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."

#ROOTSTOUR does Fredericton!

Over the past weekend, my cast of Roots: A Journey Through India and I traveled to Fredericton for the world premiere of our show, and squeezed in a master class as well.
Thank you to everyone who came out to watch us, and the Fredericton Playhouse theatre & Association for Indo-Canadians in Fredericton for bringing us out! Can't wait to perform in Toronto on Nov 19 at the Aga Khan Museum!

The A-Z of Indian Dance

Hey guys! 

I'm finally back with a new video that I did in collaboration with J Raj Music and the YouTube Space in Toronto!

A special thank you to the crew at YouTube for helping us create this, all the dancers for always coming through for my projects, Thushanth for the videography, Lamia for all your help on set and in all the prep work, and Infuzion Artistry for the beautiful costumes.

Enjoy & don't forget to subscribe!

Roots: A Journey Through India

I am so proud to announce my production - Roots: A Journey Through India! I'm doing this show in partnership with Infuzion Artistry led by Deepta Banik, and have the most amazingly talented cast. We are touring in Fredericton on Oct 30 and Toronto November 19! 

Get your tickets here if you haven't already! <3 

 

Jubilee Games 2016 in Dubai!

I'm back in Toronto after 2.5 weeks in Dubai, and had a long 14 hour flight to reflect on my experience with the 2016 Jubilee Games. I was blessed with the opportunity to serve as the creative director and choreographer for the Opening Ceremonies (Diversity Dance), Closing Ceremonies (South Asian Performance), and an epic Salim Sulaiman Flashmob! This was absolutely the most trying experience of my life, but also by far the most fulfilling thing I've been able to do with my dance experience thusfar. 

Thank you, first, to my amazing team of dancers. Thank you for turning my vision into reality, thank you for your heart and your passion, thank you for bearing with me through 14 hour rehearsals, and thank you for being so hungry to learn. I hope you were able to learn even a little bit from me in comparison to what I learned from you. Welcome to the dancewithSL fam <3 

Secondly, thank you to the amazing team behind OC/CC - logistics, costumes, tech, hair & makeup. Thank you for your incredible dedication to my pieces even though you had so many others to work on!

Lastly, thank you to everyone who woke up at all hours to watch this around the world. All your messages meant so much to me.

Till 2020,

S.

Let's Nacho!

It felt SO SO SO good to be back teaching a master class again (even despite my sprained ankle)! It was amazing seeing so many new faces in my class. Hope y'all had a good time and come out to the next Toronto class in the fall!

I can't wait to start teaching in more cities! To book a master class in your city - HIT ME UP: dancewithsl@gmail.com

Enjoy the video & make sure to like, comment, subscribe, and keep dancing!

#MoreForAll

So excited and proud to announce that I am part of the Ford Canada #MoreForAll campaign with posters all over Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver! Ford used social influencers for this campaign (which is awesome in itself) - each representing a different value that Ford stands for. My value is discovery - discovery in my process, in learning to create and innovate, and in building relationships with all of you! This whole YouTube Bollywood dance thing has been a major discovery process for me. I've learned so much about myself in the last year, and have built the most amazing relationships with you guys! I'm so happy that you continue to be inspired and learn from my channel. 

The campaign message is something I truly believe in - the idea that we should all be more, do more, and expect more. When my parents first came to Canada, the South Asian community was small and massively underrepresented. I don't think my parents ever pictured the day that they would walk down the streets and see a South Asian person on billboards, let alone their own daughter. I myself never thought that Bollywood dance would take me to the places it did. It's a proud and special moment for my family, and hopefully the community (and Bollywood dancers everywhere) as well! Thank you Ford Canada for letting me be a part of this!

If you see these around your city, take a picture with it and tag me on Instagram/Twitter and use the hashtag #MoreForAll

MASTER CLASS LIVESTREAM!

With my master class coming up on July 9, here's a little video from my last one in Toronto!

Thank you to all my amazing dancers for your pure energy - I love working with so much talent! Sign up for my next master class in Toronto on July 9, and if you're not in Toronto, we'll be doing a LIVESTREAM! RSVP here so you don't miss it https://www.facebook.com/events/286737781665532/

Maafi: Behind the Scenes!

Presenting a little homemade documentary about the process, the rehearsals, the team, and going viral! Thanks for all the endless support you've give us - it means more to us than you'll ever know! A special thank you to my amazing team of dancers, to J Raj Music, and to Ken Fong my amazing photographer! Enjoy! :)

All Maafi footage: Safira Halani (@safirahalani)
Nach Nach Ke - 

More about the team here

Jabra Fan Choreo & CONTEST ALERT!

Since you were all requesting some beginner level choreo, I decided to do a little filmy piece to my favourite song at the moment - Jabra Fan! In creating this piece, I imagined that it was about being a fan of someone on a different level than what the movie intended, which was a fan relationship marked by an obsession with a celebrity. This piece was inspired by the King himself, Shahrukh Khan, and dedicated to my 'Jabra Fan' - my mommy :) 

Special thank yous: The Jabra Fans - Gowtham Ratnaraj (@gothamphotographyTO), Rahim Printer (@printerror1), and Arnold Wallang (@hey_arnold26). Also shoutouts to Thushanth (@thushanthmanohar) for the videography and Babbu the Painter (@babbuthepainter) for the dope tee I'm wearing!

CONTEST ALERT: Are you Dance With SL's biggest fan? Post a photo or video of you doing one of the moves from my Jabra Fan video on Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #dancewithSL/tag me @shereenladha and you'll be entered to win a Dance With SL gift set including brand new MERCH! Contest closes SATURDAY MAY 14, 2016!

Video & BTS pictures from Snapchat below :) Enjoy y'all! 

My Dope new DancewithSL jacket!

Bianca de Zilva of The Jacket Company made this amazing custom piece for me! The jacket is vintage and hand painted and I absolutely LOVE it!  Check them out on Instagram (@thejacketcompany_) and on their website

Bollywood America 2016

I am so honoured to have been one of the judges for the ULTIMATE Bollywood Competition - Bollywood America - in Cleveland this year! I was blown away by the level of talent on the stage and lucky to have witnessed some epic routines. The best part of the weekend was meeting and spending time with my fellow judges. Can't wait to work with you all soon! 

Congratulations to all the teams for putting on a dope show!