Anaya Bolar and the ISTD Bursary Award
27 December 2017
As we approach the ISTD Bursary Awards 2018, we caught up with Anaya Bolar to find out how she’s getting on with her training, just a year after achieving a commendation in the 2016 Bursary Awards.
Anaya Bolar is currently in the final year of her Sports Medicine degree at Coventry University, but returns each weekend to Birmingham to continue her dance training and teaching. Since her success at the Bursary Awards in 2016, Anaya has been determined to pursue dance professionally, a venture that still faces challenges in the classical Indian dance sector. The significant monetary prize that she received, however, has stood her in good stead. “It has given me the headspace to just move forwards with my training,” she related to me. She has saved the £2,000 prize money for professional training in India this December, where she hopes to learn from a variety of teachers and also invest in Carnatic music training, which is essential for the holistic understanding of Bharatanatyam.
I asked her about the experience of participating in the Bursary Awards, to which she gave me some colourful anecdotes. It was not a breeze, she recalls. When she arrived for the competition, she found herself surrounded by contemporary and ballet dancers who seemed extraordinary and virtuosic, leaping across the warm-up space effortlessly. “They were all doing splits and whatnot, and there I was in my corner, trying to recite my mantra.” However, her Bharatanatyam skills shone through for the judging panel and she was selected for the senior commendation, which she says has been life-changing.
Not only has it given her the finances to access professional training, she has also made a good friend and collaborator in Kaine Ward, who danced as her duet partner in a contemporary piece for BBC Young Dancer.
“The atmosphere backstage at the Bursary Awards was lovely and we were cheering each other on,” she recalls. “I knew as soon as I saw Kaine dance that I had to collaborate with him.” The duo was choreographed by contemporary dancer-choreographer Subhash Gorania, and the piece received substantial attention. Kaine has gone to the Juilliard School in New York and Anaya is delighted for him and their future friendship. Since their collaboration, she has also conducted a Bharatanatyam workshop at his old school, Tring Park School for Performing Arts.
The Bursary Awards have undoubtedly opened many doors for Anaya, and the Classical Indian Dance Faculty is excited to be hosting the next round of selections for the 2018 Bursary Awards, with optimistic hope that another Indian Classical Dancer can go on to shine.