This week on The Dance Influence, host Dana Alexa and Co-host Danielle Rose, got to chat with Shivani Bhagwan and Chaya Kumar, the powerhouse female duo that created BFunk.
Bfunk is the first class of its kind, fusing Indian styles of dance like Bhangra and Bollywood with western styles like hip hop and street jazz. Chaya says, “It’s a fusion of our western upbringing with our eastern roots.” The pair started teaching dance classes in Los Angeles and their very first class video went viral. BFunk has now amassed over 1 million subscribers on YouTube and 197K followers on Instagram.
Madhuri Dixit “She is the goddess of dance expression even the way she moves her eyebrows. It’s every girls dream to dance like Madhuri Dixit” -Shivani
The girls met 4 years ago in a Mexican restaurant and quickly became friends. Shivani expressed her realization of a gap in the industry. There were no mainstream classes available for Bollywood and Bhangra styles of dance, despite the large audience of dancers that would benefit from this kind of instruction. “There were no classes where you warm up, you learn a combo and then you film” Shivani says, referencing the now typical commercial class structure in Los Angeles. Her and Chaya teamed up to try to bridge this gap but creating a dance style and building a brand is no easy feat.
After being turned away by several major dance studios in LA, Shivani decided to rent out her own studio space and host the class herself. Shivani and Chaya began to cultivate a resilience that the two would call upon throughout their blossoming career. “Sometimes if opportunity isn’t given to you, you have to create your own” Shivani says. Their very first BFunk class had just 6 people, but the girls knew their idea was gold and persisted. The class grew quickly by word of mouth and soon the classes were so full and in demand that Shivani and Chaya had to take to show on the road and have since toured the country teaching their high energy fusion class.
Social media became a driving force that helped them to open doors. It was their very first class video that caught the eye of the artist, Diljit Dosanjh. He reshared the video of their dance to his track and it caught fire on YouTube. “A year after that we ended up performing with him at IIFA (Indian Oscars)” Shivani says proudly.
Shivani and Chaya have created a space where dancers and non-dancers can feel comfortable to grow and explore. They have lovingly dubbed class participants and BFunk enthusiasts part of the #FunkFam. Want to get in on the action? The duo teaches every Wednesday in Los Angeles at West Coast Dance Theatre at 9pm. If you are outside LA, have no fear. The pair are hard at work making the brand global by getting to work posting online dance tutorials and diligently planning to teach in India! We are so excited to see what’s ahead for #Bfunk in 2020 and beyond.
This article was co-written by Danielle Rose and Dana Alexa.
About The Author:
Danielle Rose is a North Carolina native currently living LA and pursuing a career in dance. Danielle grew up with a love for musical theater. After a prolific theater career on the East Coast, she was awarded the Choreographer’s Award and Best Ensemble Member Award by the director of the Sanderson Theater department. Since moving to Los Angeles Danielle has trained consistently in hip hop, jazz funk and heels styles of dance. She is a part of Collabor8 Dance Company and has performed at Carnival, World of Dance LA and New York, and USJ. She has also worked with artists such as Coffey Anderson, Alexa Villa and performed at the Waldorf Astoria. She currently co-hosts The Dance Influence with Dana Alexa for Afterbuzz TV.
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