~ She is responsible for creating a digital dance installation for Varun Dhawan’s statue at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
~ Co-Hosted Bollywood Baes with Saaj Raja – Hong Kong’s first Bollywood couples dance workshop.
~ A Bollywood style fitness collaboration with one of HK’s biggest fitness and lifestyle YouTube creators – Emi Wong
Hanisha Gianani is your quintessential millennial-next-door. She is the gen-next digital marketer by day and a YouTuber by evening. While she is busy activating her right brain cells when at work, she doesn’t deter away from fully utilising the same energy towards her dance moves. HKYantoYan caught up with Hanisha (Founder of YouTube Channel Ek 2 Three) to know more about her versatile life.
1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and background?
I was raised in Hong Kong, went to college in London, and returned to Hong Kong to pursue my career in marketing strategy, which I’ve now been doing for 6 years. In 2015, I completed my MBA at The University of Hong Kong and London Business School.
On the dance side of things: I’ve been dancing since young age at school competitions, cultural shows, or simply in front of the TV trying to copy the dance moves from a Bollywood music video. Over the years I’ve explored various different styles such as Bollywood, hip hop, jazz funk and bellydance. But the real turning point was when I choreographed my best friend’s sangeet 2 years ago – this sparked my decision to transform my passion for Bollywood and dance into a choreography venture, which is now Ek 2 Three!
2. Working full-time as a digital marketer, how do you manage to take time and pursue dancing on the side?
It’s crazy. It takes a lot of motivation and discipline to ensure I’m doing justice to both my passion and my profession. I’ve been lucky because my workplace has been super supportive and encouraging of my love for Bollywood dance. I teach Bollywood classes at my workplace, and have had the opportunity to choreograph several performances too. Because it’s a company that truly supports work life balance, I’ve been able to manage both sides of my life considerably well. Caveat: I’ve had to sacrifice many hours of sleep, but it’s been worth it.
3. How is Bollywood dance perceived in HK? It’s getting quite popular in the recent years amongst the locals, what are your thoughts on this?
I’m truly amazed to see the way Hong Kong is embracing not only Bollywood, but all forms of traditional Indian dance. I’ve attended several classical dance shows where most of the performers were Chinese. I’m constantly in awe of the way they execute Indian dance styles with such beauty, grace and talent.
Another reason why Bollywood dance is popular among the local community is because it’s a super fun and vibrant workout. To me, there are so many ways to infuse Bollywood into fitness classes, given that the music is already so upbeat, energizing and happy.
4. Quite obviously with the name @ek2three, you seem to be a Madhuri Dixit fan – are you?
Of course, it’s impossible not to love her! For me, Bollywood dance is all about the expressions, and how well you can engage the audience with your face and your eyes. Nobody does this better than Madhuri Dixit. Ek 2 Three’s choreography draws inspiration from not only Madhuri, but all the sparkling heroines, the eccentric heroes and melodramatic desi romance we see in Bollywood movies. I love them all – The Sheilas, the Chiknis and the Chammak Challos, and try to add a bit of their character into all my dance pieces.
5. What are some future collaborations in-store for your viewers?
My most recent collaboration was with Funjabi Bhangra Hong Kong – they’re a very fun group to work with. I love dancing with different types of artists, because I learn something new from each person or group I collaborate with. Next month, I have a video cover coming up to ‘Naah’ by Harrdy Sandhu
6. What are your some inhibitions?
It’s always a little scary to put yourself out there on the Internet, open to people’s blunt opinions, judgment and criticism. I was a little more sensitive and self-conscious in the beginning, but I quickly learnt that it’s important to have thick skin and use all the constructive criticism to continuously try and improve my work.
7. Which choreographers/Youtuber’s inspire you?
There are way too many, but on the top of my list is Manpreet Toor. She embodies everything I admire in a dancer – grace, mesmerizing expressions, and creative choreography. A few of my other favourites:
- Arunima Dey: Her body moves like magic, and there’s so much soul in every step she executes
- Sonali Bhadauria: Her growth on YouTube is immensely inspirational, and her choreo is kickass
- Anisha Babbar: Every dance video she creates is such an intricate production with so much attention to deal. After creating videos for 1 year now, I know how difficult the execution can be, so it’s really admirable, and something I aspire to be able to recreate too.
- Team Naach: Fun-to-watch, well-choreographed dance pieces that are always on point
What’s been truly amazing over the past year is to be part of such a universal and borderless world of music and dance. I’ve been able to interact with and take inspiration from dancers and artists from all over the world. As a self-taught dancer, this for me has been the greatest source of learning and growth.
8. Lastly, what is one piece of advice you always give?
Smile and enjoy yourself, that’s the most important part of the dance. It’s really as simple as Ek 2 Three 😉