Bollywood Dreams Dance founder Reena Tailor tells John Byrne about setting up her first dance class
My first job was a performance at a local theatre as part of a showcase of South Indian dancers who were looking to establish themselves in the world of dance. I heard about the event through a South Asian Arts organisation – I really wanted to teach and start my own dance school as well as perform. I was given a few names of people who had enquired about Bollywood classes. I called them up to see if they were still interested and ran my first class shortly after that.
I remember being nervous about my first performance, but I’ve been performing since I was five at charity events, community-run events – basically anywhere and everywhere I’d have the opportunity to dance. That gave me enough practice to handle my nerves. Looking back to my first experiences of performing, I quickly learnt that being a good dancer was great, but being professional off stage when you are client-facing is equally important. Getting back to agencies and clients quickly, making my booking process straightforward and having a professional attitude meant people wanted to work with us.
As my performance style was quite specific, and Bollywood dance at the time was becoming increasingly popular, work came in easily. There wasn’t much UK competition either, as we were one of the first Bollywood dance companies to set up back in 2014. Now the Bollywood dance market is highly competitive and a fairly saturated one, so maintaining high standards and a professional reputation is even more important.
The best advice I can give to anyone starting out in this industry is to make sure you get lots of experience, whether at your local school or on a larger platform. Keep taking the work as long as it fits in with the direction you want to go in and get your name out there. Also, keep training as there is always something new to learn and improve on.
Training: Self-taught (Bollywood); training in Kathak (Indian classical dance)
Theatre includes: Cinderella (Birmingham Arena); bespoke performances for corporate and social events
TV includes: CBeebies; Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (Channel 4); choreographer for Doctors (BBC1)
Other: Artistic director of Bollywood Dreams Dance