RIDY SHEIKH ELABORATES ON HER DANCING CAREER AND HER NEW CLOTHING VENTURE.
What is your earliest memory of dancing?
I think the earliest memory I have is when I was around 3-4 years old, and I was watching an iconic dance by Madhuri on TV, trying to copy her facial expressions and steps.That is even captured by my mother on video! She is my favourite videographer since then. During our days in Russia, Bangla and Hindi music videos played an essential role in keeping us connected to our South Asian culture.
When did you decide you wanted to do this (dancing) professionally?
There was no clear decision. I always say – ‘I didn’t choose dance; dance chose me.’ I am a professionally trained musician with eight years of classical European choir and piano, and I also have a degree with distinction in International Economics and Relations, Foreign Affairs. I even have a diploma course from a leading modelling school in Russia. However, I have absolutely no formal dance education. Yes, I took a lot of single classes, even attending workshops, training abroad, performing internationally and I wasa akways selected to be a lead to dance on the front row. Still, dance was just an additional activity for me to understand the music or to be attached to our culture. I never focused on dance. However, destiny had its plans for me. When I did my first reality show in Ukraine in 2012, everyone realised I had exceptional talent and interest in dance, and dance took me to places I never thought I could go. Everything happened quite naturally as if this path was destined for me.
Besides being one of the most popular contemporary dancers in the country, you are also a budding entrepreneur. Please tell us a bit about Gemini by Ridy Sheikh.
The idea of Gemini by Ridy Sheikh was in my head for a long time! I had a lot of problems styling my outfits in Bangladesh. I decided that it is time for me to create products according to my preferences, something I would like to wear myself, but cannot find ready-made here in Bangladesh.
WHEN I DID MY FIRST REALITY SHOW IN UKRAINE IN 2012, EVERYONE REALISED I HAD EXCEPTIONAL TALENT AND INTEREST IN DANCE, AND DANCE TOOK ME TO PLACES I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD GO.
The idea of Gemini is to have a 2-in-1 variation for every piece. Your piece can be casual or it can be formal; the asymmetric formal shirt can become very funky just by unbuttoning on the side and making it off-shoulder, a crop top is good with high-waisted pants or can be styled with a casual saree and the list goes on! There is a lot of variation and you can style the outfits however it’s comfortable for you. And that’s the main idea of my brand – perfect quality with diversified ways of styling. I am getting a very positive response and am driven to make more clothes and designs!
Over the years, you have been in several viral productions; which are the ones you are most proud of?
If I talk about projects in Bangladesh, it’s the Bondhurey music video without a doubt. The amount of hard work and love I put into this project was huge. Preproduction took a few months, and I had a lot of freedom as an artist in that project. In the end, the response we’ve received and are still receiving is fantastic. If I talk about international projects, there are two, the first one is The ethnic origins of beauty, a photo project by Russian-French journalist Natalia Ivanova, which received a UNESCO acknowledgement. I was the face of the Bengali nation and it was a huge honour for me. This project went viral in Europe and was featured in several international publications such as the Daily Mail UK. The second one is my participation in the Indian reality show Dance Plus as a member of the House of Suraj. My childhood dream came true and I was able to work in the heart of the Bollywood industry and interact with a lot of key people. The experience really helped me to grow as an artist.
Photographs: Artem Savateev