I traveled all the way to London for some Bollywood realness!

HELLO DANCEWITHSL FAM! It's been a hot minute since I've posted on my channel and that's because (you'll already know if you follow me on Instagram)....I've been in LONDON! I journeyed for the first time ever to the UK to teach a Bollywood Master Class and do a special collab (details will be on all my social media about that one!). Thank you so much to the lovely people at Absolute Bollywood for hosting my class at Pineapple Dance Studios, and the BIGGEST thank you to all these talented and hungry souls that came to develop themselves as professional Bollywood dancers. It's the most important thing to always keep training and it was so refreshing to see a group of such talent that completely recognized and embraced the challenge. London, we will meet again soon :)

x, SL
 

Presenting the #ANAChallenge!

CONTEST ALERT!

I got together with UpsideDown and Urban Asian Music to bring you the #ANAChallenge! Enter for your chance to win some CASH to help your dance & music endeavors....or just go on a shopping spree.

1st place: $500
2nd place: $250
3rd place: $100

HOW TO ENTER: 
1. Make a cute video and upload it on YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook
2. Tag @djupsidedown @shereenladha @urbanasianmusic (Must be following these accounts)
3. Use the hashtag #ANAchallenge
Submit by July 30, 2017 11:59PM EST. Winners will be announced on Aug 5!

Music: Aaja Ni Aaja - UpsideDown
Choreography: Rohit Rumpal
Director: Anil Mohabir
Cinematography/Edit: Michael Rae (http://raer.co)
My outfit & Jewelry: Chandan Fashion
Hair & Tikka Placement: RJK Mehndi

Partnering with Happiness2Others to Raise Money for the Aga Khan Foundation!

This week I'm partnering up with Happiness 2 Others this week in a friendly competition with #ShijiniDas to raise money for the Aga Khan Foundation!

For 50 years, the Aga Khan Foundation has been committed to working with communities across Africa and Asia to break the cycle of poverty. The Aga Khan Foundation is different. They don’t just provide services or goods. 100% of your donations go to the programs. They dedicate themselves to partnering with communities to improve their quality of life for decades and generations. As a member of the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the world’s leading poverty solutions networks, AKF makes long term investments, from early childhood programs to universities that benefit 2 million students every year. They build hospitals and schools, to make sure everyone has access to world-class institutions. They work with people to serve their community and build their local economy. AKF’s work impacts tens of millions in over 30 countries every year. How are they able to do this? Through partnerships with businesses, local organizations, governments, and people like you!

Make your donations here: https://www.happiness2others.org/ Last day to donate is THIS SUNDAY!

Thanks for your support, my dancewithSL fam!

Jeena: A Meeting

Happy video day dancewithSL fam!
I got to collaborate with the AMAZING Rajat "Rocky" Batta when I travelled to LA a few weeks ago, and also teach 3 classes at his school "RRB Dance Company"
This one is about a chance encounter - one of those that leads to feel something to instantly and unreasonably.
Enjoy!
 

Baarish - Storytelling Through Movement

Happy video day my dancewithSL fam!
Here’s my latest piece of work to Baarish from the new film Half Girlfriend (0:57 guy doesn’t make an appearance, but hopefully Gowtham @gothamTO will do!) This song is so great and I find it’s always the vocals that really get me in songs like this. Lately, I’ve been feeling really inspired by lyrics and melody, and I’m focused on creating little pieces of art in my videos rather than just straight choreography videos – hope you guys are down with this new direction ☺ Don’t worry, I’ll be back with the Bollywood Hip Hop to all your favourite Bollywood hits soon! Thanks to my friend Anil Mohabir (@anilmohabir) for filming this! Check him out (he’s your expert on all things 360 video!)
Don’t forget to like, comment, SUBSCRIBE, hit that notification button, and ENJOY ☺
xo, SL

Mastani & her Angels - Aayat

Happy Wednesday everyone!

My new video is officially out on YouTube! 

This piece has been a long time in the making for me. I loved this song from Bajiao Mastani and was so inspired by the look and beauty of the whole film. I started choreographing this piece back in June 2016 and finally brought it to life as part of Roots: A Journey Through India. I love everything about Aayat (and Bajirao Mastani) from its epic Bollywood proportions to the graceful dancing with Indian classical movement and the lyrics to every song. Don't forget to like, comment, subscribe, and request my next song! 

Thank you to my team that helped me bring this piece to life:
My outfit & Jewelry courtesy of: Chandan Fashion (@chandanfashion) 
My angels: Shaila Premji (@shailapremji), Simran Manghirmalani (sim_sim_ma), Manushi Patel (manushi.patel), and Felicia Hyman (fefenostalgia)
My videographer: Gowtham Ratnaraj (@gothamTO)
My on set assistant: Rahim Printer (@printerror1)

Check out the pictures and video below!

SL.

New Remix, Throwback Costumes!

First off, SO MANY MEMORIES with this song! I actually used to dress up in this costume and make my brother do all Akshay Kumar's parts (he probably hates me for it now, but I know he secretly had fun then).

It's always so fun creating pieces with one of my faves Pratik Marathe. He's the funniest guy you'll ever meet and just makes shoots so much fun. 

Check it out! xo, SL

New Video Alert: Badri Ki Dulhania!

This week's video is to Badri Ki Dulhania - a new song that I absolutely LOVE! Also love that it's not just a remake of some 90s song (my current pet peeve). I created this one with my brother from another mother Rahim (@printerror1) and Gotham Photography (@gothamTO). Enjoy & don't forget to subscribe to my channel! :)

Getting personal with CBC Arts

I'm so proud to have been profiled as a feature artist on CBC Arts "Exhibitionists" for a special International Women's Day episode. This piece was created by Nile and Jorden from Through The Eyes. We started this project back in December when I met them for the first time at a coffee shop. We talked stories - why I dance, what motivates me as an artist. They really got to know and understand my story and told it in the most beautiful way. 
P.S. That's my little cousin who plays the younger me! She was so excited to be on TV :)

Check it out here

New Video Alert: The Humma Song!

Y'all went IN on the requests for this one so HERE YOU GO! The original Humma from Bombay is actually one of my favourite songs of all time and this is a rare remix that actually did justice to the original. I'm even more excited about this choreo because my dancers will be performing it in front of AR Rahman HIMSELF this Saturday at the Ideal Dreams AR Rahman Tribute show!

Videography by the amazing Safira Halani - @safirahalani 

PS GET ALL MY BOYS SWAGGY DANCEWITHSL MERCH HERE

It's my birthday!

Instead of doing this ritual on New Years, I usually take the time to reflect on the past year on my birthday (I guess it helps that it falls in January at the beginning of the year!).

This year...

  • I found my dream job and moved to a cute new condo downtown Toronto
  • I produced my first viral YouTube video that got picked up by BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, etc., and was shared all around the world
  • I judged a whole lot of competitions including the ULTIMATE - Bollywood America in Cleveland
  • I was in my first national campaign for Ford Canada as a social influencer, on billboards all over Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver
  • I produced my first video at the YouTube space in Toronto and formed an AMAZING YouTube Toronto community
  • I choreographed the Opening & Closing Ceremonies at the Jubilee Games in Dubai with the most amazing team of dancers & coordinators
  • I produced my first stage show Roots - A Journey Through India (which already had two performances in Fredericton and Toronto, and where I formed my new family)
  • I was named one of YouTube's Top 15 Up & Coming Canadian creators as part of YouTube NextUp

...And I danced a WHOLE lot!

Last year, I never thought I would top 2015's accomplishments, but here I am wondering where I found the time to sleep all year, and feeling all kinds of excitement for the year ahead of me.

Thank you to everyone who's been along on this ride with me over the last year. Your support and encouragement means everything to me.

To accomplishing exponentially more this year,
SL.

A Look Back at 2016...

Happy New Year From Laila!

Happy New Year y'all! Here's a little something I put together for a special edition NYE video! It has my favourite filmy dancer, Pratik Marathe, in it it and was filmed by @GothamTO!

I love the original version of this song - Laila O Laila - and it's rare that a new version does the original justice, but I was still super inspired by the sound of this new track Laila Main Laila from Raees (doesn't hurt that my fave Shah Rukh Khan is in it too!)

Like, comment, subscribe, and enjoy! :)

New Master Class Video!

Hey fam! Check out the video from my latest master class! I choreographed to "Nachna Aaonda Nahin" (a remake on Nachna Onda Nei - one of my all time faves!). Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, & enjoy :)

The Next Canadian YouTube Stars!

I feel SO incredibly lucky to have spent last week at the YouTube Space in Toronto for YouTube NextUp! The program is essentially a five-day bootcamp where 15 YouTube channels - deemed the up and coming Canadian YouTube Stars - got to learn everything from video production to strategy to creating video concepts.

I have to say the absolute best part of last week was vibing off everyone there - the YouTube faculty and staff, our mentors, and my fellow Youtubers. I'm so incredibly inspired by all of you and am so happy to be part of our little Canadian YouTube community!

I learned so much this past week, and I'm leaving inspired to create even MORE videos for all of you! Stay tuned for some epic content in 2017!

Until then, enjoy pictures and some interviews from #YTNEXTUP!

#ROOTSTOUR does Toronto!

And it's a wrap for our second stop for the #ROOTSTOUR, Roots: A Journey Through India! 

All the posts, messages, and calls of congratulations are making me feel so loved, but I wanted to take this time to acknowledge the VILLAGE it took to put this show together. I could absolutely not have done this without the support and help of these people:

My parents - Without you, our show would have started and ended in Fredericton. Thank you for nurturing and supporting my art all these years, and for always believing in my work.  

Infuzion Artisty (@infuzionartistry) - My partners in crime for this show! Thank you for your dedication and passion, and for always stepping up when I needed it. This is just the start of a long partnership together. Deepta - thank you for creating with me. I had forgotten how great the process can be with another creative. Pamesha - thank you for your amazing work ethic and your incredibly admirable selfless personality. 

Mathan Thava - Owner of Aizen Academy who let us take over his studio every Sunday morning. Mathan does what he does because he truly believes in artists and our work. Thank you so much for all your support - seeing you every Sunday has made you part of our Roots family!

Afsha Virani - I met Afsha working on the Jubilee Games for Dubai this past July. She took our designs (meticulously sketched out by Deepta) and turned them into the most beautiful costumes. Afsha is the kind of designer that never takes shortcuts, despite a huge time crunch, and for that work ethic, I know this is just the beginning of a long working relationship and friendship. 

Ken Fong (@kensbighead) - My amazing photographer who never fails to go above and beyond. You are so wildly talented, and I'm so lucky I had you to capture this show!

Safira Halani (@safirahalani) & Team - My amazing videographer, who always just intuitively knows exactly what I want/how to capture it. So grateful to have you in my life!

Jasmine Virani (@beautybyjasminev) - For making my cast (boys included) look FLAWLESS! Thank you for being so enthusiastic about working on this show - it made me so happy! Your work was excellent.

The Toronto & Fredericton audiences, Fredericton Playhouse theatre/Indo-Canadian association, and AKM staff  - Some of you came as our family, but you all left as part of our family. Thank you for your cheers, for laughing with us, crying with us, and going on this adventure with us.

Last (but most CERTAINLY not least), my cast: You guys are the stars of this show. Know that everything you put into this show and all the work you did, did not go unnoticed. Roots isn't my show - it's ours. To 2017 - a year of more for the #ROOTSTOUR! 

Bollyshakers Spread #WeDreamWeRise with Girl Rising India

I'm so excited to share my participation in this campaign with you guys! I teamed up with the fiercest female influencers of Bollyshake for Girl Rising India. We all shared our dreams as Part 1 of this campaign...part 2 coming soon :)

Check it out here

"I have a belief that we are measured by the impact we have on others. I dream of working in a world where we don't tear each other down as a s result of our own insecurities and feelings of being threatened by the perception of a limited number of opportunities, but where we act like a community, a collective, and build each other up. As one of the pioneers of the online Bollywood dance movement, I've seen the growth of the community and know the potential we have to start a real change in the way society looks at Bollywood dance. We have the potential to create the opportunities that are now lacking - but we have to do it together."