An entrepreneur wants to make money. A successful entrepreneur wants to make a difference through what they do. Abhilasha Ganeriwala, founder and director of Pulse Studios in Bombay encapsulates both definitions to create an enterprise that has put smiles on the faces of several people since 2004.
Started with the initial aim of catering to the fitness needs of the people, Pulse has moved on to become a popular destination for dance enthusiasts all over the city.
While Abhilasha has never been an instructor herself, she recognized the glaring reality of people wanting to learn new dance forms on one hand and the availability of talented instructors not able to reach out to people for lack of space in a city like Mumbai.
“We had a family apartment that wasn’t in use, so I started by inviting someone to teach dance aerobics to women; soon the response we received made us branch out to add other dance forms, newer instructors and more classes.” says Abhilasha.
The bouquet of dance forms now offered by Pulse leaves nothing to imagination. From ballroom dances like jive, salsa, waltz, tango, chachacha amongst others to fitness lessons in power yoga, pilates, kick-boxing, there is something for everyone here.
Abhilasha emphasises that to cater to the variety seeking needs of people it is sometimes necessary to do what is unusual. For her it meant introducing dance forms such as the pole dance or belly dance which were generally considered taboo or “even having Indian folk dances, at a time when all other studios were going only western.”
“My dream is to make Pulse a place where every kind of person can learn just about every kind of dance form. Money or age should not be restrictive issues.” says the enterprising lady adding that by introducing new exotic dance forms like contemporary, ballet, street hip-hop and krumping, they have been able to attract people from 5 year olds to 50 years across age groups.
There have also been instances when they have allowed someone to learn without paying a single penny. “When someone comes back to say that our workshop helped them de-stress or feel happier; that to me defines success more than monetary gain” adds Abhilasha who further manifests her vision by organizing special classes for women, older couples, and the pioneer concept of jam sessions for ladies where ‘they can just let their hair down’.
Abhilasha informs that Pulse has seen an increased interest from the TV and film fraternity in adopting dance for fitness purposes and to further their focus on fitness, they have recently introduced certificate courses in aerobics and yoga apart from brining to India the national sport of Thailand – Muaythai.
While much is spoken of the studio, Abhilasha claims that their USP really is their choreographers. While employing only the top-of-line, best in what they do has been a good thing, it also has its share of challenges with efforts going into keeping each choreographer happy and giving them their own space. “We want to give a platform to talented instructors to reach out and to us every instructor is a brick that contributes to laying a strong foundation in building the brand Pulse.”
With so much happening at one time, one wonders what keeps this one-woman army going and what have been her challenges.
Abhilasha is quick to admit that to her, the support of her family – an understanding husband, children and in-laws came easy. Yet in the face of challenges, its her faith in God that gave her strength. “when my sister-in-law cum partner had to move cities, I was concerned about being able to run the place myself, but today I have been able to open another branch at Tardeo, and have another one planned in Powai. The good thing is that other things fell in place and Shraddha managed to open Pulse in Pune too.”
They now reach out to a large number of people and adopt innovative methods to communicate – including SMS marketing, dance marathons and jam sessions.
Citing that there is an increase in the number of people wanting to pursue dance as a hobby and even as a career, Abhilasha says what differentiates Pulse from other studios is the personal touch and attention given by her. “Even after 5 years, I try and ensure most queries are answered by me directly,” this despite having two managers.
“I like being hands-on because I enjoy what I do, my work gives me confidence, satisfaction, keeps me busy and lets me interact with new people. When my older son left to study, I was low but my work kept me occupied’
This is the same message she wants to give out to other women. “Every woman has the potential to do something great. Children after an age will leave and go, but your work is what will stay on as your baby.”
While she gets ready to swing into action organizing the annual Pulse show in August, Abhilasha informs that this time they will be tying up with an NGO to showcase the talent of lesser privileged children and help them pursue dance through the proceeds they receive for the show.
On the personal front, few know that Abhilasha writes really well and nurtures a long unfulfilled desire of publishing her own set of poems.
One can get in touch with Pulse Studio at 9820766962.