Let me introduce to you, Maheema, the Founder and CEO of Choreography by Maheema. She is successfully running her company globally doing events and wedding choreography. She is originally from Delhi. Her dad was a hotelier while growing up so, she stayed practically all over North India, all of the states basically. She has graduated from DU and has done MBA in advertising and marketing. She has been dancing since 7-8 years old. She has done kathak, she was for a very long time working with Shiamak Davar. She has been a dancer, and a performer all her life. It all began when she was around 10 years old, she used to take initiative for small-small events in her apartment and colony, collect everybody, and prepare a performance. She says,
“Sometimes you are meant to do things that you don’t realise.”
Her team performs all sorts of dances, and even if their clients come up with dances they aren’t trained for, she makes sure that she does the research and teaches them. She makes sure her team is trained in a particular dance if they haven’t done it before. She cites an example of Sufi dancing which says is not very common and is not done everywhere, there are particular movements that are important. Otherwise, they do Bollywood, they do salsa, Jazz, Contemporary, kizomba, they do it all.
She has done quite a few shows with Shiamak, has been part of Kingdom of Dreams and says the experience she got from there is incredible and she is using it for her shows.
She has been supported by her family, her mom is her rock and now her husband and his family are also great support.
Apart from dancing She is helping her mom grow her business for crystals and healing, called Earth Karma, basically, she is a partner. After doing her MBA in advertising and marketing, she joined a marketing agency and worked for about 7-8 months and that was the turning point when she realised her dream. She was already doing wedding choreographies at that time. That was the time she realised that she didn’t want to do a regular job. She didn’t want to work under somebody but follow her passion. She says she loves marketing, she loves advertising, she loves social media which she is also using in her work to grow her business. More than that, she wanted to teach people, wanted to make a difference for people and families.
“Even when we do events for corporates we become like a small knit family because we are teaching them almost every day. It's an experience on its own because you meet different people and you get to connect with them on a different level. It’s my thing and I wouldn’t have gotten it if she was doing a regular job. That is why I decided to jump in and do what I love to do.”- Maheema
Her company does weddings all over the world. They have done over 550 weddings and about 100 corporate events, do off-sites, within India, outside India, they have so many clients in the US which they teach through videos, tutorials zoom calls, send them videos. Their purpose is to make everything grand for the weddings using big props and other things.
“Growth has to be constant in the sense that change is inevitable if you don’t grow and do different stuff every time you do choreography or teach something. I personally feel that you are not putting a hundred per cent effort if you are not trying to do something different or change something and that’s my focus for every choreography I do.”- Maheema
She says there were a lot of challenges when she was trying to grow in the industry, particularly she feels especially for women though it has changed a lot at the moment. She sometimes feels that the choreographers are not given the due credit they deserve.
“I won’t use the word ‘looked down upon’ but they are not respected as much. Some people feel like- oh dance hi toh sikhana hai (it’s just a mere dance they are teaching). They don’t see the amount of work that goes into creating something different or beautiful. You know people see videos on TV and they enjoy it but they don’t see the effort that goes into making them look beautiful. I think choreographers deserve a lot of respect and a lot more credit because they put in their heart and soul to what they do not that other people don’t but I think they deserve a little bit more.”
Dancing inspires her every day, she constantly keeps looking at things in a different way. For instance, when she was opening the lock, she watched her hand movement while opening the lock whether she could do it differently while utilising a choreography step. And even when she is watching a Youtube video, her outlook of looking at the video would be very different, seeing inspiration in it, what are the angles etc. She does a lot of studying, she studies social media, studies angles for video shoots etc. She believes that if we want to be different and want to be creative, we have to sort of tilt our heads a little and look at the whole picture rather than keeping it straightforward.
She sees her company is taking a leap at the moment, the company is growing and in the next 3-5 years, she plans to do more and more international weddings, bigger weddings and events wherein they will design everything, the concept behind, the props they are using customising everything. Basically, changing entirely the scenario of how choreography is done and making it bigger & better always.
Everybody gets caught up with stress at some point in time, for Maheema she deals by becoming quiet and calmer. She says people around her get hysterical so she has to sort of keep her calm and not scream at people. She just quiets down, take a corner, chant, ask for healing, comes back and focuses.
Her life mantra is to keep moving forward, take one step at a time.
She leaves a message for all who aspire to dance or do whatever they love-
“Keep your chin up, don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t dance because everybody can dance. You have to look at yourself in the mirror every day and say you are incredible, you can do this, you are the best dancer in the world and everything in your body starts changing, and your perspective starts changing about yourself. Keep doing what you are doing whatever it is whether it is a dance or whatever you are doing, keep doing it and keep moving forward.”- Maheema