Dancing is not what I do. It’s who I am”.
She doesn’t dance because it is merely a captivating art form. She dances because it is an untamed manifestation of her very being. Hence, “Dance is not what I do but who I am,” serves as one of the core principles of Devi R. Ramcharitar, a gifted Guyanese dancer.
Growing up in the serene countryside offered Ramcharitar an adventurous childhood, but the beauty of dance became an instant attraction at just the age of five and has since become second nature to her.
The former Richard Ishmael Secondary School student recalled that it was at that tender age that she did her first dance performance and fell in love with the art form and all its elements which include the extravagant costumes, elaborate stage make up and of course the different styles of dancing.
“As I grew older I learned that there is so much more to dancing than the mesmerizing techniques and the outlandish costumes. It is the power of enchanting and inspiring people through dancing. It is indeed a satisfying experience for the dancer and her audience.”
The Graduate of Nayeli’s School of Cosmetology asserted that she is inspired by Bollywood Indian Classical dancer, Rekha, who danced for years and also started at the age of five. She too has a strong background in various classical dances, with many awards to her name.
Though she has taken time off to successfully earn a Diploma in microcomputer studies and a certificate in public management, her love for dance led her to other ambitious youths who share the same passion for dance, which soon saw the establishment of The Dance Academy in April 2013.
While Ramcharitar serves as the Director, Nirvanie Manniram holds the Manager’s position. Other members include Nirmela Govinda, Hema Manniram, Kushboo Sookwah, Priya Deokaran, Devi Singh, Thakur Jagbandhan, Vishanand Narayan, Denisha Singh, Hashim Alli, Melicia Pertab.
The Academy today specializes in Bollywood, Classical, Semi-classical and Chutney, but choreography is limitless. It incorporates hip-hop, salsa, bachata and African dance, too, as the dancers of the institute are also skilled and diverse.
So far, Ramcharitar and her group have participated in over 90 shows countrywide including the Indian Arrival Mela, Anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, private functions, as well as Diwali and Phagwah celebrations at the national level.
“Our experience has been mind-blowing thus far and we have received tremendous support from everyone we have met along our journey. It’s a learning experience and we look forward to the future in this industry,” she added.
She said, too, that commitment and discipline are key character traits of the academy. To support this, she emphasized that rehearsals for example, are held every day from the afternoon to wee hours in the morning.
The talented dancer added, “I can recall that our hardest preparation was when we had to prepare our first show entitled Dancing Enchanters. Preparation began five months in advance and would normally be everyday, but the fruit from this was very sweet and I would do it all over again to relive that experience.”
Ramcharitar stressed that dancing is one of the most beautiful art forms and she prides herself in being able to establish an academy that helps aspiring dancers to elevate themself by boosting their self-esteem.
“If you’re a member of my academy, it is not only guaranteed that you will blossom into an amazing dancer, but also into a well-rounded individual with good values, norms and ethics. Dance really and truly is a powerful and transformative means of self-expression.”
“My passion for dancing and my love for music continue to grow each day. Additionally, dancing helps me to explore my beautiful country and its wonderful people. It helps me to break borders and excel beyond them. I wish to add also that I am grateful to my dancers. They are my biggest motivation and the love I get from them in return is simply priceless,” she expressed appreciatively.
The ambitious woman has her sights set on performing internationally with her academy and to owning multiple dance studios countrywide. Considering her belief in the power of selflessness, she hopes to host annual concerts, blood drives, feeding programmes and community outreach initiatives through her academy in order to give back to the unfortunate.
Ramcharitar is also a certified Youth Camp Leader who is an active member of many youth organizations. She volunteers in activities aimed at empowering teenagers, particularly young women. She also volunteers her services at the Diamond Special Needs School where she assists students with disabilities to develop hidden skills.
The Dance Academy Director said that she is proud of her team, especially the way in which they carry themselves on and off of the stage, the everlasting bond shared among them and most importantly, the respect and the passion they have for dancing.
In her own words, here are five fun facts about Devi R. Ramcharitar
1) I would occasionally burst out dancing uncoordinated.
2) I normally sing wrong lyrics out loud.
3) I treat my lipsticks like people (lol.)
4) I would make jokes when I’m in a bad situation
5) I name my pets after vicious speed vehicles