Bollywood heart-throb studies masters at uni
MASTERS student Aditya Pankhaniya might look like he has stepped off the set of a Bollywood film but has likely been studying agricultural engineering.
Originally from Gujarat in India, Mr Pankhaniya has lived in Australia for almost one year, purposely picking the Garden City to call home.
While he loves the atmosphere, spaciousness and location of Toowoomba, it didn't take long for Mr Pankhaniya's feet to start tapping.
In India, Mr Pankhaniya was a professional performer and choreographer.
Dancing since the age of three, he studied many different styles of dance but specialised in Bollywood and Garba.
He won numerous dance competitions, appeared in many live performances but if you passed him on the street, his humble attitude would not give it away.
Unable to find anywhere for his authentic Bollywood style, Mr Pankhaniya submitted a show reel to Brisbane-based Bollywood dance company Dance Masala.
He was immediately offered a teaching position and spot on the professional performance troupe.
But Mr Pankhaniya wasn't willing to leave Toowoomba and Dance Masala director Andrea Lam said his talent could not be wasted; so they started a new branch here.
He ran a trial workshop late last year to test the waters and now regularly teaches a beginner class for all ages at The Grid on Tuesday nights.
While class numbers are small, his passion is evident.
"I want Dance Masala to be the best Bollywood group in the world," he said.
"And I want Toowoomba to fall in love with the energies of Bollywood.
"It frees me from everything negative in the world. For me, dance is life; a habit, my identity."
He said all the routines he choreographed for beginners were happy and energetic.
Mr Pankhaniya will be teaching a new six-week beginner course next month.
For more information visit dancemasala.com.au.