Indian classical dancer Monisha Sukumar. Image Credit: Florence Pia G. Yu/Gulf News

In costume and out to entertain, artists get plenty of opportunity to do what they do best during the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF). There are clowns, magicians, stage actors and actresses… And then there are dancers like Dubai resident Monisha Sukumar.

The 15-year-old has been one of the weekend entertainment acts at the Mercato Mall this DSF, performing Indian classical dance with a group of four other girls. On stage, they exude confidence, poise and grace with the flick of a finger, a pirouette, a tilt of the head, a tiptoe or a shuffle.

“I feel that dance is a beautiful language that communicates to all kinds of people,” Sukumar told Gulf News after her performance on Saturday. “I feel extremely happy that I am able to convey what I want as an artist to the people around me.”

The teen specialises in the Pandanallur art of dance, which she says stresses on hand gestures and form. “I have been taking dance lessons since I was 10 years old. When I was a small kid, I often went in front of the mirror and tried different poses. Then my mum saw me and decided to enroll me in dance class,” she said.

She has been performing for DSF, at the Global Village and in various events in Dubai.

When she is not performing at social events, she shares her talent to charitable causes; dancing for the Help Age India Charitable Trust, The Karunai Villa for special children in Chennai, the Bala Mandir Orphanage, and at an event to raise funds for Haiti.

But she is still just a teenager who happens to love dancing. “I hang out with friends on my free time. They told me they would love to learn how to dance,” she said, adding that the one comment she would never forget is “they keep on telling me I walk like a classical dancer! I’m not sure exactly what they mean, but I’m trying to change that,” she said, laughing.

She likes watching modern dance like hip hop and break dancing. Has she tried them before? “If I try, I can,” she answered with a grin.

So how does a teenager like her keep her dancing form? “I have dance classes for an hour and a half thrice a week. I do not compromise on what I eat but I do yoga. I do it whenever I can,” she said.

Sukumar expressed delight at improvements on the entertainment front this DSF. “Dubai has spent so much on entertainment. When I was a kid my only entertainment was going to the Creek. Now, they had a big fireworks display at the start of DSF. Mall entertainment has also improved a lot. Even at Global Village. A few years ago the Indian pavilion only had random stalls, but now it is staging entertainment shows as well.”

Will she perform again next DSF? “Sure. This has been an amazing year and it’s been great performing for the crowd, so yes, definitely,” she said.