NEW YORK (TIP): Most little girls around the world grow up listening to fairy tales and often learn their first lessons on love and life inspired by the princesses in the stories. As questions about diversity and inclusivity gain mainstream attention, also has the scope of these fairy tales. In fact, there has been noise for some time about how often these Western fairy tales give a very white-washed view of the world. Stories of colored women of courage and brown princesses are still hard to come by in American popular culture. And an absence of an Indian American Disney princess has been debated about in the past few years.
While we still await a brown princess in popular stories, a New York City-based dancer and choreographer has found a unique way to address the issue while giving young South Asian girls a chance to feel represented.
Vinita Hazari, an emerging choreographer, has been creating innovative concept videos that talk about inclusion, diversity and stigmas within the South Asian community. A trained kathak dancer, Hazari recently created a video where she, dressed like an Indian princess, dances alongside the snowman character Olaf from the hit Disney film Frozen. Her video, which has been viewed more than 50,000 times, struck a chord with South Asian women who have often felt a lack of representation, especially in American culture and entertainment. Hazari reinforces her point by incorporating a kathak-based semi classical dancer in her video, as Olaf is seen synchronizing with her moves.
Hazari, who has been dancing for over 14 years now, has also been gaining attention for her videos that target mental health stigmas in South Asian communities. She’s released a series of videos portraying the negative impact unwelcoming South Asian stigma can have on mental health. She conceptualizes, produces, choreographs and performs in dance videos. A trained kathak dancer she has also trained in hip-hop, jazz, and ballet.