Philosopher Rumi’s quote applies perfectly well to Dhara. “Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”
She is a 25-year-old certified yogini, internationally acclaimed belly dancer and a clinical psychologist. Sounds completely unconventional, doesn’t it? That is exactly how she wants to live her life.
In a time when most people are running after conventional, white collar jobs, Dhara has decided to take up something that is her passion. Her foray into dance began at the age of 4 and since then she has been unstoppable. Now she doesn’t only perform but also teaches classical oriental and fusion styles of belly dancing. She has trained with the best teachers and superstars of belly dancing like Rachel Brice, Moria Chapell, Anita Lalwani (ATS), Sharon Kiara, Didem, Alla Kushnir, Aziza, Bozenka, Tito Saif and Wael Mansour.
She is currently working and developing her dance company ALLURA as an Artistic Director and is also a co-creator of Soul Gypsies, a dance company.
This lady who has many feathers in her hat is a yogini. After finishing her Masters in Clinical Psychology, she obtained her Yoga TTC Certificate and is now an RYT 200 Yoga Teacher (Yoga Alliance) and also certified teacher under Government of India (QCI level 1).
If you think that was enough, wait! She is also fond of writing. Apart from writing poems, she has embarked upon a new writing journey – ‘Opus Of The Enchantress’.
Let’s hear more about her, from the woman herself.
Cocktail Zindagi: Tell us a little about who you are and what you do.
Dhara Thaver: I am Dhara Thaver. I am a belly dance performer and teacher, a yoga teacher and a clinical psychologist.
Cocktail Zindagi: What made you take up belly dancing?
Dhara Thaver: I started my belly dance journey around nine years ago. I remember stumbling across a belly dance video on the internet and I was mesmerised by how beautiful it was. Something was so powerful about it! I just decided to pursue it as a serious hobby. I started practising with whatever resources I could find on the internet and one-and-a-half year later, I took my formal training for four years with my teacher and then travelled to different countries to train with the masters. While I was finishing the last year of my master’s, I made up my mind to pursue it professionally.
Cocktail Zindagi: How difficult was it to take up something that was unconventional in India?
Dhara Thaver: Honestly, the ride wasn’t very smooth! There were so many doubts and questions everywhere and from everyone. People usually look at belly dance in a very different light. It wasn’t even considered as an ideal hobby, let alone taking it up as a profession. I have spent a lot of time and effort spreading the awareness about this art form. And I still strive to teach masses and spread more awareness about it.
Cocktail Zindagi: Did your friends and family support you?
Dhara Thaver: Initially, there were a lot of apprehensions from the family. However, my mom has been very supportive and encouraging. Slowly and steadily as time passed by, my family members saw me progressing and started accepting it. At present, they are very supportive towards me and my choices. In fact, they motivate me to work hard and train hard to achieve my goals.
Cocktail Zindagi: Where have you performed so far?
Dhara Thaver: I have performed in various dance festivals and shows nationally and internationally. I have performed in India, China, and United States. I was also invited to teach and perform in Turkey. I teach classes and specialized workshops in belly dancing.
Cocktail Zindagi: Apart from belly dancing, you have a keen interest in yoga. Tell us more about it.
Dhara Thaver: My mother, who is a very senior yogi, enrolled me in a yoga class when I was 11. Since then I practised yoga on and off until 2015. After that, I decided to get serious training and get certified. I am now an international certified teacher. I also received my QCI 1 certificate from the Government of India for yoga.
Cocktail Zindagi: You recently took a one month trip to Kerala for yoga. How did that help you and what did you learn?
Dhara Thaver: I went this beautiful ashram called Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashram in Kerala for my Teacher’s Training. This, by far, has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I lived in a complete gurukul style of setting which included sleeping in dorms, attending satsangs and kirtans, cleaning the ashram as a part of karma yoga, living in strict discipline and studying the philosophy and scriptures of yoga. Some of the most important learnings I took from this experience was the importance of discipline, practice and being humble towards every soul whatsoever.
Cocktail Zindagi: Who is the greatest inspiration in your life?
Dhara Thaver: My biggest sources of inspiration are all my gurus who I look up to. Their teachings are always guiding me whenever I feel stuck or lost. Another big source of inspiration is my own self. I keep encouraging myself, look back to what I have achieved so far and empower myself in every step.
Cocktail Zindagi: How is your everyday routine like?
Dhara Thaver: Although my routine keeps modifying, this is how it looks like more or less. I start my mornings with a hardcore yoga practice, followed by planning my day and studying a bit. Afternoons and evenings are usually dedicated to training, classes and practice. Depending on the remaining time, I either go for a run in the evening or at night. Rest of the time goes with family, rest and some more study.
Cocktail Zindagi: Where do you want to go from here?
Dhara Thaver: There are a lot of things in the pipeline. I look forward to travelling more, learning more and teaching more and share this beautiful art with as many people as I can on this journey.
Visit her website to connect with her.