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Transforming Music Into Motion, These Artists Are Dancing Their Way Through Life

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Can you dance to Bollywood beats after losing your left leg to an accident?
Can you perform Bharatanatyam for 2 hours continuously?
What makes you reach the Grand finale of India’s finest Dance shows?
How can you invite these exceptional dancers to your functions?

If you think any disability can stop someone from dreaming, you are wrong. If you think hearing impairment can stop them from listening to the rhythm of their dreams, you are wrong. If you think amputation can stop them from walking towards their goal, then you are wrong. If you think visual hurdles will stop them from seeing their path, then you are wrong

Atypical Advantage is home for all the talented people out there. It is the place where you will find talent in all possible categories; we have the best set of talent from all over the country. They are living their life to the fullest and we can learn a lot from them. One of the most creative and beautiful talent categories we have is Dance. There is a very popular quote that says, “Dance is a hidden language of the soul and every soul can easily connect to it.” We bring out three such beautiful souls to you whose confidence and enthusiasm can enlighten any event or place. Let’s meet them!

Swaroop Janardhanan (The Dancing Warrior)

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The dreamy Bollywood dancer.

Amputation worked as fuel for the dreams of Swaroop Janardhanan (aged 29) who lost his left leg after an accident on 8 February this year. Swaroop, however, who is a dancer and model is determined to make the best out of his life. After the trauma, he didn’t lose faith and overcame his fears and built opportunities for himself. He has his dance studio where he teaches dance. And has a vast experience of 15 years in the dance field, where he has learnt different dance forms such as- Cinematic Western, Bollywood, Duppan, and Filmy.

Besides dancing, he has done MBA from Angamaly Institute, the list his talents goes on as he is into modelling and also a health enthusiast as bodybuilding is one of his hobbies. His work and faith are appreciable and he proves that you can win over any problem in life if you have faith in yourself.

Swaroop expressed that when he met with the accident, he lost his faith at that moment and it brought a drastic change in his life.

Those were the days when he realized that there were no good hospitals at Wayanad. So he was taken to Kozhikode with the hope of getting better treatment. The real tragedy began from the hospital there.

He spent many days on the ventilator and doctors who treated him told his family that he is going to get better. Meanwhile, his leg was getting infected and he could see the fungus and bacteria developing right in front of his eyes! When they asked, the doctors said it was healing.

He was shifted to a hospital in Coimbatore and the doctors there were shocked to see his leg. That is when they told him that he will have to amputate his leg because the infection has spread beyond control. If timely treatment was provided, things would have been different. Even today, he feels disheartened that he lost his left limb due to the negligence of so-called medical professionals.

His doctor said that many amputees live normal lives, do extraordinary things. All that helped him come out of his depression and shock. After accepting this tragedy, he started his modelling and dancing career again. He slowly started walking with crutches. Then he started dancing gradually with his walker.

He opened a dance studio a few years back, named ‘Rhythm Wayne Dance Crew’. His crew has performed at different venues. Recently, he also started a YouTube channel where he teaches different forms of dance with one leg. He understands this thing pretty well that the path he has chosen is not simple and he has to work hard to achieve it. With the full support of his family, he is ready to conquer his dreams. He is also looking forward to an artificial leg implant and his career in dancing. And he says, “Amputation is not the end of life, it is just the beginning.”

Invite Swarup to inspire your Audience here.

Divya Shankar (The Reigning Queen Of Classical Dance)

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Be prepared to be enthralled by Divya’s classical dance moves

At a young age of 8, what most of us think about is what to play, how to bunk school. But, this girl had started preparing for her dance career and started her professional training and had performed in many shows. With 8 years of experience this 16-year-old girl, Divya Shankar from Ernakulam, Kerala has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. But that did not stop her from chasing her dreams of becoming a dancer. Divya has performed at over 30 venues. Her biggest support system is her family who ensures that Divya follows her dreams.

She was born as a premature baby and had many health complications at the time of birth. After a few months, she was diagnosed with Down syndrome and that shattered her parents Rajeswari and Sankaranarayanan. But they were not ready to give up. They looked out for the best therapies for their daughter. That is when Divya’s doctor suggested the family to introduce her to art, especially dance. Divya is currently studying in class 10 at a government school. According to her doctor, that was the best way to train her to live in an inclusive society. “Being in an inclusive school has helped her a lot. The teachers and her classmates are very supportive of her and she has been studying there for the past nine years. It is a government rule that a disabled child must be admitted in regular schools,” says Divya’s mother.

Divya is trained in classical dance forms including Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, and Mohiniyttam. She is undergoing training at Amritavani dance school under the guidance of her teacher, Seema Kannan. Rajeswari has ensured that she stays at home with Divya to make sure that her daughter gets nothing but the best. “We have ensured that she lives like a normal child. We have never kept her aside. She loves to spend time with people and we all go together for social gatherings too.”

Divya’s mother says that during her early years, Divya could not express herself at all. In fact, she did not have any facial expressions. That is when her doctor told us to introduce her to dance so that she can learn expressions. Dance worked like magic on Divya. She started expressing better and overall, dance has done many wonders. We would suggest dance therapy to all children with disabilities.

Divya’s biggest supporter is her brother Sarath. who recently completed his engineering course. A trained singer, Sarath performs with her sister at various venues. “Since childhood, I used to sing to her and she dances beautifully to my tunes. I noticed that Divya was passionate about dance from a very young age. As a brother, I wanted to support her throughout,” says Sarath.

Currently, she holds the Record Titled GIRL WITH DOWN SYNDROME PERFORMING BHARATNATYAM for 2 hours straight on December 23rd, 2018 in the India Book of Records.

Invite the mesmerizing Divya to your event & see for yourself the magic here.

Vinod Thakur (The Television Sensation)

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We have another very talented dancer, motivational speaker born with amputee’s legs, his both legs don’t work at all, but his confidence and way of looking at life overshadow his disability. Vinod Thakur motivates others with his dance and his inspiring words. He is an experienced dancer and has gained a lot of fame with his appearance and rock performances on India’s Got Talent Season 2 and he was one of the finalists of that season that aired on Colors TV in 2010. He was also runner up of Nach Baliye Season 6, which aired on Starplus in 2014. Besides all of this, he is into bodybuilding and a health enthusiast.

He decided to help others who are facing problems like him by motivating them; he believes that no disability can stop you from achieving your dreams, you just have to be confident, passionate, and crazy enough to chase your dreams. He did everything to help himself first and then be in a position where he can help others because he believes that God helps those who help themselves.

Confused about inviting Vinod for a motivational session or one on dancing? You could do both here.

These are just glimpses into the lives of many talented artists on our platform; the bucket is full of such performers. We have talent from all corners of the country. Hire these extremely talented dancers here to brighten up your events or to learn the art of dance yourself.

Their talent is bigger than their disability, and their identity isn’t restricted to that one aspect. They have dreams and their lives are a lesson in how to be fearless and go after what your heart desires.

Atypical Advantage is Planet’s first Talent platform for People with Disabilities. Explore our website to hire diverse talent, shop for products made by people with disabilities, browse through exquisitely curated art. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, read more about us on our blog, sign up for mentorship, volunteer with us or feel free to contribute here.

Until next time,
Your Atypical Buddy!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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