India’s SS Ballet Academy leading the way with online dance classes

Who thought there would come a time when the world would almost be stranded inside their homes. But the pandemic and its lockdowns brought in new realities and even ushered in a new era of Work From Home.

But as the old saying goes, ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy,’ people soon realised the ill effects of a sedentary virtual lifestyle. And that’s when, out of the blue, a whole new concept of an online education of dance took birth.

Online learning suddenly seemed to be more exciting than ever. And though dance requires more of a person-to-person interaction in teaching, dance teachers and academies around the world, did find ways to teach it through the computer and mobile screens.

One such academy is SS Ballet Academy (SSBA) headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Founded by entrepreneur Pratyusha Chhajer, SSBA follows the Vaganova Method of ballet dance, which was made internationally famous by Russian ballerina Agrippina Vaganova.

Starting out in Indore, SSBA shifted its headquarters to Ahmedabad recently and plans to expand, with branches in Mumbai and Delhi in the near future. It is a member of the internationally prestigious Conseil International de la Danse (CID) certification, which is an official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (popularly known as UNESCO).

Talking about the online dance classes boom, SSBA’s founder Pratyusha Chhajer says, “Online classes not only offer a great opportunity to learn a new dance form, but also build confidence of the students, that too, while they enjoy the comforts of their home atmosphere.”

“Though it’s not the most ideal way of learning dance, it offers an opportunity to many outstation students who can’t manage to come to a new city to learn,” she remarks.

SS Ballet Academy aims to train newcomers and continue to take professional dancers under their wing, to help them reach a world stage.

“The online classes have given them a new chance to opt for distance training and continue their dream of becoming ballet artists,” adds Pratyusha. She further informs, “Inspite of the challenges, we are happy to have a good strength of ballet dancers joining SSBA and continuing their practice with us. They have been participating in different examinations and getting onto the next level.”

As soon as the pandemic situation gets completely normal, SSBA will restart the regular classes, but has decided to also continue with online classes.

SS Ballet Academy’s Pratyusha Chhajer lists 4 amazing benefits of dance

Anybody can dance… BUT a perfect integration of music, movement and spatial awareness is required to be a professional dancer. That is what good training imparts. So what are the benefits of the training? Pratyusha Chhajer, founder-director of SS Ballet Academy in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, talks about some of the amazing benefits of dance.

Pratyusha Chhajer, founder-director of SS Ballet Academy

1) Neuroplasticity or brain plasticity

There is a technical and physics definition to Neuroplasticity. The term refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt as a result of experience. The process of Neuroplasticity when we dance, can be simply defined as leading to subtle changes in the brain, which take place when the body links the memories of previous actions and movements with our dance moves. As the body dances, the brain adapts in response to the experiences. This not only increases plasticity, but helps our body synchronize our dance steps to the music. In fact, all this happens so subtly that one can even say it happens subconsciously. And it leads to the dancer getting better and better with his/her moves.

2) Dedication and discipline

Professional dancing takes a lot of will power and determination to excel. Thus one has to develop dedication to it on a long-term basis. And whatever one is dedicated to do, leads to a set regular pattern of discipline. Thus, dance can actually have people improving their focus in general, while improving their dedication and learning to be more disciplined, not only with dance, but also in the other aspects of life.

3) Improved gait and posture

Of course, it’s no rocket science that regular exercise, stretching and bodily movements can improve one’s gait and posture. But what dance actually does is, that it takes this one step further. Since dance also stimulates your brain and gives that feel-good feeling, it has the potential to activate all the cells in your body and make the body actually feel good and happy about its new improved gait and posture. It makes people more comfortable and confident about the way they look and stand. Ever thought about that?

4) Sense of inclusivity, togetherness and team spirit

At dance schools, like at our SS Ballet Academy, students get a chance to not only learn the right methods and tactics in ballet dancing, but also get to interact with other students and learn to harmonize and socially interact with cooperation. This brings in a strong sense of inclusivity, togetherness and team spirit, along with learning the art form. These little traits which we normally tend to overlook, go a long way in improving the way people interact and socialize. The sense of inclusivity in society also gives an edge to one’s personality and character.

ABOUT SS BALLET ACADEMY

Shonaya Chhajer of SS Ballet Academy

For the record, SS Ballet Academy was launched by its founder-director Pratyusha Chhajer four years ago to train and develop professional dancing. Named after Pratyusha’s children Samyan and Shonaya, SSBA follows the Vaganova curriculum method of ballet. It is a style of ballet training created by Russian ballerina Agrippina Vaganova, who became a highly renowned ballet teacher and has authored the book Basic Principles of Classical Ballet. This curriculum method is marked by a fusion of the classical French style (specifically elements from the romantic era), with the athleticism of the Italian method, combined with the soulful passion of Imperial Russian Ballet.

Discipline from ballet promotes overall grooming, notes Pratyusha Chhajer

Dance not only helps in keeping the body active but is also a great way to express emotions, release stress and develop discipline in life. It lets us explore our wild imaginations, gives us hope and joy. And in these unprecedented times, these are the things that we need more than anything, believes Pratyusha Chhajer, the director of SS Ballet Academy (SSBA).

Starting out in Indore, Madhya Pradesh and shifting headquarters to Ahmedabad, Gujarat, the academy has been giving ballet enthusiasts a new lease of life during the pandemic.

Taking a closer look at the problem, Pratyusha points out that the highly contagious Coronavirus profoundly changed our lives – it caused huge disruption in our routines and distorted the sense of time. Students became over-dependent on gadgets and their involvement in physical activity was reduced to zero, all thanks to the COVID-induced lockdown. Looking at the pile of problems, it’s high time that people incorporate an activity in their routines that could retain the balance in their lives.

“And there is nothing better than ballet dance,” opines Pratyusha, “as ballet dancing helps in building traits like confidence, teamwork and discipline, thereby promoting overall grooming.”

A mother of two, Pratyusha assures that one hour of ballet dance practice will bring positive behavioural changes. Not just that, the ballet dance postures physically strengthens the person and soothing music calms the mind. “My own daughter started ballet dancing during the first lockdown and the progress in her dancing skills, as well as her personality, has been incredible,” she points out.

In these hard times, Pratyusha wants parents, teachers and guardians to step up and encourage children to enroll in these classes. “It’s good to let your child follow their heart, but sometimes as elders, it’s essential to make them do things that will be good for them in the long run.”

True. Considering how their personal, as well as academic lives have gone haywire, elders should encourage children to take up activities like ballet dancing that would help in their overall grooming while instilling discipline in them. “When gadgets have become our friends and we are dependent on them to this extent, why not make good use of them,” says Pratyusha as SSBA has begun conducting online ballet classes on Zoom and Google Classroom.

Pratyusha opened the SS Ballet Academy three years ago to train and develop professional dancers. Though the pandemic posed several challenges, she turned them into an opportunity, not just for herself, but for many others.

“Opportunities do not come gift-wrapped. You need to step out of your comfort zone and take risks,” she quips and adds, “We did the same by switching to online classes and the results were fabulous. There were so many people who wanted to make good use of their time at home and polish their creative side.”

SS Ballet Academy focuses on virtual dance classes to tide over pandemic

Dancing through the pandemic, literally

Ballet in itself is a unique dance form for India. On top of it, the pandemic presented a huge challenge to the newly launched SS Ballet Academy (SSBA), which started out in Indore, Madhya Pradesh and shifted headquarters to Ahmedabad, Gujarat. But its business model has fast evolved with the introduction of online classes.

“Although we all hoped that lockdowns wouldn’t come, we quickly prepared for them and transitioned to online classes via virtual methods such as Zoom and Google Classroom. Its worked out fine for now,” quips entrepreneur Pratyusha Chhajer, director of the academy.

She admits to have drawn inspiration from a lot of other people in the industry and dance schools across the globe, who were all forced into lockdowns. “Initially it seemed difficult. But gradually as we started believing in the idea, there was this shift in mindsets that dance classes could be conducted virtually,” she remarks.

Pratyusha also mentions that the dance industry is actually lucky that online classes can be so successful with the right teacher and right programme. “To keep making headway, learn and succeed in these exceptional times, is a huge challenge in itself,” she adds. True! It’s not only helpful to students to keep their minds creatively occupied, but also in learning a new universally acclaimed art form.

“Though virtual dancing lessons may not always be an ideal choice, it sure has opened new avenues for now and given opportunities and hope to many who feel stagnated or had their growth stunted due to the pandemic,” points Pratyusha. “They have now got this unique chance to train and grow, dancing through the pandemic, literally. And that’s an opportunity they are cherishing,” she concludes.

SS Ballet Academy follows the prestigious Vaganova Method in ballet dance. Recently, Pratyusha also conducted an informative interview with a prominent award-winning ballet teacher Fethon Miozzi of Vaganova Ballet Academy, based at St. Petersburg, Russia.

It can be noted here that SSBA has recently received certification from the internationally prestigious Conseil International de la Danse (CID); an official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (popularly known as UNESCO).

The academy is offering certification courses and classes to students who wish to excel in ballet dance. Though the classes are currently being conducted online, the academy is gearing up to resume offline certification courses soon. After Indore and Ahmedabad, SSBA plans to expand its branches to Mumbai, Delhi and other cities across the country.

“Teaching ballet has come as a great gift in life,” says Fethon Miozzi of Vaganova Ballet Academy

Entrepreneur Pratuysha Chhajer who is the director of SS Ballet Academy (SSBA) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, recently conducted an informative interview with a prominent award-winning ballet teacher Fethon Miozzi of Vaganova Ballet Academy, based at St. Petersburg, Russia.

In the interview, Miozzi divulged that he earlier wanted to be a doctor but it was destiny which led him to ballet dancing. “In the initial year, I did not like the strict discipline one has to adhere to while practicing ballet, but after my teachers appreciated my talent, I became a better dancer. Teaching ballet has come as a great gift that life has given me,” he says.

“Striving is the best path to being a good ballet dancer. Ballet is a difficult and strongly disciplined art form. You have to believe in yourself. Sometimes the initial journey might seem tough and painful. You will need a strong support system too — from parents, teachers, family and friends. There will be many hiccups in the path, but one should keep trying hard,” remarks the ballet teacher who loves his profession and students.

“It’s a beautiful job and it’s joyful. It’s difficult to separate and let students go after graduation. But seeing them successfully placed in big theatres is a great feeling,” he concludes.

Born in Rome, Miozzi graduated from the Roman Ballet Academy and joined the Mariinsky Ballet Theatre. After a State scholarship, he graduated with honours from the Vaganova Ballet Academy for ballet teacher and ballet master, and is since teaching at the academy, taking middle and senior classes.

Miozzi is characterized by expressiveness and great physical and theatrical attributes. He is distinguished by a classical manner, beautiful lines and light jump, having an ease with technically challenging maneuvers.

He has won several awards including the L. Massine prize for Rising Ballet Star in Italy, the Danza Si award for physical and artistic qualities, the Danza & Danza award for Best Italian Dancer in the World, and the Ballet Oscar in Italy.

Pratyusha Chhajer who beautifully and effortlessly conducted this wonderful interview is not only the founder and director of SS Ballet Academy, but also a renowned fashion designer with her own label Samyan Shonaya Haute Couture, and businesses under the brand name of Samyan Shonaya Group of Companies. She is a Melvin Jones Fellow and the founder president (charter president) of Lions Club of Ahmedabad Karnavati Zeal.

The Ahmedabad-based SS Ballet Academy (SSBA) has recently received certification from the internationally prestigious Conseil International de la Danse (CID); an official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (popularly known as UNESCO). SSBA aims to partner with teachers, institutes and academies from across the globe, who can help and guide its students in India, in the exquisite dance form of ballet.

Gujarat’s SS Ballet Academy receives international CID certification

The Ahmedabad-based SS Ballet Academy (SSBA) in Gujarat, has recently received certification from the internationally prestigious Conseil International de la Danse (CID); an official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (popularly known as UNESCO).

The International Dance Council CID, Paris, is the official umbrella organization for all forms of dance in all countries of the world. It is a non-governmental organization founded in 1973 within the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, where it is based. Its members are the most prominent federations, associations, schools, companies and individuals in over 170 countries.

“The SSBA is extremely proud to be certified by CID as it holds international value,” says Pratyusha Chhajer, the founder and director of SS Ballet Academy. “We at SSBA strive to successfully establish relationships with ballet schools and academies around the world and take India step by step forward on the international stage. This certification by The International Dance Council CID, Paris, goes a long way in boosting our confidence,” she adds.

The entrepreneur founded SSBA three years ago, to develop and train professional dancers. Starting operations in Indore, it became the first academy to introduce ballet to Central India. The academy has now moved its headquarters to Ahmedabad, an economic hub with great cultural diversity in the vibrant state of Gujarat.

Certification courses and classes are available for students who wish to excel in ballet dance. In view of the pandemic, classes are currently being conducted online on Zoom and Google Classroom. However, the academy is gearing up to resume offline certification courses soon.

Named after Pratyusha’s children Samyan and Shonaya, SSBA follows the Vaganova curriculum method of ballet. It is a style of ballet training created by Russian ballerina Agrippina Vaganova, who became a highly renowned ballet teacher and has authored the book Basic Principles of Classical Ballet.

After Indore and Ahmedabad, SSBA plans to expand its branches to Mumbai, Delhi and other cities across the country.

Pratyusha Chhajer’s Samyan Shonaya Ballet Academy makes headway in Gujarat

For a country obsessed with Bollywood, one can say it’s quite difficult for different genres of dance to make inroads in India. Indian classical dances are popular in the South, but for a dance form like ballet to catch on, we need to have a proper setup, good teachers and a commitment to excellence.

These are the very qualities entrepreneur Pratyusha Chhajer has brought to the fore with Samyan Shonaya Ballet Academy (SSBA), which she founded three years ago, to develop and train professional dancers.

Starting operations in Indore, SSBA became the first academy to introduce ballet to Central India. The academy has now moved its headquarters to Ahmedabad, an economic hub with great cultural diversity in the vibrant state of Gujarat.

Certification courses and classes are available for students who wish to excel in ballet dance. In view of the pandemic, classes are currently being conducted online on Zoom and Google Classroom. However, the academy is gearing up to resume offline certification courses soon.

Named after Pratyusha’s children Samyan and Shonaya, SSBA follows the Vaganova curriculum method of ballet. It is a style of ballet training created by Russian ballerina Agrippina Vaganova, who became a highly renowned ballet teacher and has authored the book Basic Principles of Classical Ballet.

This curriculum method is marked by a fusion of the classical French style (specifically elements from the romantic era), with the athleticism of the Italian method, combined with the soulful passion of Imperial Russian Ballet.

SSBA provides a strong professional academic program with focus on music, drama, dance, grace, fitness, nutritional diet, language, self-confidence and overall personality development, ensuring mental and physical health and balance in your life. It emphasizes on development of strength, flexibility and endurance.

The ballet academy serves as a mentorship platform to gifted children, teenagers, students with dreams, dedicated young dance professionals, securing a professional culture for dancers, teachers and dance directors. Gaining a reputation for excellence in performing arts, the academy is now at the vanguard of dance education and classical ballet training in India.

After Indore and Ahmedabad, SSBA plans to expand its branches to Mumbai, Delhi and other cities across the country.

About Pratyusha Chhajer

For the record, Pratusha Chhajer is an empathetic, versatile and multifaceted personality, with a great understanding of the influence of culture on creativity. She holds certificates in various arts including dance, photography and calligraphy.

Born in Indore, Pratusha has been part of the administrative team at Abhivyakti (a non-profit organization under the Dainik Bhaskar Group), and has helped organize and conduct many Indian cultural dance shows, business events, social events, educational events and charity fundraisers.

She has been recognized for her exemplary organizational work for fashion shows conducted by the International Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD) and Khadi Gram Udyog.

She is the founder and director of Samyan Shonaya Ballet Academy, and also a renowned fashion designer with her own label Samyan Shonaya Haute Couture; businesses under the brand name of Samyan Shonaya Group of Companies.