Lady Lolita

My name is Garima Gambhir and I promote myself as “Lady Lolita”. I am a dance teacher, choreographer, organizer and a fitness enthusiast based in Delhi, India. My journey of taking dance as a full-time profession has been an unexpected one. I never really considered dancing as a career, rather it was just a hobby. I don’t think there has been a single point in my life where I haven’t danced. I love music and to be able to move and express myself gives me pure joy, it is like therapy for me. Until school I was pretty unaware how huge the Indian Dance Community is. During my college, the first thing I did was to join the western dance team, “Enliven” and being in the team opened up this “World of dance” for me. In those three years, we performed at around 30 competitions every year as a team. But I still did not consider dancing professionally. I just thought it is not something I am supposed to make a career out of and even when I got more opportunities during my time in college, I wouldn’t go for it as that was not my goal.


One of my dreams was to study abroad in 2016 and to fulfil that, I went to London for my Masters. I stayed there for almost one and a half years. My first week in London was a bit gloomy because I was already homesick. The first thing I did to feel more like home in a different country was to join dance classes. I thought of exploring other dance styles, and one of the styles that I always wanted to learn was “Dancehall”. I randomly went for a

dance class by Marta Szlachcianowska, who was teaching at Pineapple Dance Studios at that time. I became regular with the classes which started to change my taste in music and movement. I was intrigued by the whole vibe of the class and looking at my teacher, the way she moved was amazing. It was challenging but at the same time it was super fun. I remember I would never miss my dance classes, no matter how tired or busy I would be. Although my course was pretty demanding and I also had a part time job, these classes became a stress buster for me and it was exciting to learn something new.

Soon when I was about to come to India, my mentor suggested that I start promoting “Dancehall” dance in India and at that time I was not aware of many people who knew about this style. I still did not take it seriously, until I decided to host my mentor in India as a gratitude for all she did for me. In 2018, I came back to India and started working as a Research Assistant and also decided to try to promote the style in the country. At that time my goal was just to bring in more awareness


about the style and also to have my teacher in India so I could share a little part of my life from London that I was privileged enough to experience.

I started creating dance videos and alongside I started training with my friends from my college team to gain a little confidence. We would hire a dance studio and everyone would pitch in for the studio every weekend and I would share whatever little I knew about the style. I decided to give my first ever workshop at All Stars Studio in 2018 and the same year in July, I was able to host my mentor and it was a success.


I will never forget that time as it was my first experience of performing like this at an after party in Delhi. The whole dancehall community was there and it was unbelievable having my mentor from London to be there supporting me, seeing the start of my journey. It was a very special moment for me.

When I took the responsibility of pushing a culture that is not my own,

it was important to train and be more informative. So, I would train after coming back from the office, late at night or sometimes early in the morning.

I would just save money to travel to different countries to train from Jamaican and other international teachers. In 2019, I founded my own event “Issa Dancehall Ting” where we had a three-day Dancehall camp with three international teachers. Apart from this, I started taking more dance jobs, like

starting weekly classes at Yellow Stripe dance company in Delhi teaching at different dance camps and even choreographing music videos. The more I was getting involved in different projects, the more I wanted to invest, so I would use up my holidays from work to travel and train. In 2020, I hit a point where I realized I have exhausted myself working at a full-time desk job, as a dancer and as an organizer. My journey has also been a way where no matter how much I denied


taking dance as a full-time career, it would still become my priority and I was really enjoying it.

Finally in November 2020, I left my other job which was a decision that took a lot of courage. I was losing out on a steady income and was scared to put monetary pressure on something I loved immensely. I find myself very lucky to have a family, friends and a mentor that is so supportive. I won’t say it is an easy career, you are your own boss, so you need discipline and require for you to be consistent and be on your toes at all times but I guess when you love something you always push yourself much more.


I truly believe in the saying, “where there is a will, there is a way”, and you will find yourself pushing beyond your limits when you truly want something. Even if there are low days, I remind myself how this has been a dream and I am finally living it. I believe in working hard and I try to focus on doing my bit everyday rather than focusing on the output. I try to be happy even if I achieve something as small as figuring out a new move or just learning something new. For me, it is important to grow and I try to

focus my energy on that. I am grateful for the journey so far as I have been able to meet a lot of inspiring people from all around the world. It makes me feel good when I see my students grow. It motivates me to work hard and provides a great satisfaction in what I am doing. There is a long way to go and I am looking forward to my journey ahead.