You know what I love about the dance world? Well, besides the dance, of course. It’s the people. It’s the joy of meeting such amazingly different people, who all share that one burning passion.
Mrigakshi Jaiswal is one such amazing person. She and I sort of knew each other long before we both became professional dancers, having gone to the same high school (shout out to Naval Public School!). But it wasn’t until much later that we really became friends (and she totally topped my list of girl crushes!). Specifically, when I signed up for a Jazz Funk class with Split Sole Dance Academy, and recognised my instructor!
This gorgeous lady is a force to be reckoned with on the dance floor. Dancing since she was 2 years old, Mrigakshi is trained in jazz, ballet and hip-hop, making her ridiculously fluid and versatile. Don’t believe me? Head on over to her Instagram and prepare to have your jaw hit the floor.
Her signature style, however, is what she labels Street Stilettos. And yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like — Hip-hop in heels! Excuse me while I wrap my toes in band-aids and hide in a corner.
Jokes apart though, it is admittedly one of the most graceful yet bada$$ dance styles I’ve witnessed. Because seriously, pulling those moves in stilettos? I’m pretty sure that qualifies as a superpower! And Mriga (as she is affectionately known) makes it look absolutely effortless. Watch her glide like a goddess to Beyonce’s ‘Standing on the Sun’.
A common misconception that comes with the idea of dancing in heels, is that it’s only for women. But the truth is, Mrigakshi’s class sees several men ready to strut their stuff in stilettos. And as she puts it, “People have found a way to express their sensuality and confidence through heels.” Men are also increasingly realising that dancing in heels in no way makes them effeminate. Quite the contrary, it takes immense leg and core strength to pull off some of those moves. (That’s right, everyone who thinks women are the weaker sex — try walking in heels for an hour!)
In fact, take a look at these guys totally slaying her Heels choreography to Sia’s ‘Cheap Thrills’!
I KNOW, RIGHT!
Anyway, to sign off, I asked Mriga a few quirky questions (because I think rapid fire rounds are like the Rorschach test of our generation). Here’s how it went!
The Dance Floor: Mumbai or Manhattan?
TDF: One thing that most people don’t know about you.
Mriga: That I grew up in Delhi. (I admit, TDF did not know that about her!)
TDF: Pointy toes or Peep-toes?
TDF: Pasta or pani puri?
Mriga: Pani puri.
TDF: If you weren’t a dancer (heaven forbid!), you would be…?
Mriga: A food critic.
TDF: Is there any dancer you hope to dance alongside someday? Or any such idol whom you’ve been lucky enough to dance with?
Mriga: I always wanted to attend a Brian Friedman session, which I was lucky enough to do.
TDF: And lastly, there’s so many new dance studios and forms emerging in India lately. But you & I both know that pursuing a career in dance isn’t exactly easy in this country. What do you think people can do to help change this?
Mriga: I think we need to encourage children & youngsters if they show an interest in the performing arts, and support it. The mindset of looking down upon artists, or not giving them as much respect as compared to a conventional corporate job, needs to change. People need to realise the sacrifices, hours of training, money, etc. an individual puts into pursue a career in performing arts.
Gotta love her!
Mrigakshi Jaiswal is based out of Mumbai, India and conducts regular Heels classes at Big Dance, Andheri every Tuesday & Thursday from 8pm – 9pm. Go try out a class now, and unleash that inner Beyoncé!