We talked to Nazir Anwar of Delhi Dance Academy about dance and fitness classes and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Nazir Anwar: By God’s grace, my family and I and everyone else in my team are staying healthy and doing very well. Life has adjusted well to this new normal where we are following necessary precautions, especially taking care of our diet and health to stay fit during these times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Delhi Dance Academy?
Nazir Anwar: I am thoroughly enjoying my new role as the Managing Partner of Delhi Dance Academy(DDA). Besides being an engineering graduate and a double MBA, I was always a dance and fitness enthusiast, and that brought me to Delhi Dance Academy in 2012 when it was under the management of my dear friends Arjun & Anant, the cofounders of DDA; I had joined the team as Corporate and Communications Manager initially and then I gradually took over other aspects of running operations for the business now serving as the Managing Partner of the firm.
Coming from a corporate background with international work experience, I understand the values of professionalism and great services in our industry, and I make sure my students and clients are happier and fitter attending our dance and fitness classes. This key ideology really helped us push DDA to greater heights.
How does Delhi Dance Academy innovate?
Nazir Anwar: Delhi Dance Academy was founded with a vision of providing quality dance education with high-class professional infrastructure at affordable prices in Delhi. Today, Delhi Dance Academy is one of the better-known names for high-quality dance education. We have been featured on various national and international TV channels/newspapers/international media such as BBC, CNN, The Guardian, and World Travel Guide as the best in our field. DDA has also been awarded “The Best Dance Academy in Delhi,” the “Certificate of Excellence” and the Traveller’s Choice Award 2020.
We believe that dance is not only meant for those who make it to the professional stage, but the scope of dance is much more in the lives of every individual; everyone loves to dance, and that’s why our clientele base not only includes dancers who want to take up dancing as a career but it varies from a four-year-old kid who is getting introduced to the dance world as a creative activity, to anyone who wants to include dance as a form of fitness or physical activity in their daily routine or just wants to pursue it as a hobby or for that matter, for gaining recognition in a social community.
Our team includes professional dancers with years of experience and actual educators and teachers who use such training techniques that can be easily absorbed by learners and later reciprocated by each and every student, irrespective of their music or dance background. Whether they are a complete beginner or a trained dancer, we want to contribute our bit so that dance can move from extracurricular activity to mainstream curriculum, at least in the Indian education system.
Delhi Dance Academy is the preferred destination for foreigners/international students visiting India. Delhi Dance Academy’s 2-hour “in-costume” dance session on Bollywood, Bhangra, and Garbha/Dandiya is called “Namaste India Dance Workshop” and has been made popular by various travel websites. The Namaste India Workshop has been rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.com and now stands as the #1 Fun Activity in Delhi. Please check reviews about the workshop on our Tripadvisor page here
Other services offered by us include conducting fitness and dance classes at various organizations in and around Delhi. Our corporate classes have received excellent reviews from our corporate clients. Our dance troupe has performed at various events around the country and is reputed for being professional and coordinated. With many hundreds of families serviced for a wedding dance, our wedding choreography division is a one-stop-destination starting from song selection and making high-quality medleys to share periodic videos on Youtube personally families to help them practice and remember the steps. We have received fantastic reviews at marriage, sangeet, and other functions, from couple choreographic sequences to full family performances.
The emphasis at Delhi Dance Academy has always been on providing dance education that matters and on managing the centers professionally – starting and ending classes on time, providing a comfortable environment to students, choosing well-trained, professional instructors, and so on. DDA has done very well in standardizing the process, using technology for managing the institutes.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Nazir Anwar: We did start losing a lot of business as a result of the pandemic, and subsequent lockdown, Services like wedding choreographies and corporate workshops took a major hit. Special workshops for our international students also took a serious blow as the travel and tourism industry almost collapsed. So we shifted our services to an online portal in April, launching live streaming of our classes. We got an unexpectedly good response as we were conducting regular online dance sessions for kids, adults, and corporates not only from Delhi but pan India, and we were able to connect with students and clients across the world as well. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us as our services started spreading across the world through online classes. The amount of positive feedback we received from our clients is extremely overwhelming and has motivated us to take this to the next level and reach out to more people so that nobody loses touch with their love for dance even in these stay-home days.
Now eight months down the line since the lockdown was announced in India, we decided to reopen our newly renovated studios. Though we are struggling to gather students physically at our studios with the same strength as during pre-corona days, we understand that students are avoiding dance studios and crowded gatherings for safety concerns. But, we are strictly observing all kinds of safety precautions for our clients and everyone else. We are currently conducting small group classes and private sessions; these services will definitely take some time to recover, but we are working hard day in and out with hopes in our hearts.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Nazir Anwar: With the sudden lockdown in the country, businesses like ours were hit real hard as all the operations and classes at our centers came to a sudden halt; we were not prepared for it, nor were our clients and students.
We had some real challenges in the initial few days to firstly manage our large team and pool of our instructors and staff, for whom immediately switching over to virtual services was difficult. But with proper training and learning, we adapted well to offering great online services. Initially, it was equally difficult for the students and clients to adapt to online learning, but then our innovative methods of teaching dance online were very well accepted and loved by all. The biggest concern amongst our students is if they would be able to learn dance online? But, with our interactive live online classes plus 24/7 access to our dance tutorials, we could break the learning barriers for Indian and overseas students.
The most important lesson that I always knew but have started practicing more religiously now is keeping myself updated on new technology and new skills. We should keep enhancing our skills and continue learning and growing every day. Adapting to situations is very important as life will always present some other challenges; we have to be able to find a way out through.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Nazir Anwar: I believe staying calm in a situation has always helped me counter both stress and anxiety. Both my family and my team especially have provided great support at these tough times. Reading and learning online has been another key factor in helping me stay calm. Also, with so much time in hand during the lockdown, I was able to implement some good habits consistently in my life like clean and healthy home-cooked food, exercising regularly, taking proper rest, and a good amount of sleep. These all have really worked wonders for my mind along with the body.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nazir Anwar: In the past decade, India’s dance scene has undergone a drastic change with many new dance schools and academies coming up. Honestly, I have never seen this as an unhealthy competition at all; in fact, going by the vision of our institution, we believe this is a victory for everyone that dance as education is spreading and getting its due. We ourselves encourage and support our alumni to come up with more and more dance schools in their respective cities and areas and spread the dance education as much as possible.
Regarding staying in the game, having been in this industry for almost a decade now, we still continue to learn, evolve, and grow every day to continue being the best dance and fitness organization in the country and globally as well. Thankfully with the online classes now, we have been able to come even closer to our international clientele and contribute to quality dance education worldwide. As of now, we continue working round the clock and promise best-in-class services at the comfort of one’s home. We encourage people to continue dancing, and welcome each and everybody to join us with their friends and family members in our initiative of online dance lessons and online dance fitness classes, and help us spread the dance culture all over the world.
Your final thoughts?
Nazir Anwar: This whole new setup of our live online dance classrooms is pretty exciting. Now, for the first time ever, everyone can learn to dance at the comfort of their homes with Delhi Dance Academy’s world-class instructors teaching in a fun environment with lessons live from our New Delhi studios, and everyone can stay active and happy in a creative atmosphere.
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