UAE’s biggest dance YouTuber, Nidhi Kumar is born and brought up in Dubai, UAE with her family’s roots being in India. She is a multi-talented performing artist who is a professional dancer, choreographer, actor, and model. At the age of 22, she has hit the mark of 100K subscribers, which makes her the biggest dance YouTuber in UAE.
Nidhi who is passionate about what she does firmly believes in embracing the dancing culture and growing it beyond limits. Starry-eyed and driven, she wants to become a successful actress in the Bollywood industry and is also ready to shift to Mumbai and work towards her aim.
In an exclusive interview with Cocktail Zindagi, she talks candidly about her past, present, and future.
Cocktail Zindagi: Since how long have you been in the world of dancing?
Nidhi Kumar: I started dancing since I was 5, started choreographing for the first time for my seniors when I was in 8th grade for their shows. Professionally, I started choreography when I was in college and from then on there is no looking back. I simply immersed myself in it, when I started getting gigs for wedding choreography and corporate shows in Dubai.
CZ: What are you doing recently?
NK: Recently this year in April I launched my own dance crew, NK crew. They’re very young people, the youngest ones in my crew are two 12-year-olds. I have older people in my crew also, the age range is 12 to 25 years of age. The reason behind me doing this to promote the culture of dance. We did four shows back to back in the first month itself and people loved it. I take the crew for corporate and wedding shows too which increases their experience. I want my crew to be known for their own independent identity because I see their passion for dancing.
#ILLEGALWEAPON Class Video of the first batch- BOLLYHOP of my first ever #Mumbai Workshop with these talented girls at @pdiae_dance 💥❤️ * * * @jasminesandlas #bollyhop #workshop #mumbaiworkshop #dancevideo #punjabi #workshopvideo #dancing #girlsdancing #hiphop #bollywood #jasminesandlas #urban #choreography #actor #model #youtuber #nidhikumar #nidhikumardance #nkdancecover
CZ: How does it feel being the biggest dance YouTuber in UAE?
NK: It feels awesome because I started this with one conviction that UAE should be on the dance market.
CZ: Tell us about your life in the UAE.
NK: More than half of my life in UAE is in my ‘car’ because it is easily accessible to me. I have to go for the workshops, dancing sessions, choreography or anything work related I need my car, I practically live in it. My car is my house, I call it ‘Rocco’ and I have all the essentials in it. Randomly things have come up so I keep myself prepared. I sleep there, I eat in my car, even change in there it’s like a moving closet. There is also a pillow and bed quilt! There were incidents when I have cried in my car as well so it is everything to me.
CZ: What is your purpose behind all of this?
NK: Dancing is my life, every day what I do the most is dancing out of passion. When I graduated college I got a good corporate job, I did it for 4 months but then I realized that sitting on the desk for 9 hours in a day is not me. So I just listened to my heart.
I believe that I want to be a complete package of things as a performer now be it dancing, acting, modelling or choreographing. Out of all the beats I am doing only singing is left which is the only thing I want to introduce myself into in the near future.
CZ: Tell us something about you as an actress.
NK: Acting just came to me naturally like dancing. I have given many auditions in UAE, and I even got selected for a TV commercial with Nawazuddin Siddiqui sir. The real reason for doing so many things at a time is just to entertain because I can that’s it.
MY DREAM- Commercial with the Living Legend NAWAZ SIR @nawazuddin._siddiqui on the new advertisement for @kenwoodpakistan with these beautiful ladies & @elitefilmsdubai So proud & teary eyed by how it’s come out! * * * #commercial #actor #actress #model #anchor #tvpresenter #expressions #nawazuddinsiddiqui #kenwood #advertisement #bollywood #socialmediastar #dancer #dream #bestoftheday #videooftheday
I have done many commercials, my first one was with the Al-Fardaan exchange where I am playing the role of a college student. After that, I kept on doing commercials more and more. My first serial was ‘Khwabon Ke Darmiyan’ which was a ZEE TV Middle East production, show in UAE. In that serial, I worked with talented, Javed Shaikh. Actors from India and Pakistan were clubbed in the serial which was the best experience for me. I did my first movie as a dancer, it was a Pakistani movie. I had a small dance cameo in it, we shot in the desert and many different locations. My role is of an ex-girlfriend in the movie. There is a whole song I have to myself.
My current vision is to have a mix of everything. I want to dance, do shows, choreograph, TV commercials, and the last is acting which is where my main focus is. I want to work in the Bollywood industry, I believe that if I try harder I can become what I want to.
CZ: What would you choose between dancing and acting?
NK: Dancing is the most valuable thing, but acting is my dream.
CZ: If you want to be an actor in Bollywood, what do you think about casting couch in general?
NK: Personally, I have never experienced it, but I consider it the worst thing we artists face nowadays and nobody I mean nobody should fall prey to any shortcuts to get what they want. There will be a time where you will rise up fast but you will fall down even faster.
CZ: Who is your inspiration?
NK: This is one question I get asked a lot and frankly, I don’t have anyone as an inspiration in my life. But my role model is my mother. She is the person because of whom I wake up in the morning and her hard work, her efforts for me have made me what I am today. Due to my parents, I have reached here. My mom started taking me to dance shows and auditions all the time. For my first dance show in ‘Boogie Woogie’ in Mumbai, my mom and dad both flew along with me just to support me. This is my adrenaline rush towards my career. I will be my own role model and kill it. But as a dancer, I love Madhuri Dixit’s dancing I find her very expressive. My biggest advantage is my expressions.
CZ: Where do your parents see you after some years?
NK: My parents have been extremely supportive in all my art forms. But there is one thing they do not understand is the angle of social media. When I am doing the ‘Musically’ videos and uploading them, they’re like what are you doing? They think of this as a waste of time but I believe that every day when I do something it is going to take me closer to my aim. I have done Bachelors in Media and Communication, my father wants me to do Masters in anything as a backup option. A backup is essential because things in life are unpredictable.
CZ: What keeps you driven?
NK: Passion plays a huge part in this. UAE has monetary benefits but it is a small market altogether. By the end of the year, I am planning to move closer to my aim by shifting to Bombay to pursue my career in acting. Money has never been a chasing factor for me because when I walk down the road I want people to look at me and recognize me, that is all. Social media is the biggest platform here today for artists like me. I speak with people, they ask me queries related to dance and about how do I do this? And how do I do that? It is difficult for me to reply to everyone but I make sure that I do because my aim is to make the entire world dance.
CZ: How is the entertainment industry in Dubai?
NK: The artists are respected a lot over there. They are paid good in terms of their work. But it is a small industry, where everyone knows each other and the best part is there is no politics played in the industry. But the past 2 to 3 months have been disheartening in Dubai which is the reason I want to move here in Mumbai. Dancing has become commercial, it is without love and it is making my decision stronger to move here.
CZ: What’s the difference between both the countries in terms of arts?
NK: They’re very different on the functioning parts. When I wanted to do a workshop in Abu Dhabi everything happened on one call in a day. In India, the entire process was tiresome but the end result was the best. In UAE transportation is easy, in Mumbai, it is again a problem, which makes you reach late and it is difficult for me because I don’t know maximum things in the city. During my recent workshops in Ulhasnagar, they arranged everything for me, they were aware of what I like and what I don’t. They treated me very well, which was my first ever workshop in Mumbai. They were on their toes for me. I really like that. People in Mumbai are professional.
I work with many music labels in India. They want me to do a video on their upcoming song and put it up on my channel. I have worked with Sony Music India, Desi Music Factory and many more. I am constantly giving auditions for acting. Reality shows are not my cup of tea, even though I have had some offers.
CZ: Which of your videos became very popular?
NK: The recent dance video, on the song Dilbar from Satyamev Jayate, which was shot on a beach at 8 in the morning on the sand. In a week it hit 1 million views and now it has more than 2.1 million after 4 weeks. I did a workshop in Delhi with a 6-year-old girl and in that video her skills were commendable. That video is my first on my Instagram profile to hit 1 million views, it has been viral everywhere. Memes have been made on it.
Another video I’d like to talk about was Kala Chashma. It was the first video on YouTube which hit 2.9 million at that time. I was known as the Kala Chashma girl, not Nidhi Kumar at that time. In an interview with UAE’s biggest ‘Khaleej Times,’ I had to clear that my name is Nidhi Kumar, not Kala Chashma girl. The Kala Chashma contributed a lot to my YouTube because along with the dance video I did a tutorial. The tutorial was so viral that in Finland, there was a wedding in which they used that tutorial. They sent me a video of them playing my video and dancing in front of my video.
CZ: What is the biggest challenge you face?
NK: New content for the audiences, as they get bored easily. I keep on doing something new so that people come and watch my channel. I know my audience well, they love Bollywood a lot. Whenever a new song comes from Bollywood I do dance video on it instantly.
CZ: What makes you different from others?
NK: That is the toughest part. In UAE I started doing this and, many people followed, now there are so many people doing the dance videos on Bollywood songs and promoting it on social media. They take bits of advice whenever they are stuck and I love helping them. I have one thing within me that I keep it in touch with my audiences, I take their suggestion I give them what they like. I evolve according to my audience.
CZ: How do you deal with the trolls on social media?
NK: I am a very chilled out person it does not really bother me now. But I want to take full care of what I go ahead with, in my life for which I don’t want to get trolled for. I am open to constructive criticism always.
There was a time when I only did Bollywood and I was told by my friends that my choreography looks the same. They want me to do other styles but I know my audience what they like and what they don’t and that matters to me.
CZ: Tell us something about your show on Colors Middle East.
NK: Last year I got my own show on ‘Colors’ channel in the Middle East, which is called ‘Body and Mind’ Season 2, where I am playing a host with another person. It was an amazing experience doing a fitness and a lifestyle show. The response of the show was amazing, the element that played the major part was how competitiveness was added doing the obstacle courses.
CZ: What do you want from Mumbai?
NK: Whatever I got and did in UAE the recognition, work, fame etc all I want it in Mumbai. Mumbai again being the largest market for such art forms. UAE is my base but Mumbai is something different.
CZ: Do you shy away from committing mistakes?
NK: I do commit mistakes but I have not committed any in choosing my projects. When I came here in Mumbai I spoke to a lot of people who know more about the industry. What they told me is that ‘Nidhi you need to keep room for mistakes’. I keep on learning more from the environment that I adapt in. I feel that they’re a part of our lives and you have to commit them without being disheartened.
CZ: One thing you want to learn on daily basis?
NK: Patience. I am loud and aggressive. I am learning more to be calm every time with anyone.
CZ: Let’s come back to dance, which one is your favourite dancing style?
NK: Bollywood which is my forte that is what I love to do. But recently I want to learn something, its ‘Bachata’ it is a Latin form of dancing. These styles make you feel very confident about your body and yourself. The ‘Bachata’ dance videos help me in boosting my confidence whenever I am low.
CZ: Who shoots your videos?
NK: I have a specific team of videographers for the shoots. There is a girl, Shreya Sethia who shoots most of the videos and is amazing in her work. She is a photographer too.
CZ: You told us you recently launched your own crew. Who is the promising one?
NK: There’s a girl called Harshita. I love to promote everyone who is good enough, so I started putting out videos of her. She is still a child but she ’s improving a lot. In feedback people told me that she is exactly like me, she is my younger version. But I personally want her to be her own self, not me.
CZ: How do your private dance coaching sessions go?
NK: It is a big market in the UAE. I teach and train, and over there conduct 8 classes on the same song throughout. In these private sessions, I train solo people, from kids who are 4-years-old and they’ve even performed at my 100K party, which was widely appreciated. We even had adults who are above 35 and 40 years of age. People are more inclined towards the celebrity workshops which I conduct there because of the culture which is expanding.
CZ: Which are your favourite workshops conducted by you?
NK: I have two, my first Dubai workshop which had 2 classes in Bollywood and BollyBhangra for over two days. The newspapers also covered it there. The second one is Mumbai city’s ‘Ulhasnagar’ one, people who attended it love it. Also, there was a guy, my Instagram follower who came to the workshop to see the dance, he travelled two and a half hours from his home just for this. I loved this response from Mumbai, my second highest followers on social media are Mumbaikars.
In my workshops, I have started something called as, Jam Sessions wherein I tell them all to sit in a circle. Where we play any music, everybody comes in the middle and dances for 20 to 40 seconds. I do this to bring them out of their comfort level and dance their heart out. They even discover their original style through this.
CZ: What would be the motivational and monetary piece of advice you have for aspiring performing artists?
NK: Train hard it will come from within. Do everything to learn better in each of the art forms. And most importantly, remember to have confidence.
Monetarily, just one thing, save up. I was working with a very good firm for 4 months, I never borrowed money from my parents at that time and when I wanted to follow my passion, I had my savings. One thing I believe concretely is that do not do anything stupid or wrong for money. Always play smart and work hard.
Social media is the biggest market for any kind of talent you have. Use it wisely, for your advantage, which will be a kick start for you. Always maintain your integrity on the social media and do not go in the wrong path. Whenever you need any help for dance I am here, you can ask me anything you want to anytime.