Yasmeen Maqbool, an all-time softie is the Features Editor of Filmfare ME, Salt ‘n’ Peppa and Femina ME. Her passion lies in telling stories about people who do what they do because it matters
A change in mindset and attitude is all it takes to completely change your life. And, Satyen Babla is an epitome of this human spirit we all have. More so, by living this paradigm shift, Satyen is now helping others like him to experience a similar kind of bliss along with his former coach and now partner Nigel, an ex-Shiamak instructor.
The two came together two and a half years ago to initiate DANS, a pioneer in dance education in the Middle East. Their mission is to touch, move and inspire people through the joy of dance and while doing so to become the number one creative dance solution provider in the Middle East.
With an aspiration to make a difference in people’s lives, while putting the serial entrepreneur mentality to its best use, Satyen is always planning his next big project. But when asked what made him wear his dancing shoes and hit the stage, Satyen says, “The inspiration to dance came from a friend calling me an embarrassment at a party, because I wasn’t a dancer then. I was rather challenged, than demotivated, and have never looked back since.”
He remembers when he wasn’t a great dancer, and knows how it felt to be among dancers at a party. His objective is to build
Once his confidence was built, it was important for him to help other people who were facing similar challenges, and so he started teaching. His experience helps him understand the psyche of a new dancer. “We try to make it easy, fun and instinctive rather than clinical and rigid.”
So what does ‘dance’ mean to him today? “I always think of ‘dance’ as ‘DANS’ now. DANS embodies the feelings, emotion, passion, expression, joy and the satisfaction of movement.”
And being the entrepreneurial self that they are, Satyen and Nigel had pledged at the inception of the company to give back to the society in some small way on achieving certain growth targets they had set for themselves. “Those targets have since been met and exceeded, and it is time to honour the pledge.”
They’ve tried to take dance to places where it is not always accessible, like for people with special needs and labour camps. “We believe ‘Dans’ is a joy everyone should experience and it is something everyone can benefit from.”
DANS launched a new initiative towards community development and social responsibility in October 2015. “The ‘Gifts of Gratitude’ campaign aims to bring a moment of happiness to the underprivileged community amongst us. The approach was initiated targeting the Al Quoz labour camps in Dubai.”
The objective of the campaign was to encourage pledges from students and wellwishers of the brand, that would go towards the packing of ‘appreciation boxes’ filled with goodies. These boxes contain not just everyday necessities, but also a treat for them.
The target was to achieve a pledge of 1,500 boxes. The response however exceeded all expectations, and when the final numbers were accounted for they had reached 3,400 appreciation boxes.
After the success of this initiative, Satyen is in talks to collaborate with a school for people who are deaf and are passionate about dance. “We hope to organise a performance with this school in the near future.”
Satyen sees a lot of correlations between dancing and life. He believes, the journey of a new dancer is very much like the journey of a child. The initial fear and bravery of movement, the slow progress, the many falls and the number of times you pick yourself up and keep moving, keep dancing – all this plays out every day in their studios with each new student.
Usually, this happens unconsciously. He hopes to make his students more aware of these changes in them. The one thing he always insists upon with his students is to smile. “Initially I need to remind them, and after a while, they don’t stop smiling.” He wants to teach people how a simple change of mindset and attitude can completely change a performance or life itself, for that matter.
Satyen aims to teach mindset change and goal setting through DANS. This is a service they offer corporates during their conferences and goals-setting meets. “We train few members to dance in less than an hour and, then make them perform in front of their colleagues. The rush, emotion, motivation and spirit one feels after a successful performance, is beyond words.
“We then let the performers know that within the last 60 minutes, just with the right attitude and mindset they have achieved something they never imagined being able to do.”
He asks what is it NOW that can stop YOU from achieving your goals?