Dancing to her own beat

Published: 22 November, 2012 07:04 IST | Swapnal Tilekar |

City-based dancer Shiraz Irani has made Punekaris proud by entering into the final round of a reality show India's Got Talent. She shares her journey with The Guide

Shiraz Irani (25) is on cloud nine as she is set to compete on a national platform where she will showcase what she does the best — belly dancing.
“It has been my dream for the last 2-3 years to perform on a national platform and I have achieved it. Now, I am just waiting for the finale and I hope to win it too,” says Irani, as she rehearses for the final show.

Belly dancer Shiraz Irani

Struggle pays off
Considered as plump by society, Irani had a rough childhood and suffered from a back injury which halted her dance practice for two years. Irani says, “I was into Bollywood dancing along with Salsa and Folk Dance before I moved to belly dance. I have been dancing since I was in 8th standard. Initially my parents were completely against it. I had a tough time finding an instructor as well since Belly Dancing was not a popular dance form in India. But I did not give up. I started learning the dance form by watching videos on Youtube and through DVDs. And I overcame my misconception that being an obese person would be a constraint as a dancer.” Now, after a few years, she has got a chance to prove her point to society.

No weighty woes
Irani laughs when you ask her about her weight, “After three months of rigorous shooting, I have lost 9 kilos. It’s not that I don’t like my body to be fit and beautiful; I, too, consider it as a temple. Hence, I’m working out for it. Earlier I used to think very differently. I used to go on auditions, only to listen to rejections. I tried India’s Got Talent by considering it as another chance given, but my selection changed my entire world. I am a completely different person now. I feel satisfied. I would love to become an inspiration for those who are overweight. If I can do it, so can they.”

Favourite judges
Commenting about her favourite judges, Shiraz says, “I love Kirron Kher and Farah Khan. They are very inspiring off camera as well; they are good human beings and despite being stars, they are very down-to-earth. With their comments, they inspire me every time I perform,” says a delighted Irani.
For the finale, Irani has been given a Yash Chopra theme. “I will be shaking my belly to the tunes of ‘Krazzy kiya re’. We will also perform in groups which can be very demanding for individual performers like me,”  she adds.

If I win
“If I win, It’s not only me who will win; there are lakhs of people, especially people who feel that they can’t do certain activities because of their weight. It would be their victory also. I also dream about opening up my own belly dancing academy with the winning prize amount where only women can learn the dance form. I also look forward to give a part of the money to the children from my city who are less privileged and deserve better prospects,” she concludes.  

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