London: When a blue and white painted BMW Sauber car crossed the finish line like a lightning on a racing circuit in Istanbul during the final lap of the 2006 Formula One Turkish Grand Prix, that was a moment the whole world started paying attention to Sebastian Vettel, a teenager hails from Germany. He was just 19 years old when he set the record for the fastest lap time on that day. Needless to say, it’s a great thing to achieve a remarkable feat at that age when most of us might be spending our time only on the college campuses. The remarkable tale of Divya George Panackal, who started a dance school in Ontario, Canada at the age of nineteen is not far different. As far as Divya George is concerned, dance is an innate art form. At a very young age, Divya George’s talent was recognized by Divya George’s parents, George Mathew and her mother, Jeena George. Divya George, her brother Derick George and parents were in Muscat at the time. Her parents enrolled Divya George in a dance school called Kalakshetra. Thus Divya George’s dance studies started at a very young age under dance teacher, Girish Raman Girish.
Divya George returned to India after her 10th class due to personal reasons. Divya George completed her higher secondary education in Kerala. She was able to successfully take dance lessons with her. In 2016, Divya George’s family moved to Canada. For her, Canada was a new world with a divergent culture. At a time when it was adapting to the new day routines in Canada, she joined a reputed college for further studies. Even though she started her college education, she never forgot dance. In her own words, dancing is an inevitable part of her life. She got used to hours of dance lessons and trainings. According to her, dedication, patience and hard work play an important role in polishing a dancer.
It was then, during her college days Divya George participated in a popular Bollywood dance show on campus at Fanshawe. That scenario was not strange to someone like Divya George who had been learning to dance since a young age. It did not take much long for her to become one of the most popular contestants on the show. Her beautiful and perfect dance moves captivated the audience and the judges. Divya George’s outstanding performance in that Bollywood show, which was highly regarded on social media, made her very popular both inside and outside the Indian community. Divya George says the unexpected support and immense love she received from social media inspired her to be active in cyberspace. She is much happy to say that the support she received for her performance on the dance show was her first recognition as a dancer.
The wide recognition and support she received from the dance show inspired Divya George to start a dance school. That’s how Divya George started her dance school ‘Varnaah Dance Group‘ in London, Ontario at the age of nineteen. The school, which initially started with a few students, now has a large number of students practicing dance under Divya George. Although she was trained in Bharatanatyam and classical dance, she can easily adapt to other forms of dance as well because of her versatility. As she had gained much popularity among the Malayalee community after the Bollywood dance show, Divya George was invited to perform at a dance event organized by Srishti Canada in 2017 and London Malayalee Samajam in 2018. The intricate dance presentations at these events were Divya George’s most acclaimed performance till now. Divya George is now getting lots of invitations to perform on various online platforms and also stage shows in Ontario and other part of Canada.
Despite being a dance teacher at such a young age, Divya George humbly says that she is still just a student inside. While pursuing pharmacy degree and part-time job as a pharmacy technician, she finds adequate time to learn and teach more about dance. Even in the midst of her busy schedule, she never forgets to explore new possibilities of dance. Divya George is currently training for dancing on ice. She says this is a mission that requires a lot of patience and hard work. We can all hope that, the day will not be far off when Divya George, who has become a notable dancer in dance venues in Canada with her dedication over the years, will become a pillar of pride for the entire Indian community.