Puspa Ghalley, a 24-year-old dancer with over 10 years of experience, is a talented artist who secured a scholarship at the Stance Dance Studio in Delhi in 2017. Her love for dance led her to work as a dance teacher, mentor, choreographer, and facilitator in Gokab. She showcased her exceptional choreography skills in numerous performances she choreographed for UNDP and Renew, and won the Gokab volume 7 competitions owing to her outstanding performance. Puspa’s impressive abilities soon caught the attention of many, and she was offered a scholarship at the renowned Peridance School in New York City, USA. She is about to embark on this exciting new chapter in her career, which is a testament to her hard work and dedication to her craft. Puspa’s success story is an inspiration to many aspiring dancers to achieve great heights in the field of dance.
Q. When did you make the decision to pursue a professional career as a dancer?
A. To be honest, I never thought of becoming a professional dancer. It simply unfolded naturally as I immersed myself in my hobby and passion. After completing high school, I initially had plans to attend college. However, during that time, my dedication and involvement in dance grew exponentially. And so, that’s how my journey as a professional dancer began.
Q. So, if I understand correctly, becoming a dancer wasn’t something you aspired to be as a child, is that correct?
A. Yes, that’s correct. In fact, I didn’t have any specific aspirations as a child. Whenever teachers would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response would always be that I wanted to be rich. That was the extent of my childhood aspirations.
Q. What is the specific genre of dance that you specialize in or practice?
A. The art form that I practice is called “waacking.” Waacking is a unique form of expression that originated in California during the 1970s. It emerged during a time when the LGBTQ community faced significant discrimination and was deprived of basic necessities such as healthcare and education. Seeking an outlet for self-expression, they would gather in underground clubs to release themselves and find solace. It is within this context that the art form of waacking was born, serving as a powerful means of communication and liberation.
Q. When and where did you acquire your training in waacking, the dance form you specialize in?
A. I learned waacking primarily through online resources, with YouTube serving as my teacher. It all began when I stumbled upon a video featuring a Japanese woman named Tiboki. Her performance was incredibly powerful and captivated me instantly. Intrigued by her skills and style, I delved into researching more about waacking and the specific techniques she employed. The fascination and inspiration I derived from that video prompted me to explore waacking further and develop my own proficiency in this expressive art form.
Q. What specific movements are important in this kind of dance?
A. For me, every movement holds immense value and significance. Dancing goes beyond being a mere physical activity; it has become a lifestyle, shaping the very way I live my life. It permeates through every aspect of my being, influencing my thoughts, emotions, and actions. Dancing has become a profound form of self-expression and a means to connect with my innermost self and the world around me. It has taught me discipline, resilience, and the power of perseverance. It has also granted me a profound sense of joy, fulfillment, and purpose. Dancing is not just an art form; it is an integral part of who I am and how I navigate through life.
Q. Do you also practice or engage in any other forms of dance in addition to waacking?
A. Yes, I am an avid enthusiast of movement and I embrace various forms of dance. I have a deep appreciation for the diverse range of dance styles and I am open to exploring and experiencing different genres. Whether it’s contemporary, ballet, hip-hop, Latin, or any other dance style, I find joy and inspiration in each of them. I believe that every dance form has its own unique language and beauty, and I am always eager to expand my repertoire and immerse myself in new artistic expressions. Being open to different dance styles allows me to broaden my perspective, learn from different techniques, and enrich my overall dance experience.
Q. Have you ever experienced a moment where you forgot a dance step during one of your performances?
A. It’s not uncommon for me to forget dance steps from time to time. However, I’ve developed a skill of quickly adapting and covering up any mistakes during performances. There was one incident where I actually slipped and fell while dancing. It could have been a moment of embarrassment, but I didn’t let it discourage me. Instead, I got right back up, gathered myself, and continued with the routine. I believe that resilience and the ability to recover gracefully from such mishaps are essential qualities for any dancer. It’s all part of the unpredictable nature of live performances, and I’ve learned to embrace these challenges as opportunities to grow and showcase my determination.
Q. Tell us about a best performance you have ever given.
A. One of the best performances of my career dates back in 2017, when I had the opportunity to showcase my skills alongside my girl crew called “Koshers.” It was a momentous occasion for me as it marked my first-ever performance in front of a live audience.
Q. When you embarked on your career as a dancer, were your parents supportive of your decision?
A. No, my parents were initially not supportive of my decision to pursue a career as a dancer. This concept was relatively new and unfamiliar in Bhutan, and understandably, it took some time for me to convey my passion and aspirations to them. It’s natural for parents to be cautious and concerned about their child’s future, as they always want what they perceive to be the best for their children.
Q. How do you ensure that you stay fit and strong as being a dancer needs more energy?
A. In my endeavor to stay fit and nourish my body, I actively focus on maintaining a healthy diet. Apart from a balanced diet, I have discovered the benefits of practicing yoga as a means to stay fit.
Q. Do you teach private lessons or group lessons?
A. In the past, I used to impart dance lessons to others, sharing my knowledge and expertise. However, at present, I have transitioned into a student role, focusing on my own learning and development. I have made the decision to step away from teaching for now, as I believe there is still much for me to explore and absorb as a dancer. I am excited to embark on the next chapter of my journey by joining college in New York to further enhance my dancing skills. For now, I eagerly anticipate embracing the role of a dedicated learner, immersing myself in the college environment, and embracing the opportunities that lie ahead to further my dance education.
“Believing in yourself is very important. I am not saying it just right now; I always emphasize this whenever I speak to anyone. It’s always about having faith in yourself.”