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April 21, 2022

Karima Essa Bollywood Dance Workshop ArtStarts

Karima Essa ArtStarts at River Market poster

How can dance help improve diverse learners’ socio-emotional skills? Karima Essa is a professional performing artist exploring this question through her arts practise. Using Bollywood dance and body positivity, Karima Essa teaches young audiences that all bodies can participate in movement through her workshops.

[Image description: ArtStarts at River Market presents Karima Essa Bollywood Dance. ArtStarts branding with a picture of artist Karima Essa over a bright background of pastel smoke] 

Young learners will have an opportunity to take part in Karima’s Bollywood dance workshops as part of ArtStarts’ monthly family programming, online and in-person. Karima’s ArtStarts on Saturdays workshop premieres on Facebook on April 30. Karima will also join us for Artstarts at River Market on May 1 for two performances. We’re excited to be able to bring Karima’s workshop to virtual and in-person audiences alike. In the meantime, learn more about Karima and what inspires her.

ArtStarts: Can you tell us about your artistic practise?

Karima Essa: My artistic practise comes with understanding my audience each time I am in front of them. No show is ever the same. People all have different emotions and different experiences that come with different vibrations. I feed off of those vibrations and create a dance environment that celebrates all bodies to move freely and without hesitation.

ArtStarts: What led you to performing and teaching Bollywood dancing?

Karima Essa: I always saw myself gravitating towards an audience and music parties. When I was a child, I would stand in front of the stage and move around freely which naturally grabbed the attention of the audience. That led me to feel super comfortable performing. I began solo dances around 5-6 years old and paid performances by 8. I began performing at concerts, theatres, and special events by 10 years old. That passion continued throughout high school and then on to 3 reality tv shows: Bollywood Star Canada Season 1/2 and Zee 5 Canada’s Dancing star.

Artstarts: Growing up were there any artists or people in your life who inspired you?

Karima Essa: Bollywood cinema was where I got my inspiration from. Watching 300 dancers working in unison to create movements to music all at the same time was inspiring. It is amazing to see how everyone comes together to create art.

ArtStarts: Why do you think it is important to teach young people about body positivity and confidence? 

Karima Essa: We are in a really different world now. Electronic devices are amongst younger hands and [young learners] are constantly overstimulated with society’s obsession with certain sizes, shapes, and trends. Confidence is dropping. [Young people] are losing belief in themselves and are turning to these devices to feed into that negativity more. My mission is to get folks to enjoy the presence of oneself, find ways to entertain oneself through music, meditations or movement. I want folks to feel positivity within themselves, only then can their true colors shine for the rest to admire.

ArtStarts: What excites you most about performing for young people.

Karima Essa: I love watching people learn. I love setting up a punch line or dance move, where the kids figure out what’s gonna happen next. It allows them to nurture their observational skills as well as problem solving. I love being the pathway for positivity in childrens day to day activities because I know that not today, but day, week, years later, when they share memories of music and dance, I know I will have an impact in the lives of these precious little ones.

Interested in experiencing Karima’s free, family friendly workshop? Join us at River Market in New Westminster on Sunday May 1 for two performances at 11am and 1pm. If you can’t make the event or are located outside the Lower Mainland, join us on Facebook beginning at 11am on April 30. The workshop will be available until May 27.

We thank Prospera Foundation for supporting this event.

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