Published: 28th April 2020
Hip Hop star Chandni Srivastava from Street Dancer lets us in on 5 secrets to mastering dance during lockdown
Chandni has always known that she wants to be a dancer since she was a child. This is how this dancer went from training in LA to starring in a huge movie and dancing with superstars of Bollywood
Some people are destined towards a particular calling and for others, all paths lead to it. After finding out Chandni Srivastava's story, we realised it could be both. Now the name might not ring a bell, but her face, and more importantly her dance moves, certainly will. If you are as big a Bollywood fan as this writer is, you'll remember her from Street Dancer, the recent Hindi movie about dance, matching steps with the likes of superstars like Varun Dhawan and dancing sensation Nora Fatehi. Right from her friends and teachers in school to the biggest superstars in Bollywood today, everybody sees the spark in her and we find out how she came to nurture her innate talent for hip hop.
With Varun Dhawan in Street Dancer | (Pic: Chandni Srivastava)
"Dance has been a huge part of my journey, right from my childhood," begins Chandi who was born in Shimla and brought up in Delhi. Most cultural programmes in school featured her in one performance or the other, but back then, she was yet to discover her inclination towards hip hop in particular. But then came Verve, the western dance group of Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi. She auditioned, got through (no surprises there) and began dancing day and night. In order to reach a wider audience, they started putting up their dance videos on YouTube. This is when she met Gaurav, with whom she created several viral dance videos. Side by side, she started getting invited to teach and take workshops in several cities. "That's when I realised that I have a responsibility towards other dancers, I need to have my A-game on," says the 26-year-old. And that's where her Los Angeles diaries began.
LA being a hub for hip hop, Chandni danced, interacted and learnt from the best of the best in noted dance studios like Millennium Dance Complex and The Movement Lifestyle. "I knew I was there for a short while, so I made the most of it. I used to go to as many as five classes a day," laughs Chandni as she recalls some of the best days of her life. She was there for four months but managed to soak in the culture, style and the very soul of hip hop. After she came back, she continued to travel to teach and judge competitions. She and Gaurav even participated in the dance reality show Dance Plus season one and were among the top 12 contestants. After this, she moved to the City of Dreams, Mumbai.
Chandni Srivastava | (Pic: Chandni Srivastava)
Chandni choreographed rapper Raftaar's song, Happy Single and the two elaborate ads for Jack & Jones, the apparel brand, with none other than Ranveer Singh. For the second edition of their ads, she performed as well. "He has such crazy infectious energy," she says affirming what everybody already knows about Bollywood's 'energiser bunny', and adds, "He wastes no time and gets the work done." She was spotted by ace choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant and soon became a part of her team.
And then came one of the high points of her life, working with Katrina Kaif for the song Swag Se Swagat from Ek Tha Tiger in Greece. "I was so happy to assist, train and teach Katrina Kaif and put my work out there for everyone to see," she says, who describes the actor as extremely hard working. And then came Street Dancer, which was for sure, the highest point of her life. "We were all like one big dance crew who used to chill together and push each other to do better as well," she says, describing the atmosphere on set.
Chandni in Street Dancer | (Pic: Chandni Srivastava)
Build on the focus
One thing to note about this dancer is that she is focused. "The connection between me and the art form is strong. Of course, there are self-doubts, like everyone has, but I have given it so many hours without holding back, there is confidence as well" says Chandni. Which is why she says that 'shelf life of a dancer is short' and all those statements don't bother her. "I believe in my art," she asserts.
Making the most of the lockdown, Chandni continues to hone her own dance skills and puts up dance videos on her Instagram handle for her over 109k followers. Do you want to learn how to dance before the lockdown ends? These are her tips:
1) Usually, we all have excuses like job and something or the other. Now is the time to really take this seriously and learn.
2) It is important to get the basics right, like footwork. If you don't, and you put up a video randomly, it might go viral, but how consistently will you be able to make viral videos? Get your basics right because they never change
3) When it comes to learning online, it's not about who is the best teacher, it is about who is the best teacher for you. Understand who's style and steps are good for you and accordingly, pick a course online
4) Create your own, unique style. One way to do so is to learn from various icons and adapt what comes to you naturally
5) Be patient with yourself, it will take time. It's a process
For more on her, check out instagram.com/moonlight_chandni