Our Story – How, when…. Grace And Grooves Started. And Why us ?

Any kind of Indian Dance, be it Bharatnatyam, Folk Dances of India or Bollywood was NEVER mainstream career in India and neither in Ms. Hetal Joshi’s family.  Right after 1999 when Hetal Joshi Nagaraj(Founding member) stepped in freelance private group choreography for Folk Dances of India (competitions), there was no looking back indeed. But these competitions demand creativity, dramatic appearances & intricate choreography thereby following the rules of your chosen dance form. This means that it involves hours of training even before the actual choreography work starts. You can only imagine the work required for competitions if you were to do it as a mainstream career with your own mainstream studies. So, it was once or max twice a year exclusive work for competitions only.

So, was this the reason that company was established? Nope.

Way of life made a way of life when her 3.5-year old-daughter started dancing (not moving) to Krishna Bhajans at Hare Krishna Temple of Dallas, Texas (ISKON of Dallas, Texas-USA). The crowd turned heads when she “danced” and people asked if she took lessons and when she started dancing. Her daughter happened to pick these folk dance steps while Ms. Joshi was teaching a competition group. She then started teaching her daughter just as any (trained teacher or)mother would do with proper training. But, she felt that her daughter needed more structured program of folk dances, if there was anybody doing it as mainstream. After trying a dance school/academy (for 2-3 years w/group & private in Plano & Irving) that claimed to teach authentic, creative or curriculum based Folk Dances of India, Ms. Joshi just couldn’t find ANY other in entire Dallas Fort-worth areas. You-Tube videos as Guru, copied resumes of other trained dancers & even copied choreography (Bollywood mostly)-of unpublished works of other artists seemed like a practice to this so called folk-proclaimed gifted artist. All of this @ the cost of parents and students’ who are ignorant to Folk Dances of India and would consider Bollywood or even community folk as actual folk dances! What ? The artist would then get their way out of all the blames by just doing govt. services-shocking and above all – shameful! Indeed an exhilarating & fraud experience from a senior artist it was! Not as expected when we joined folk program! A simple fact—you can’t call yourself a doctor coz you know dosage & medicine names or you saw a surgery on you-tube and thus open a clinic @ home! Can you? We wished ;).  For an untrained eye will identify community dances as pure or modern folk, the so-called—“Hey, I know Folk Dance-pride” just crashes before the trained eyes that look for basic folk-requirementsMore than 99% of videos on You-tube are entertainment videos in the name of folk & don’t reflect the right elements of folk! Content 6 History

So, with training, in-depth knowledge, and competition experiences in competition that we already had (Ms. Hetal Joshi), we opened our doors to teaching authentic, certified folk dances of India to outside students and public altogether. Grace and Grooves, name itself was a recommendation from the audience where prominent dance teachers participated and only Ms. Joshi’s advance dancers did not have name when asked. Grace and Grooves it was then in 2012 when the company was finally registered in Dallas-Fortworth (DFW) as LLC with the State of Texas, USA. Since then, Grace and Grooves is focused on providing structured programs for Folk Dances of India, Bharatnatyam and Bollywood. Certified programs are available if you want to make it a part of your life just as it is ours for generations! These programs receive continuous mentorship from lead dancers, junior & senior artists in India who do it as mainstream career either as gifted dancers (Bollywood) or as trained dancers (All genres). A consistent passion to compete in Pure and Modern Folk Dances of India to NOW a full-time certified business offering Bharatnatyam, Bollywood and Folk Dances of India. This is something like “the forgotten-once upon a time vision” in performing arts that actually came true! In 2016, Grace and Grooves was accredited by BBB(Better Business Bureau) so that you learn from the right people, just the way it is, in the right way & yet be just as creative enough, wherever required! After all, we want to introduce our kids-India’s beautiful culture, so that they don’t forget their roots and most importantly love to embrace it. The Right Folk Dances of India–Not the You-Tube videos!.

So Why Grace & Grooves ?

All of above….PLUS How you want your child’s talent to be judged. Based on govt. service that a dance teacher does, their partnered businesses, and copied unpublished works of other artists ?

OR 

You want your child’s dance talent to be judged based on their own ability/talent because of training & by right people ?

Choice is YOURS!

Make your $ worth of where you spend! Common sense, culture knowledge is taught FREE with all our trainings just like the way we learned from our institutes and yet look beyond possibilities, wherever/whenever required!

God’s grace, this definitely answers as to why your child should enroll with Grace And Grooves.

Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2016. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

 

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching OR Dance Like Everybody’s Watching? 

“You’ve got to dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth.” — William W. Purkey.

But it had me thinking. May BE dance like everyone is watching would perfectly suit us! Aha, we have loved when we turned your heads with respect to our elite choreography works by advance dances but this could go wrong too.Reminded me of a competition in 2015.

Round 1 : We danced and had more than 1000 video views in just couple days. Got their wows and had their eyebrows up for what a trained 9 year old can do when she competed with one of the Pure Folk Dance of India – Rajasthani Ghoomar(Ghumar/Ghummar).

This competition included some of the premier dance businesses in Dallas-Fortworth areas that claim to teach folk dances of India for years and several freelance choreographers in Dallas Fortworth(Texas).
Judges : Judges of this dance competition were local dance teachers who did not have a clue in Folk Dances of India while rubrics was made by one of their partnering folk-dance company.

The form was very much shown to them with the details announced as well. It was NOT FUSION or Bollywood that was announced! No mistakes were made not because of perfection was a factor but because that is how trained form is! Ouchy! These ego(s) were hurt when pure trained form was shown to people who were just shown until now all the you-tube inspired dances in name of folk dances and most of which do not have techniques or do not even represent culture at all. A fine-line was ruled then based on who teaches what! All went well and until Round 2.

Round 2: It was round 2, when the politics started and organizer entertained it.

Take-1 : Our student as if tripped & something was stuck in her feet. She cried and stopped. So we requested several times that please allow a re-take, as we didn’t quite notice as to what might have gone wrong when the same dance and costume was worn by student several times in several competitions prior to this competition. 2014 Wins Pictures. We didn’t understand what had happened until take-2 when the whole thing surfaced up!

During the performance, the organizer tells us that we are pushing our students to compete (What? is he dreaming in day-time ? He cannot see what happened? If that was the case why did you take our entries and wasted all this time!).

Take -2 : The whole bottom lace came off half way and student fell. The cameraman and organizer did not think of even assuring the child of being okay instead called on next performer and denied third-try arguing about us pushing child and what not in front of child. Ms. Joshi ran to Walgreens and got the safety pin boxes or stitching kit to see if something temporary can be done if in case things work out. We got the entire costume skirt fixed with 100s of safety pins there itself.

Several requests were made and just one of the team members/organizers allowed re-take 3 provided we get it done before all participants videos are over. We were able to get it done. so take-3 happened.

Take-3 : Went 100% successful and just the way it should be, and the way performer was trained. No mistakes were made, and it was actual work that had won several awards/prizes in competitions in past.

Issues : It was shocking for us that they allowed re-takes for other dancers for simple-costume changes without being protocol of competition (as conveyed to us) and yet did not make a fuss about it but he had problems with us doing re-take..based on what ? valid reasons ? The organizer was under the influence of other dance school as whole thing was a set-up.

If they couldn’t stop us there, read yourself what happened :

  • Public voting –
    • our parent’s email accounts on competition website were frozen.
    • our videos were not allowed to be voted. In spite of repeated requests to the organizers and phone calls where we were told the system will be up shortly. Some parents even gave their email account passwords to Ms. Joshi to see if she could login to their account but that didn’t work either.
    • If system was a problem, how come others were allowed to vote on their videos and write comments too?
    • Includes our own users who were able to vote for other friends’ videos and informed us that they couldn’t vote to our videos until last 2 hours…how do you explain that?
    • When told about an issue and information that our parents know that it is happening, the organizer told us as to what happened to Kruti Dance Academy in America’s Got Talent. We will get you a wild card, what is the big deal. My friend, you are not even there where you can issue wild card to us, not after all this dirty politics.
  • It didn’t end there. Later when we checked about selection process for third round, we were told expressions were a problem and blaming it on accident that happened.
    • The organizers were informed on stage itself that she is doing Advance Rajasthani Ghoomar(Ghumar/Ghummar)and so expressions are NOT a factor as for this folk, the face is covered half way to nose and in some variations all the way to neck!
    • Obviously stage being too small even for a solo-artist (-unsafe), covering a child’s face isn’t practical thing to do. But does that change the way, a dance is taught? NO. Common Sense.
    • She did what she was taught and what we learned.(Bio of Ms. Hetal Joshi-Blog, In Making). 
  • We then checked expression of those who got in for non-classical categories as that is what ours was–none of participants had it on their face and were just blank open eyes, then how is it they got in? Interesting-right? 

It was a public competition. These students are budding artist and they are very precious to us because they work hard all year round to learn something authentic, take certified trainings in it.

  • Even when we walked out, the competition organizers couldn’t stop another 1000 views in second round with beautiful comments from other dance company owners, how could they;later they had to shut down the comments/likes-too bad you couldn’t stop that.
  • Egos were hurt again when they realized that our performer delivered what she was trained in, just the way it was supposed to be done, all of that after accidents and with nearly a hundred safety pins in her skirt.Can your child do that without training? 

That is power of commitment and training, NOT FORCE !

If you don’t know what dance form it is and how it is to be judged then don’t allow!

However, we would like to extend our thanks to Manohar Nim during this competition for keeping things light for our performers when accidents happened and allowed us to do retakes.

  • The whole idea of the competition was as well taken from Grace And Grooves December 2014 face-book post when one of our student’s relative got prizes in pure folk dances of Gujarat after doing one of our choreographer’s lessons. If you don’t know how to implement other’s ideas, don’t do it!

Obviously, with this kind of attitude towards the students and parents from the organizers for our dance team and online politics that was never answeredwe then exited the competition because it was not worth spending time or wasting our precious students’ energy over a competitions where it was all pre-decided! It is a stupidity to argue with a fool.

It’s a fact; a quality product is always compromised for a trashy piece in the name of giftedness or best alternative is – just do service as you’ll have your kind standing up for all the wrong things you’ve do/done or continue to do at the cost of innocent kids and real people with authentic straight backgrounds.

As matter of fact, we take it as our honor that we got all our competition wins without serving anybody or doing any partnerships. We are not at your mercy to seek your competition awards with all this politics and dirty humiliation that you had put our students through/non-stop while they were doing competition screening. All of that in an open media and when other dance school parents were present. 

But, altogether this is a perfect example of Wrong Audiences with partnered businesses influenced by other businesses for their own personal benefits/politics.

So, did it matter here on whether dance like nobody is watching or dance like everyone’s watching?

N……….O……….P……….E ! 

Sometimes it’s just NOT WORTH wasting your time at some competitions.

SO, how we ruled out to exit from this competition: All of the above PLUS:

  • The very same Folk Dance of India (by Grace and Grooves) and Bollywood Fusion of Hip Hop and other styles (by Grace Creations) that competed in this local competition in Dallas-Fortworth had already won several awards in Indian Dance Competitions (with costume guidelines) in Dallas Fortworth, Texas as well as in India where judges had Masters Degree from some of the finest universities in Kathak & Bharatnatyam as their main dance forms and folk dance of India as their secondary subjects.
  • The wins were not just against Folk Dances of India that compelled us to make that decision at right time but it was our wins were against pure classical choreography by some of finest artists in Dallas-Fortworth Areas that they chose to categorize in non-classical categories. Pictures! Click Here;considering the latest! 
  • We take these artists as our inspiration and today also we follow their media pages because we love what they do. We know the originality in their work because we know the work involved for competitions.
  • Grace and Grooves with Grace Creations touches the heights of creativity where and when it is required depending on dance form, style, fusion or call it our favorite Bollywood that you may choose to join. It is ALL about what goes where and at what time.

When your child competes with Grace and Grooves | Grace Creations, we take responsibility of your child from start to finish so that it is worth turning heads of right people at right place.

Your child is not a showpiece for entertainment and is very precious to us. After all this competition experiences, we are at a point where we are able to judge the competition judges and marks given by them! 

None of the awards listed on our website are won by doing any kind of partnerships/sponsorships in competitions, or in lieu of issuing tickets or any services to any kind of agencies. For fundraising competitions as well, the sale of tickets was kept totally anonymous to organizer to get a clean win.

Please feel free to comment, we are absolutely glad that we made this decision in second round itself…It saved us further humiliation and dirty politics! We saved millions in those minutes-our time is precious just as our students. We hugged them twice after this competition for NOT participating in this competition.

This was our very first competition in our entire history that went like this. Let’s face it, when you see the coin-it has head and tail. This did not have any! Not all that glitters is gold, thus worth a buy! 

1999…. Entering Freelance Private Group Choreography. How we got into it…

1999 marked the year when our founding member Ms. Hetal Nagaraj first stepped into professional competition choreography as freelancer. It was the very first time when she taught students similar to her age, or they did not belong to her affiliated groups/school or college or let’s just say, were complete strangers. For a 20 year old, it was tough call when she was not a performer but a choreographer (Sigh). Through a friend’s friend, this all got started and today we are thankful to both of them.

Biggest challenge was that these students were avid dancers (who could move the way you want them to) but they had no idea of what they were doing. This is in-spite of being natives or participating in various community or school events as they claimed to. But, ready to work hard & first whole week just passed by getting their moves FIXED to folk requirements, which we did daily for 4 hours totaling to up-to 28 hours of training!

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After spending all that sponsored funds for the costumes and travel, you cannot afford to do mistakes. The whole week, with pure folk training & listening to audio/video of 30+ folk artist, finally we ended up in a song that was approved by competition board to use and was best fitting our decided folk & theme!

Then the real drill work of choreography had begun!

Folk Dance Competitions in India were/are technique focused (The ones we participated in) considering the important and major elements of folk dances to promote the authenticity and importance of Folk Dances. Other folk dances participated as well due to diverse cultural demographics in Gujarat. Judges either had dual degrees in performing arts, followed by PHDs or double masters in their areas. Ms. Joshi (we were) was worried as it was her very first freelance private group choreography with just some amateur free-move dancers who took training for short period of time! Getting them to NOT do mistake was biggest challenge.

If that was not enough, innovation & creativity was an essential element and to further make it look dramatic, we added the props that required balance.

Pressures…pressures & crazy pressures of around 16 dancers (14+2 setting) and it was all worth taking the pain! Cash prize of 1 Lakh Rupees & gift certificates to various malls & resorts. We did bag 20K INR (from award money as our % other than choreography fees), free tickets to cultural concerts, and gift cards to restaurants and hotels. It was a big amount back then in 1999 for a 20 year old to earn that money for just 3.5 months of work!

The satisfaction, Ms. Joshi (we) got was PRICELESS. Ms. Joshi also received additional perks from group as a thank you note for arranging costumes, jewelry & Props in last moment when board did not approve costumes and jewelry (due to folk costume guidelines) that group had initially decided. This was a kick-starter for us…Our best of all until now!

Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2017. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Bollywood Fever…. since 2015!

Bollywood Dances…. first impressions: Fun, Jazzy, Funky, Crazy, hip hop, Peppy and yes by all means entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. What else can you learn from movie dance routines? Movie, Masti(fun) and Magic(Celebrations) of Indian Cinema is addictive, yes it got us too. Grace And Grooves is in love with Bollywood Program. HELP! So what do we learn in entertainment dances (Bollywood)? Let’s try & do some math — Circus skills (optional), fashionable clothing looks good but not required, lot of expressions and just expressions ONLY because limelight of widescreen requires that you just can’t have a blank face in Bollywood—aka face-value—well most of times. While some songs do have a total blank “watssup” face 😉 totally goes by script and not even by dance steps or words—Aha! UNLIKE FOLK OR BHARATNATYAM! No Rules to follow in Bollywood (Yahoooo!) & it has rating based on clothing, language, or script used & other factors. Good thing is when you learn Bollywood Dances, there is no rating for clothes or language (Ahem!) but with Grace And Grooves, there is an assurance to learn from a BBB Certified Business! Now that’s fun to learn—isn’t it? Our program will help you learn the following:

  • Traditional (decent) movie songs that you/your child can perform at your own community events, marriages, and Mehdi nights, meet-up get together, temples, churches and such other cultural events. Bollywood folk dances (Beware don’t mix w/Pure folk dances of India or even Community/Creative Folks-no where close.).
    • Eg – Some of our graceful choreography includes songs such as Rang De by Tabu(Tabassum Fatima Hashmi), MAYE NI MAYE by Madhuri Dixit(Madhuri Dixit Nene of movie Hum Aapke Hain Kaun), or Nagada Sang of Ram Leela by Deepika Padukone or her famous Pinga or Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan of Jacqueline Fernandez and several other amateur artists or just competitions or community performances.
  • Some Bollywood modern stuff & hip-hop like works to do in social family parties or friends parties.
    • Eg – We have done: Songs of our all time favorite Shahrukh Khan in Chammak Chalo(Ra One), or Kajol’s Mere “Khwabon Maen” of Dilwale Dulahniya Le Jayenge(DDLJ as we know it), or our heart throb Hritik Roshan in Ae Mere Dil Tu Gayeja of Kaho na Pyar Hai, & several other amateur artists or just for competitions or performances.BollywoodProgramContent4

 

Our Competitive and Recreational Program will do the job of making you dance with all that is required. How gracefully & upto what level is something that you have to decide. It goes by level from Beginners to Elite Program.

We DO IT ALL.  Videos & Pictures are getting ready…will be posted soon!

Let’s not forget the song-hits by the Kapoors, Bachchans, Karan Johars, Chopras and Bhansalis movies and all the fun-pop album songs by amateur artists. Depending on program you have joined, sometimes our choreography works will match directly to that of song, and our other program where our creativity is limitless often called as Fusion. We offer Fusion programs for Bharatnatyam, Bollywood & Folk. Training will take you to the heights of creativity without bluffing around of what you just did! Easy Right ?

Pictures posted above are either past or present students of Grace and Grooves & their pictures are shared based on their exclusive photo sharing rights and approved by parents when shared/transferred to Grace And Grooves for the purpose of Grace and Grooves ONLY.

Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2016. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

 

Elite : Expensive Or Quality ?

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2014 Winners. Copyright Images Exclusive to Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations, 25$ Costume on the left of this picture & 100$ Costume(handmade-on the right).          Choreographer : Hetal Joshi Nagaraj. Picture Courtesy : The Grace Effects.

ELITE: Expensive or Quality?

 What makes a DANCE company enjoy “An Elite” status?

Looking at pictures of Grace And Grooves, one might assume the OMG factor is of an expensive costume or is it, that rich families being part of event that company gets impression with the word – Elite?

W…R…O… N…G…! It wasn’t that. Don’t get deceived by the pictures or words!

In 2014, students of Grace And Grooves (Ages 7 & 9years old) won awards against pure Indian Classical Dance by some of the finest teachers in Dallas-Fortworth areas (Indian Dance Competition). The awards were won with pure folk dances of India and participating dance teams were from all over Texas. It wasn’t the first win that Grace And Grooves got it with pure folk in the same competition. 2013 competition wins were still fresh to all who participated again in 2014. They admired pure folk dances of india done by Grace And Grooves amongst the others–one more time because it was something that reminded them of their home. Just the way it is supposed to be! Choreographers addressed the performers of Grace And Grooves as an Elite with respect to choreography. That day, it was an honor for Ms. Joshi when those choreographers gave pat on her back for her 9 year old (with $100-custom handmade costume) stealing the award with a simple pure folk dance of India-Rajasthan-Ghoomar(or Ghummar/Ghumar) & a Lavani (or Laavani)- folk dance of India-Maharashtra by her 7 year old (with a $25 costume) against pure Bharatnatyam & Kuchipudi & other folk dances of india in non-classical dance category. Can’t get that wrong with all that years of knowledge/sweat & yes, constant mentoring. There it was, the company changed their tag line from a Premier Award Winning Folk Dance Company to an Elite Award Winning Folk Dance Company. In 2015, company started offering Bollywood Dance and Fusion Dance in name of Grace Creations for non-classical category of dances and to welcome Indian Movie Dances loved and admired for its peppy beats.

For most Bollywood/Tollywood Dances, Grace Creations costumes range is anywhere from a simple Jeans/legging with a t-shirt of $5-$10 and goes up-to $100 while the Folk Dances of India has costumes with price tag that starts from $25 to $120. Bharatnatyam costumes starts from $30 with shipping & goes up-to $110.

It all depends on how far you want to go with your pocket when it comes to dance. We welcome students to get their own costumes as well.

After all, dance is all about teaching your child look & feel beautiful which often goes with other performing arts factors & BIG yes–plus the COSTUME; if it comes with an affordable price tag.

And that’s how it is supposed to be – Simply Elite or Call it graceful. It’s the same thing. To be straight, no one wants to look beautiful with a hole in pocket or buy a $60 costume that makes your precious child look like a junk!

Pictures posted above are either past or present students of Grace and Grooves & their pictures are shared based on their exclusive photo sharing rights and approved by parents when shared/transferred to Grace And Grooves for the purpose of Grace and Grooves ONLY.  

Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2016. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.