Haleem Khan was born to dance.
Haleem Khan, his passion is dancing and keeping the tradition of classical Indian dance.
Today I want to introduce you to an exceptional young friend and an incredible dancer. He already pursued his dream and is on the way to the next and bigger one.
He is already a star in his country and has been dancing abroad as well. Haleem Khan received many awards and an honorary doctorate. He acted in movies, talked on TED, and there is a book about him titled: “To Dance or not to Dance”? His talent and commitment are astounding.
A shining example for dreamers
He also gives a shining example for all dreamers who want to reach a goal in life. I want to write his story. Against all the odds and adversity, he did get to his dream. I hope this little interview will inspire you.
Haleem was born in a little town to a Muslim family. As a kid, he found his passion by watching movies. He was fascinated by classical Indian dance and wanted to learn the Kuchipudi dance. Men, including the female roles, perform this dance.
Maybe you can imagine what it means if a Muslim kid wants to dance with a female in a traditional yogic dance. Even today and in western countries, it would provoke a lot of judgment. It would be unthinkable in many places. But this brave, spirited kid did not bury his dream. He found a teacher and studied dance in secret for eight years.
I asked him: “Tell me a bit about the feelings you had as a child. Have you been scared when you did learn to dance in secret”?
He answered :
“Yes, I did.. I was scared to death every single day.
Every time I did go to the class. I used to feel like I was meeting my secret lover. Just when coming out of the class. I used to think that I was gonna lose my lover. I always worried about not going back to class because of my timings, constraints, and the challenges I had in front of me.
There were so many incidents that came close to revealing my secret job. But each time, God saved me because God knows and does believe in me.
That’s why I feel that each day as a dancer is a blessing from God.
Now when I look back at that whole big episode, I get a smile on my face and more power too.”
He realized and is aware of the signs and support of the Devine. A sacred gift many lost in our time. May he be able to keep responding to the guidance always.
Here, in short, about my experience.
It is not uncommon for boys to like to dance and even play a girl. My kids grew up with two boys of our friends who both loved to dance and wear the skirts and scarves of my daughter. Only they always got discouraged and reminded that this is just for girls. The two boys’ father was born Muslim and did not like this at all. Finally, with his mother’s support, one of the boys could get to his dream of being an actor. These kids experienced a lot of rejection because of traditional and religious paradigms.
Haleem did right to go after his dream in secret even though he was scared, but it made him strong.
“Your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself, determines how your life’s story will develop.”
I asked Haleem: “Tell me something about the rejection you experienced you talked about in your speech in Mumbai or Goa. I do not want to give it too much energy and want to focus on the good, but it is part of your life.”
Haleem: “Rejection was a big part of my life.
And while thinking of learning
Take any block it is rejection or demotivating,
Parents didn’t want me to like this art form ( forget about learning and all)
Friends cracked jokes on me. Never supported dance. I had to stay alone many times,
My relatives didn’t have the guts to introduce me with their whole hearts to the world. That I am a classical dancer,
When I think about the rejections that I faced, they were like fuel to me to reach more and more heights.
And I strongly feel rejections helped me in my growth,
If everything had come to me easily as per plans. I would not know the value of my place where I am now. Rejection is an injection to get more energy to work better.
“If the fire in your heart is strong enough, it will burn away any obstacles that come your way.”– Suzy Kassem
I said: “Yes, I thought so, but do not let it influence you too much, it can hurt as well.
Haleem: “As a human, you can’t always Bounce back with the same strength. I will take some slow steps when I am low.. But I will keep walking. I never stopped my walk.
You can better overcome it as you know you are blessed.”
“Human rejection can be God’s divine protection.” Paula Hendrick
“Keep walking; you are truly blessed.”
Let’s focus on the good. What is your Dream? ”
Haleem: “My dream is to travel the world and perform and showcase the Indian culture to the world. And also inspire as many as possible to learn the classical art forms.
The new generation should not forget their roots; we must work vigorously to save the culture for the next generations. That is my biggest dream now.
I wanted to become a dancer all my childhood.
I never thought I could perform more than 900 shows across many cities and countries.
When I was learning, I always thought.. Will I be ever going to perform on a stage? But now my dreams are big..
“But your dream is not bigger than the one you already accomplished. Accept that you did a miracle already,”; I said.
It is the nature of a human being never to stop growing and learning, and we can always feel the pull to expand and reach the next dream.
Haleem Khan achieved his ambition to become an excellent, astounding dancer.
He is a keeper of an ancient Indian traditional dance form. And he is dedicated to performing and teaching this art so it will not be forgotten. Classical dance and yoga always have been integrally related. It always needed dedicated people to keep especially Kuchipudi alive.
Haleem Khan’s story is an example for everybody who wants to reach a dream.
We can learn that perseverance is what is needed and everything is possible.
My wish and blessing are that he will find support and can realize this dream. Maybe have a dance academy and teach many forms of classical dance to keep them alive and leave a legacy.
He was invited and will come to perform at “The Great India Festival” in Ottawa, Canada 12. August 2018. Inviting him to show these traditional dances to many people is a great opportunity.
I hope you like Haleem’s story and that it does inspire you to pursue your dream.