Fearless Females:
A passion for dance - Jasmine Sandhu

Thursday, March 08, 2018

"Be brave; if you want something then go get it because no one is going to make it happen for you… it’s got to come from you!"

What does it mean to be a fearless female? For me, it's a woman who tries something new without the guarantee it’ll work but takes the plunge anyway. Those of are the females I’m inspired by and look up to. Being a businesswoman myself, I’m fascinated by how many females who are doing their own thing, making waves in their industry and community and being a #girlboss whilst doing it! This new project came together from the passion for bold unique women and wanting to tell their story.

For my first feature and launching on International Women’s Day today, I wanted to share the inspiring story of Jasmine Sandhu who set up her new Bhangra dance business in Southampton only six months ago. Having met on a photoshoot in August 2017, we were talking about our dreams and aspirations, one of which was Jasmine’s love for dance and creating her own classes. Two months later, she’s hosting a taster session with the dance hall packed of newcomers eager to try this new dance class in the South! Encouraging diversity, fitness and confidence, she’s had a phenomenal start. Meet 22-year-old, fun-loving, fabulous & fearless Jasmine.


Nisha: What inspired you to start this unique business, South Coast Bhangra?
Jasmine: I always loved dancing and I always struggled with fitting in the conventional route so I thought that’s it… It’s time for this woman to go on a mission! I wanted to create Bhangra class on the South Coast. At weddings I would get compliments on dancing and wanted to start my own classes - so I did!

Have you always had a passion for dance? 
Always. Even before I started to attend classes, I would always be dancing in the living room with my grandma and this is when I was four! I did some ballet classes in primary school but then my mum took me to Bollywood classes when I was about eight/nine years old; absolutely loved how bright and fun the moves and music were! 

Then I went on to also learn Kathak dance which is Northern Indian classical dance - this was really interesting and different to the relaxed movie style moves from Bollywood. In college, I took Dance as an A-Level which was about contemporary dance and this was a whole new ballpark for me but I learnt SO MUCH about dance in general which made me into a much stronger, wiser and even more passionate dancer. Now here I am with my Bhangra classes!

Studying, training, and running a new business, you must be a busy woman! Do you have a particular routine, lifestyle you work to? 
Oh dear lord… Well, my life consists of a lot of lists, lotsa lotsa lists! Lists on my phone, notepads, sticky notes and multiple whiteboards designated to different aspects of my lifestyle. Tick one thing off and three more are added but it is the only way to make sure you stay organised and most importantly, stay sane! Keeping all of this on your mind can cause you to break down and feel buried in a pile of thoughts and tasks which only end up growing and end up creating a big ball of anxiety. 

Every day is different for me and that is just how I like it but the above needs to be kept under control since I do not adopt a particular routine. My daily list will alter and there is no specific time frame to get tasks done (unless required externally by others) - as long as those tasks are ticked off by the end of the day then it’s happy days. 

I regularly see your sisters and mother attend your dance classes. Is family a big part of how you run your business? 
Absolutely - my sisters love to come and dance and have fun. They love to come and see the whole group as we are all like a big family. The class is great on a Wednesday because it breaks up the week so they can dance off any stresses and dance on towards the weekend! My mum is an ABSOLUTE BABE! She helps me out with my admin and finances which can be so difficult to deal with when it’s just one person running the show. We are super close as a family; we are always there supporting one another, I love them a lot. 

How do you come up with dance moves for the classes? Tell me about the process of thinking a new routine and teaching to a new class. 
This is just something I end up doing at the most random times. I may be laying in bed post-midnight or in the car - anywhere where it’s just me and the music although I can’t force it! The best work, for me, happens naturally. Once I mentally choreograph I then tend to try it out physically and tweak bits and then I apply any knowledge I’ve adopted from my years of experience. I like to keep it fresh and I always like my choreography to have an element of uniqueness and originality. 

What are your biggest inspirations when it comes to business, dance or both? 
My biggest inspirations are my parents and also my grandparents; especially my paternal grandfather. He taught me that no matter how old you are, it is never too late to make your dream come true. He taught me that no matter what people say, you keep fighting and you keep moving forward. My granddad proved to me that you can be in the worst situation and you can completely turn it around. He taught me that your physical age is one thing but your spiritual and mental age can be whatever you want it to be. There’s only one way to go and that is upwards! Thanks Baba!

Tell me a little more about Bhangra dancing… 
Bhangra originated in the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan. It is a folk dance originated in the North of India and was commonly performed on the Harvest periods of the year. Bhangra was predominantly performed by males and was also used as a way to exercise and gain strength. Over time, people created Bhangra teams and began competing which is where we are at now! Bhangra has evolved over the years from traditional folk style to modern bhangra inspired by other dance styles - it’s cool to experiment!

Name your greatest success (or something you’re really proud of) in your business: 
Seeing my aims being achieved; there’s no greater feeling when you’re told that you’re an awesome teacher and you bring everyone together in a fun class while ensuring everyone gets a good workout. Not only do you learn how to do Bhangra, but you become part of a family. The focus is to learn together, dance together, smile together and grow as individuals, together! Our aim: to promote diversity, equality, mental wellness and physical fitness. Everybody is welcome, all ages, all ethnicities, all abilities.

As a business owner myself, there are times I lack self-confidence. Do you have any processes that help you with confidence in both your business and yourself? 
I listen to Ted Talks - the app is amazing! You can listen remotely so the talks are always with you and there are loads of different topics you can choose from depending on how you are feeling - from uplifting content to content to help increase confidence. 

Thoughts and feelings are directly linked to each other - it is not possible to be feeling bad and say you’re fine and you’re having good thoughts. I ask myself multiple times throughout the day “Jas, how are you feeling?” and if it’s not positive and not how I want to feel then I get myself to change my thoughts to positive ones. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t feel happy and great all day every day… that’s just not human. Just figure out what the true underlying issue is and you can address it. Also, I say surround yourself with positive people - these don’t have to be people happy all day every day but just people who can empathise with you and help pick you up and direct you the right way when you need it; true friends.

Name a woman (or women), past or present, whom you admire or look up to: 
My mum; her career journey is incredible and again she has shown me that anything is possible - you can achieve what you want but it has to come from you (come from within). Only you can do it. 

Often we see more male dancers in Bhangra, especially in Bollywood. Was that one of the motivations to create an inclusive place for anyone to try Bhangra? 
Yes! I wanted all ages, all abilities, all genders and all ethnicities to feel like they are welcome at South Coast Bhangra classes. Funnily enough, the majority of our participants are female!

What are your plans for the future? 
To inspire, to grow, to achieve - keep it fresh, have fun and continue meeting amazing people on the way!

What advice would you give to people interested in trying out Bhangra for the first time? 
Would you have to have a certain fitness level or previous dance experience? No previous experience needed! I’d say to people to be prepared to get a good workout from my classes but don’t be afraid. I came across dance by chance and I found my passion in life! Whether people want to get fit, meet new people, learn a new style, or want to prepare for any weddings or parties - you’re all welcome! Try it out and see for yourself!

To celebrate International Women’s Day today, what message do you have for females or anyone looking to start or grow their business or to simply try something new:
Be brave; if you want something then go get it because no one is going to make it happen for you… it’s got to come from you! Start planning and build a picture and a plan then go ahead and implement it - try now and avoid any regret later. Keep motivated - people will be negative and you need to remember you can’t change them, but you can change you! Keep your mind free from any bad thoughts and keep thinking about how far you can grow - show them how it’s done and prove them wrong. Who knows, this might just be the best thing that ever happens to you...

You can sign up and find out more information on South Coast Bhangra dance classes and your nearest class here.
Currently run on Wednesdays and Fridays.

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