Multi-talented Shanon Bhojraj was guided by her passion for dance to open her very own dance school, ‘Shanon B Dance Academy’, where she shares her dance knowledge with the youth in her community. Her fun and interesting personality is an eye-catcher but her heart for the youth is what stands out. The 18-year-old manages to juggle a very busy schedule of running her dance school and studying law, but still took a moment to share with Tabloid Newspapers on some of her aspirations, interests and achievements.

Tabloid Newspapers (TN):
Let’s take it back to basics, tell us about young Shanon. Where did she grow up, who are her siblings and parents?

Shanon Bhojraj (SB):
I am the eldest child and have a younger brother aged 13. I started my primary schooling at Sunbeam Primary School in Chatsworth. Growing up I wasn’t exactly a brave child, however I used to talk a lot, nothing has changed there. I could make friends very easily as I’m a rather easy-going individual but keeping friends was always a struggle. I found that people don’t like other people who are ambitious and kind with other people they interact with.

Due to the heavy Bollywood influence in my life, I picked up dance and thorough Bollywood energy, vibrancy and expression. I made my debut at a family function at the tender age of four, and everyone was shocked at the way I performed. I was always a spoilt little madam who worked very hard and excelled academically and in extra-curricular activities.

TN: Tell us about your career and studies?
SB: In my high school I had a few distinctions, was the RCL president, Good Fellowship awardee, and the head girl of Stanmore Secondary School in my matric year. In tertiary I studied a Bachelor of Science last year at the University of KwaZulu-Natal but I didn’t enjoy it. Now I am studying my ultimate passion, which is law, and working towards obtaining my LLB.

TN: At the tender age of just 18 you achieved quite a lot, how did the journey of dancing begin?
SB: Dance was a big part of my lifestyle ever since I knew how to walk. My parents never sent me for lessons though, so I used to imitate Bollywood actresses and learn. I did, however, go for fine-tuning to Neerav Bavlecha from Dance India Dances choreographer. After doing multiple solo functions and events under my Miss Teen Phoenix 2013 journey, people requested me to bring groups on. So I got a few of my friends together who could dance and opened up a production in 2014, called ‘Shanon B Productions’.

TN: How old were you when you started Shanon B Productions and how did that go?
SB: I was just 14 at the time but I did many high profile events. I was lucky to have a lot of people of influence spot me at functions and make bookings thereafter. After that I started getting quite a few requests to teach children. I then opened up my school in 2015 in the Phoenix area, called ‘Shanon B Dance Academy’. We grew significantly ever since and I also teach adult aerobics, Bollybix aerobics. Now I am currently completing my Bharatha Natyam and will be graduating in a few years.

TN: The entertainment industry is extremely demanding, how did you overcome some of the associated challenges?
SB: I believe I bring upon a unique look and element onto screen and stage because I understand what is required of me. However, I think it’s humility and gratitude that brought me to the party. Production companies love working with easy-going people who are down to earth and not ‘divas’. I strongly believe that the more grateful you are to the universe for what you have, you receive so much more favour, opportunities and happiness.

TN: What are some of your other achievements?
SB: Some achievements that stand out for me include Miss teen Phoenix 2013 and I was a Phoenix Got Talent finalist in 2012/2013 and a Dance Deewane participant in 2018. I also acted in two movies thus far, among other projects, I opened a school for performing arts, I will be doing my first show this December and I also danced among many Zee Stars and Bollywood actors.

TN:What are some of your pipeline projects that you are working on?
SB: I am currently busy preparing for my first-ever solo show. I am also doing some acting for movies on Mzanzi Magic and a few other African countries. I am also looking at opening other dance school branches and offering Chatsworth free lessons.

TN: What words of wisdom would you want to be remembered by?
SB: Don’t hate people in the same industry that you work in. Be happy for the other artists’ accomplishments and make peace with the fact that your time will eventually come along. Sometimes what you think is for you might not be the best for you at the time, patience is virtue. The tables of life will always turn into your favour if you are grateful and happy for other people. Believe that you are cut out of a different cloth and that factories don’t make that kind of fabric anymore.