Divanshi Gupta, Founder, Ucanji

Divanshi has been on an entrepreneurial journey since 2012, first with Dance Helpline, and now Ucanji. She has organized several on-ground talent hunts for Dance India Dance, Dance+, So You Think You Can Dance, and more, while also organizing workshops with International as well as National artists across India. She single-handedly launched and managed 27+ Dance Centres across Delhi NCR, and is again on a similar streak with Ucanji. Her sheer dedication has made Ucanji one of the leading online dance learning platforms with more than 5 lakh users where they can learn 14+ different dance styles from the comfort and safety of their homes anytime anywhere.


Dance! It’s an act. 

An Act of performing arts through movement. An act of establishing a connection between the body and the mind. 

The dance goes beyond binarism, boundary, and gender. If the world gets divided between black & white, dance will create the spaces for colours — the colours of pride. 

It impacts the thinking, the body language, and the way of conveying a message. 

The journey of Self-Discovery through Dance 

Everyone has an artist inside them. Inner artists are drawn to colours, diverse beats, music, spoken words, and exquisite movements of the body in the form of dance. 

These performances communicate the encrypted messages that touch the core of the hearts with indescribable feelings. We cannot philosophize the meaning of art as people or audiences can interpret the meaning in different ways. 

The journey of finding the true self never ends. Dance, of all arts, is a way to discover the rhythm in life. Dance is not only something expressing what’s on the inside, it is an expression of one’s connection with this material and physical world. It is an interpretation of what a dancer sees and feels all around him/her/them. It could be bad, good, ugly and sometimes, damningly great. This world has so much to offer, and one needs to voyage to find themselves. 

The Root of Pride in Dance 

In the journey of finding true identities, dance and music have played vital roles in conveying the unconventional message. In this world, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, and queer people are pushing the social boundaries to change the world for the better. 

In the history of Pride, LGBTQ formulated dance music and helped popularize the genres in the United States and around the globe. 

In the early 70s, when talking about sexuality invited frowned brows and looks. In that era, when gay men were called ‘Punks’ in a derogatory way, artists from the LGBT community emerged and created a dance style, Punking.

The term ‘Waack’ was given to the hand movements in Punking dance style. Once the dance style gathered numerous cheers and appreciation among the US club-going community, the LGBT community changed the name to ‘waacking’. 

With the help of Soul Train, a popular US TV dance show — the waacking got its due fame, and to date, it’s still popular everywhere.

Gay, lesbian, transgender, drag queens and queer people organized raves, balls, and numerous dance parties so they could celebrate their identities without facing any untoward questions or sight or rejection they were receiving in daylight from mainstream society. 

Dance celebrates the Colours of the Life 

The dance music clubs were created to give a safe space to individuals who were deemed different from others. The space gave them the freedom to be in true-self. That’s what dance is all about — finding the rhythm of life and sync with living. 

To date, the uplifting, euphoric beats, the melodies, and the gestures through dance and music originate from the desire to escape the struggles and the trauma people face in real life. 

Such dance forms and free expression through movements in space transform into a meaningful outlet for individuals. Even today, electronic dance, waacking, and other genres continue to serve the same to many people. 

Creating Opportunity with Dance 

With time, society and laws have identified the rights of the LGBT community, and still, it is in progress. 

The night-light time and creation spaces within clubs have gone wider. Many of the dance shows have integrated the dance styles like waacking. Earlier, there was a stark division between ‘male’ and ‘female’ dance styles. However, it is not the same. Belly dance is not feminine, and freestyle is not just for street dancers. Dance doesn’t create boundaries and divisions. It is no more the same case. Many individuals are men, women, kids, binary people or non-binary people, anyone can perform any style without any judgement or labelling. 

Dance learning platforms have become aware of the community and its presence. The inclusivity has increased. The independence and freedom among the groups have given them a feeling of security. 

Dance doesn’t see gender. Dance doesn’t recognize the binaries. Dance doesn’t ask to be performed by a certain person or a specific group. Dance is about the synchronization, the rhythm, the music, and the coordination. 

Let the dance be dance. Let it evolve and become inclusive rather exclusive. That’s when we can say dance can be done by anyone, anywhere and at any time and you know what? We have all already taken the right direction.

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