Poonam and Priyanka are the eerily synchronized dancing duo that set your screen on fire with their skills of fusion dance. These twin sisters have gone viral with their Bharatnatyam and popping infused dance videos. The talented influencers are using their dance prowess and personalities to build their own brand.
How did they become the stars though?
The twin sisters grew up in the suburbs of Michigan and later, Illinois with their parents and two brothers. Their mom had them enrolled in Bharatnatyam classes at 8 years old. The girls recall how their mother bribed them with donuts to go to class because they didn’t like it at first.
Their mother had always hoped to complete her training in Bharatnatyam but after moving to America, her career and raising a family had gotten in the way. Fulfilling their mother’s unfinished dream is why dance is so important to Poonam and Priyanka. Over time, dance became an outlet of self-expression and a way to embrace their Indian-American identity.
“Growing up Indian in America as first generation is really confusing. On the one hand you feel alienated,” Poonam Shah told NBC in an interview. “It was a way to express both parts of those identities, being Indian and American and fusing them, and a way to say who we are and express our identity.”
They trained in Bharatnatyam for about 8 years, into their high school days. Poonam went on to study finance and Priyanka studied accounting and management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In college, they were a part of the desi dance team UIUC Fizaa for 3 years. The sisters held the position of captain their last years.
After leaving the college dance circuit behind they wanted to keep their love of dance alive which is why they started releasing videos online. One of their first videos was of the twins dancing in their kitchen which went viral. Even Chris Brown tweeted the video!
After the major success of their first video, they went on to create more content which garnered views in the millions like their dance video to the 90s classic, “Ramta Jogi” from the film “Taal.”
Their fusion dance videos led to a starring role in a commercial for Tanjara tea in Chennai. The girls were even featured on billboards around the city. They tried out for Remo D’souza’s dance reality show titled “Dance Plus” and made it to the top 45 before they were cut. The girls were in awe of the talent they saw in Mumbai and returned home with new zeal to train harder.
They moved to Los Angeles to learn hip-hop from top choreographers to improve their craft. They were called back to India in 2016 this time with a spot on “Jhalak Dikhhlaja” India’s version of “Dancing with the Stars.”
You thought these girls only touch the lives of desi’s, think again! Surprisingly they have a huge fan following in China. They were invited to perform on a Chinese reality show where 13 girls compete to be a member of the ultimate girl band. Poonam and Priyanka were invited to perform to expose the contestants to Indian dance forms.
Today the girls still have their mom as their mom-ager and are building their social media presence with not only dance videos but fashion tips, lookbook videos, vlogs and more on their second channel. They travel the world performing at both private events and large-scale shows. They’ve even been collaborating with their YouTuber friends on other channels.
“We want to have a brand, kind of like Mary-Kate and Ashley. We’re trying to post more on social media and our YouTube channel, and we’re trying to inspire and make a lot more content,” Priyanka Shah said to NBC.
Putting their business and finance degrees to use, the girls have gone full-time with their dance career and are working on building an empire. Keep on slaying, Ladies!