davar’s Dance Company that I recently left after 12 years. It was a turning point of my life for sure, I have travelled the world with them and I still can’t believe how this time flew. Along with dance I started doing photoshoots for the Academy since Shiamak sir thought I have a very photogenic face and many other shoots for different projects. Now that I have left the academy, I am pursuing modelling and Instagram influencing full time. My parents have always been super supportive of my decisions even when I thought of choosing dance as a career. They never discouraged me and I will be forever grateful for this.
What do you like to do when you are not dancing?
I have a very hectic schedule hence find it difficult to maintain a work-life balance, however, whenever I do, I like to work out either at gym or do yoga at home. I have recently realized our body is the most valuable asset that we have, therefore, we should take care of it at any cost. After that if I still find time for myself, I like to party with my friends and family.
What was the biggest challenge you have faced as a dancer in your career?
There were two challenges in my life, both equally difficult to overcome. The first one was related to my language; my Hindi was not that fluent that changed with time. Second one was making people understand that I am classical dancer but that does not limit me in any way. Classical dances like Kathak can be a base for every dance form just like ballet. It took a little time to change this mentality but I succeeded eventually.
We all know dancing continuously throughout your day needs a lot of energy, what does your everyday diet consists of? Being a model too do you have diet restrictions?
We Bengalis just can’t live without rice and fish and I am no different, I love both of them along with junk food, because let’s face it who doesn’t? So, I have never restricted myself to any kind of diet because as a dance instructor, I used to dance 12-14 hours a day and for that my body needed a lot of carbs and nutrients, it still does. I used to eat home-cooked food but that wasn’t enough as my metabolism is naturally good. The only thing I made sure about was portion control. Eating everything in small portions has always been the only factor I considered when it came to diet restrictions.
However, ever since I have started doing yoga and working out, I try to avoid junk food as much as possible. I opt for hand full of nuts for snacking instead.
How has dance inspired you?
I want to tell a small childhood memory that you might find funny. I was napping one afternoon when my mom had to drop my brother to his cricket academy. Assuming I will be sleeping she locked the house and went to drop him. I woke up early that day and started panicking and crying as I was alone in the house for the very first time in my life. Few minutes later I turned on the tv and some song starring Madhuri Dixit was playing. My mind got so engaged in it that I forgot about everything and started dancing till my mother unlocked the door. Dance has always been my escape from the world.
Even when I left the academy, the first person to call me after hearing the news was Shiamak sir himself, he did not stop me because he knew my life has much more offer. I still remember his words “Ananya you have been running with us for so long, now its time you fly alone”, these words still give me goosebumps.
What do you usually prefer to wear while practicing and how was your experience wear Skyria Activewear?
I have been dancing throughout my life and this has made me a sucker for loose fitted clothes and activewear. If I have hundred outfits in my wardrobe, only 10% of it must be normal outing clothes, rest of them are tights, leggings, trackpants, joggers, sports bras, and other activewear. I wear them all day every day!
It was love at first sight when I saw one of my colleagues wearing Skyria activewear, the design of that particular style looked so sexy that I immediately wanted it for myself. When I tried the set, it felt like the fit was customized for me. I usually carry jackets over sports bras but the coverage of the Mia Sports Bra was so flawless that I felt like flaunting it without a jacket. I wore it for my dance practice the next day and then to the gym later, you can imagine the sweating in the humid weather of Mumbai. To my astonishment, the fabric was so good that it kept the sweat away from my body which made it so convenient to wear it all day long! It felt extremely soft on my skin which made me fall in love with it all over. Skyria has definitely become my go-to activewear brand.