Honey Kalaria on being branded the Bollywood Ambassador to the UK

Honey Kalaria on being branded the Bollywood Ambassador to the UK

Reena Ranger, Chair of Women Empowered, is In Conversation with Honey Kalaria as part of her regular series for ‘iGlobal’ to explore some inspirational facets from the life and achievements of prominent Global Indians.

Honey Kalaria is a UK-based professional dance artiste, media presenter and mind-body-soul expert, offering online training and coaching to global audiences to help develop their creative hobbies and performing arts careers. Dr Kalaria’s work focuses on providing education and inspiration through various media, including through the “Power Of Creative Arts” platform and interviews she conducts called “Keys To Life Mastery”. She is also the Founder of Honey’s Dance Academy, which went on to run 20 centres in the UK since its launch in 1997 and was counted among the country’s leading Bollywood dance schools.

When people hear the name Honey, they immediately think of Honey’s Dance Academy. How did your dance journey begin?

I started dancing from the age of four, performing professionally from age of 13, and training Bollywood stars by age of 16 years. Since than I have experienced many successes, challenges and learnt many lessons to help me with personal growth whilst on my journey of promoting dance, art and culture.

Working in films helped me achieve the Best Bollywood International Artist Award, and by being the Founder of Honey’s Dance Academy, I had the pleasure of teaching over half a million students of all cultural backgrounds over the years, many of whom have enjoyed powerful transformation through dance in various ways. I have been blessed and had the pleasure of winning many awards, working as both a radio and television presenter, coordinating and choreographing dance routines for film and television projects, teaching meditation and offering coaching to help develop dance skills and performing arts careers of thousands.

During my journey I was nominated as one of the top three Asian businesswomen in the UK, received a Masters Degree in Public Relations, presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Arts and got certified in “Global Diplomacy”, which were all very helpful in helping me along my journey of promoting dance globally.

Along the way, I was invited to become a Member of the Mayor’s Appeal Committee to help organise staging local fundraising events, and I took up the opportunity as I believe everyone should contribute and give back to the community.

You are a Guinness World Record holder, a fantastic achievement; what are some of your career highlights?

Every person who has shown some kind of amazing feat, performs an outstanding measurable activity or displays being best at something, becomes a Guinness world record holder and is entitled to receiving a certificate, as well as gets their name added into the ‘Guinness World Records’ book. I broke my record on Sky 1’s “Guinness World Records Smashed” television programme, presented by Steve Jones and Konnie Huq, that features record attempts, celebrity guests and death-defying stunts.

My challenge was to get the largest studio audience to learn a Bollywood dance routine in the shortest time possible. Although I must have appeared in more than 500 television shows and programmes, this particular event was an incredible experience. The atmosphere was high energy, the studio audience was packed with fantastic participants and I enjoyed the challenge and introducing Bollywood dance to many who had never tried this form of Indian dance before.

My journey within the field of dance has brought so much joy and many highlights, including getting an opportunity to become an Advisory Member of the National Dance Council to help promote South Asian dance in the UK, an Ambassador to the Duke Of Edinburgh Award, presenting awards and speeches at St. James’ Palace, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, and invited to become a Global Ambassador for Commonwealth Entrepreneurs’ Club, which operates in 54 countries to help develop cross-country business development.

Recently, I won an award for “Best Dance & Performing Arts Coach – UK” 2020, in the Global Media Innovation Awards.

How would you best describe your relationship with the UK and India?

I have an amazing relationship with both the UK and India. The UK is the most cosmopolitan country I know, with its most renowned landmarks, and where I live and have been brought up. A place known for red buses, black cabs, the Big Ben, The Beatles, Spice Girls, Stonehenge, Robin Hood, Oxford University, Shakespeare and the Royal Family, amongst so many other famous things. It’s a country that has provided me with a lot of great opportunities, and a place to develop my talents and achieve many of my goals.

India is my motherland, a country known for its spirituality, rich culture and colourful traditions. A country known as a mother of so many inventions, the Taj Mahal, River Ganges, Indian spices, Mahatma Gandhi, Yoga, beautiful temples, cricket, rickshaws, and of course, Bollywood. Being a British Indian, I have enjoyed the best of both worlds.

I have worked on many projects that develop East-West relations, promotes cultural diversity and am popularly known as a Bollywood Ambassador to the UK. India is a place I visit regularly, mainly to visit my relatives, travel, develop projects and attend spiritual meditation retreats.

Both the UK and India are dear to me and I take pride in being able to represent both countries, in the best way possible through my work, by developing Indo-Western relations, using many ways ranging from encouraging business collaborations, to working on Bollywood projects in the UK. Also, through to teaching the Western world about developing inner peace through Eastern methods such as Dhyan Yoga.

What are the lessons you have learned during the Covid-19 lockdown?

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact across the world and has definitely affected our daily lives as never seen or felt before in our lifetime. The virus has not only spread so rapidly but forced each one of us to adopt innovative work methods, adapt to new ways of living and prevented us from socialising, meeting our loved ones and staging large gatherings or special events.

We can observe and learn many lessons during times like this. Firstly, rapid spread of such viruses and the destruction it causes in terms of lost lives and negative impact on the local and global economy is dreadful. Secondly, we have had to radically reimagine how to work, educate and shop, which previously were ways of living we took for granted. Thirdly, family and friends who decided to visit from abroad were expected to quarantine for 10-14 days and live in isolation. Meanwhile, additional hospital spaces were prepared to deal with the increased number of patients expected to suffer from coronavirus.

Some use the theory of sin and say that this is God punishing the world, however my belief is that if God – which we call Higher Power – is there, then he would represent love, compassion, patience and forgiveness, not wrath, anger and destruction. Therefore, such events are more likely to be created by other means, or humans knowingly or unknowingly.

Lessons I personally learnt from all this and other out of the ordinary things, was that the universe does not differentiate between race, colour, country or language, nor does it provide any concrete explanations about why so many innocent people have to suffer. The universe works in inexplicable ways and even though there has been extensive advancement of science, humans still have not been able to find ways of preventing such calamities.

Unfortunately, we learn, human knowledge and wisdom has limitations. Also, nature has its own ways, and nothing happens without a reason. So there may be some hidden purpose and lessons for the whole of humanity to learn.

Reena Ranger is the Chair and Co-Founder of Women Empowered. In this exclusive multi-media “In Conversation” series for ‘iGlobal’, the dynamic entrepreneur-philanthropist catches up with high-achieving Global Indians across different fields to spotlight some insightful life lessons.

*The views expressed in the answers are of the interviewees.

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