By PACIFIC ENG
The art of dance purposefully combines careful movements into a continuous performance. Shivani Lamba (Sr.) has found her place on the dance stage, and her endless commitment and discipline has earned her a nomination for Artist of the Month by Mr. Edward Johnson (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.). This is her fourth year contributing her talents in dance and choreography to University High School’s Dance Company.
Lamba began dancing when she was 8 years old, starting with a classical Indian dance called Kathak because her mother was also a Kathak dancer. “To be honest, I didn’t really love it in the beginning,” said Lamba. “After I started expanding my horizons and branching out into a multitude of styles as I grew older, I gained appreciation and love for all dance styles.”
Lamba has been a dedicated member of Dance Company since she began high school, and Mr. Johnson has been there with her through it all. “Shivani came in as such a powerful dancer with such passion as a freshman, and now, everything has become so much more refined,” he said.
Even coming in as an experienced dancer, Lamba has grown tremendously at her time performing at UHS. “Dance Company has really helped me understand dance beyond the movement. Dance is what happens between the tricks,” she said. Lamba is motivated to become better by her mother, her Indian dance teacher, fellow dancers and Mr. Johnson.
To Lamba, one of her favorite parts of dance is how diverse all the different styles of the art are. Her favorite Dance Company performances are the annual shows. “I’ve gotten the chance to learn and perform various styles including contemporary, hip-hop, modern, African, Jazz, Ballroom, Hula and Bollywood.”
Mr. Johnson has seen Lamba perform an entire range of dances. “She does so many different types of dance and translates that joy and hard work into whatever the style is,” he said. “I haven’t yet encountered a style where she doesn’t do well, and I think it’s because of how hard she works.”
Lamba puts countless hours of practice in preparation for a performance. Before a show, she says, “[I feel] a mix between excitement and nervousness. But once I step on the stage and start moving, all the anxiety vanishes.” During a performance, Lamba leaves everything on the stage. “With some dancers, they are limited to certain styles because you can tell they don’t really like what they’re doing,” said Mr. Johnson. “I don’t know if she likes what she’s doing or not but she pursues it as though she does, and I think that makes the audience appreciate it more as well.”
When dancing in a group, Lamba notes, “I love dancing in groups because of the energy and emotion that dancers feed off each other and the connections we make throughout the dance.”
Yet she still finds a way to be unique, according to Mr. Johnson, “I haven’t seen her not truly enjoy a type of dance. That is one of the qualities of a successful dancer and all truly gifted artists. They pour themselves into it and truly find their passion in the moment.”
Having something you put so much time and energy into, and balancing it with everything else you do, takes a lot of perseverance. But if you’re determined enough, it drives you to become better. Shivani Lamba is an outstanding example of this, and she inspires those around her to achieve great things as well. And when the time comes for her to finally showcase everything she has worked for, it all pays off.