The winning moves

Inika Hadfadkar, who recently won the gold medal in the freestyle dance category at the 3rd Mount Everest International Music & Dance Sports Championship 2023 at Tribhuvan University Kathmandu, Nepal, speaks to NT KURIOCITY


Dancing has always been Inika Hadfadkar’s passion. “I have loved dancing ever since I was a child but it was in Class 9 that things changed. There was a dance competition in my school and I decided to give it a try. The response I got from the audience was impressive and that’s when I realised that I have the potential and decided to grow as an artiste,” shares Hadfadkar, who then taught herself belly dancing before attending dance workshops and training in Latin dancing.

And the 20-year-old recently represented India at the 3rd Mount Everest International Music and Dance Sports Championship held at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu in Nepal where she won gold medal in the freestyle dance category. “Winning this medal was amazing as this was the first time I represented India. In fact, I did not expect it at all as I did not have enough time for rehearsals. I thought at most I’d probably make it to the top 3,” says Hadfadkar, who participated in this championship along with a few other participants from Goa.

Preparing for the championship was a task.  “As I had my internship going on that month, I did not have much time to practice. However, I still tried to devote two and half hours daily,” she says.

For the championship audition, Hadfadkar had to send a small dance video, following which the nationals round was held in Goa itself where she did a fusion of belly dancing with Bollywood. “However, according to the format of the championship, belly dance was strictly restricted and so my points were deducted and I was ranked second with silver,” she says. Selected medal holders then qualified for the international championship where she performed freestyle on the song ‘Run the World’ (Girls), with an essence of waacking. And the youngster also enjoyed her experience at the championship. “Most of the performances were extremely inspiring. I met talented artistes from various other countries like Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.”

Besides dance, Hadfadkar has made her mark in the pageant world as well. She was the second runners up (the best personality subtitle) at the Fashion Model India 2021 and also won Miss India 2023 by Glam and Elegance Pageant. “I used to be a camera-shy person but the self-confidence that a model carries ignited a fire within me and got into the field of modelling at the age of 19. Since then, I have been working as a part-time freelance model,” she says.

Currently pursuing her bachelor’s in arts in psychology, Hadfadkar admits that striking a balance between her life as an artiste and a student is always a challenge. “I value my education as much as my passion. So, I make sure I schedule my day in such a way where I’m able to complete all the tasks of the day,” she says, adding that she also ensures that she slots some ‘me time’ at the end of the day “because mental health matters.”

And the Calangute-based Hadfadkar now wants to take her passion for dance to higher levels and make her country proud. “One of my professors once said ‘Life is like an arrow, the farther back you’re pulled, the farther forward you will end up’. I can strongly relate to it. It’s okay to restart again. There will be stressful events which will make you weak at times but take a pause and keep going. Don’t forget the ones who are with you and take them up with you too,” she says.