The Ballet Sisters (Abhigya & Pourvi)

Updated: Jan 11

Contrasted by their individual love for Bharatnatyam and Taekwondo, the Dighe

sisters have finally found a common ground in ballet and neither one is calling it

quits. Ever since Pourvi and Abhigya started learning ballet through online sessions

a year and a half ago, they have grown immensely in grace and confidence. Let’s

find out how they are staying motivated and what ballet means for this young

talented duo.


When did you both start learning ballet and how are the classes conducted?

Pourvi – It has been one year 8 months, to be exact, since we were introduced to

ballet. My sister Abhigya and I both started taking virtual ballet classes under our

Brazilian instructor Euclícia Queiroz de Holanda in group sessions that are

conducted twice a week.


What made you’ll want to learn ballet?

Pourvi – I have always been fascinated with ballet. I remember being instantly

inspired when my mom showed us a video of a ballerina. Before we knew it, mom

surprised us both by enrolling us for ballet classes. She said ‘you are going to be a

ballerina’ and I was thrilled.

Abhigya – I find ballet to be a beautiful art and I love learning new things, especially

standing on my toes.


What then would you say is your favorite part about ballet?

Pourvi- What I love most about ballet is you get to express yourself. The dance and

music sometimes follow a storyline and as I consider myself to be a good actress, I

love expressing myself while dancing. I love how graceful and confident you appear

when you move and someday, I look forward to performing onstage. The best part

about ballet is that wherever you go, ballet is the same and when you meet other

ballet dancers, it so wonderful to be able to talk about ballet.

Abhigya- I love everything about ballet-the gracefulness, the beauty, the costume,

the steps. I don’t think I can pick out just one thing.


Besides ballet what other hobbies are you’ll pursuing?

Pourvi- I am also learning Bharatnatyam and I find that Bharatanyam and ballet

complement each other. Both these styles have certain similarities. For example,

Ballet’s Plié and Bharatnatyam’s Aramandi are same, both requiring you to keep

your elbows up and pay attention to your lines. Besides dance, I am a budding artist

and I’m completely mesmerized by acting. Someday, I want to study films.

Abhigya – I love martial arts and I’m currently being trained in Taekwondo. I also

love drawing and playing.


How does your ballet instructor make the online classes fun for the students?

Pourvi- Euclícia Ma’am always manages to keep our classes upbeat and exciting.

She plays different kinds of music. Sometimes she plays pop songs in piano version

and all the students get so excited to dance.

Abhigya- Yes, we love her choice of songs in piano version and sometimes students

make requests for more songs but she is so patient; she never turns us down.


Do you enjoy learning ballet with your sibling?

Pourvi- Aside from the minor tiffs over picking chairs or space, we have a lot of fun

and moreover if I forget a step, I know I can just look across and copy Abhigya.

Abhigya soft chuckles at this.


Any funny experiences in class you would like to share with us?

Pourvi- There was this one time, I was feeling a bit tired. Instead of extending my

arm for Port de bras, it was awkwardly bent and my teacher suddenly called out to

me saying “Pourvi, you look like a bird. What are you doing?”. We all had a good

laugh in class that day.


Would you recommend learning ballet online and why?

Pourvi- During the pandemic people got bored of being confined to their homes and

we all needed new ways to express ourselves and develop new hobbies. For me, it

was ballet. You get immersed in it. It made me more aware of myself and my body.

Although the physical classes may be more fun, I feel I can concentrate better on my

lines and movements in the online classes.

Abhigya- I feel one needs to put in extra effort if they are really passionate about

something. Sometimes the virtual classes may have technical difficulties and you

may lose your timing and beat but it’s very important to keep learning and practicing.


Speaking about practice, how many hours a day do you dedicate to ballet?

Pourvi- I just randomly start dancing ballet in whichever part of the house I am, but I

practice daily for about 30 minutes because I have to manage time between

Bharatnayam, art and acting. So, I’ve even made a time table for this which is really

helpful.

Abhigya- I normally practice for about 10 to 20 minutes a day because more than

practice, I like choreographing ballet steps as they are really fun to do and they

challenge me to do better. I like getting the steps right along with the timing, which

makes it all the more enjoyable.


What according to you are the more important aspects of ballet?

Pourvi- I believe, having good stamina is very important in ballet. You need to be

aware of your body and how much you can move and spin. You also need to have a

lot of confidence in yourself.

Abhigya- For me, getting the steps, the timing and the beats right are absolutely

essential.


Has ballet enhanced your personality and growth in any way?

Pourvi- Yes, it definitely has. I think that ever since I’ve started learning ballet, I’ve

become more sophisticated and elegant in my mannerisms. To build on stamina, I

started focusing not only on my eating habits but also eating right.

Abhigya- I’ve become more graceful in my movements and I can just randomly start

dancing so it has built my confidence tremendously.


What motivates you to continue learning ballet?

Pourvi- Watching other performances keeps me motivated because I know that if I

continue, with dedication, one day, I too will be able to dance that way. Moreover, my

mom watches us and admires our grace which is also uplifting.

Abhigya- When I watch other performances, I am motivated to learn new

choreography and then show my mom or anyone who is willing to be my audience.


What do you’ll both wish to be when you’ll grow up?

Pourvi- I would love to be an actress and an influencer but I also want to do

something good for society so starting my own NGO is also on my list. Politics and

international movements inspire me a lot and hence writing in a newspaper and

covering stories that don’t normally get covered is something I really want to pursue

if given a chance.

Abhigya- I love a good challenge. Ballet and Taekwondo both are demanding styles

and so I will continue to work hard and someday I will be a ballerina and a big

taekwondo master.


We couldn’t end the interview without speaking to Pourvi and Abhigya’s mother who has been a driving force in the sisters’ passion for ballet. When asked about their journey and growth, here is what she had to say…

I’ve always wanted my girls to learn ballet but travelling in a city like Mumbai is a

herculean task. So, when I chanced upon this opportunity of online classes I rushed

to enroll them. I am glad I didn’t waste any time in doing so because they have a

good teacher from Brazil and they are learning well. Moreover, they are getting

introduced to a new culture as the teacher talks about the festivals and traditions in

her country. This kind of cross-cultural exchange is most welcomed in a global age

like ours.

It’s evident, how both my daughters have become so graceful after starting ballet. It’s

such a joy to see how coordinated they are for those 2 hours of the day when they

have ballet class together. They help each other and also compete with each other. I

had enrolled both Abhigya and Pourvi for Bharatnatyam but Abhigya was not too

eager to continue and she quit. I was skeptical about her liking ballet, nonetheless I

enrolled her as well and she surprised us with her passion and her constant need for

perfection in ballet. Ballet has changed her for the better because the dance form

itself requires you to exercise, do your stretches and eat right. Not just that, from

being a child who doesn’t talk much, in a short span of time we have seen how ballet

has boosted her self-confidence. Moreover, in a day and age where being online is

the new normal, I’ve noticed that even if Abhigya is glued to the screen, it’s because

she is looking at ballet performances and she is curious about international dance

venues like Vienna where these ballet shows take place.



“Abhigya and Pourvi are two very precious jewels. In the very first class I noticed Pourvis' genuine interest in dancing. I also noticed her expressiveness. She has a strong presence and is a born artist.
Abhigya, at first, was quite shy and didn't seem to have the same level of interest as her sister but at some point, surprisingly, she started to have good agility in technical movements, in addition to showing a lot of intelligence when memorising the
choreography and noticing the proper tempo of the song.
I am very happy with the progress of these girls. It is encouraging that ballet makes not only a dancer, but a strong and confident individual.Euclícia Queiroz de Holanda, ballet Instructor at The Bombay Ballet
Company


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