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Class act

Think you will be wasting time and money by joining a vacation class? Here're four former ‘vacation batch’ students who used these classes as a launch pad to start careers.

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:22 IST
Pankti Mehta

The summer holidays are a great time to learn a new skill, or to hone an existing talent. Just long enough to give you a sizeable taste of the hobby, you can tell if you want to pursue it long-term. Even if these aren’t career options for you, they will give you the chance to uncover a new pastime, maybe even discover a skill you didn’t know you had. We spoke to people who took these classes growing up, and were inspired enough to make a career out of spreading the knowledge.

Beat it
20-year-old DJ Dev, known to be the youngest DJ trainer in the continent, started attending courses in disc jockeying at DJ Surr’s ‘Splinters’ school for DJs about five years ago. Now working as faculty at the school, DJ Dev is very thankful for have taken those courses.

“The number of DJs in the country has been steadily, sharply increasing over the last few years,” he says. “However, it’s important to receive formal training, not just in your technique – mixing tunes in a way that the audience doesn’t realise – but in other aspects that are just as important. You need to know how to read the crowd, how to communicate with them – a well-groomed DJ gets the crowd’s attention. At Splinters, you’re taught everything from using equipment to brushing up on your personality.”

DJing is a lucrative part-time job option, if you’re musically inclined. Even if you aren’t looking at it from a job perspective, it can always help to know how to interpret the body language of your crowd – even for house parties. You also learn to appreciate the finer aspects of sound, music and acoustics, while dealing with constantly evolving equipment.

Where: Splinters has several branches across the city. See website for details.

What: Two-month courses in disc jockeying, which will cover mixing music, sound knowledge, crowd handling, dressing and vinyl scratching. Also available are courses in video jockeying, radio jockeying and video editing.

Contact: 9820935312, or visit

Curtain Call
Tasneem Fatehi, co-founder of the Theatre Professionals group, grew up taking speech and drama lessons. “It was only thanks to that exposure that I got that I decided to take up a career in teaching theatre,” she says. “I went to Hima Devi’s drama classes as a child, where I received training in acting, backstage work and other on-stage techniques. That’s when I fell in love with the theatre.”

Fatehi, along with running the Theatre Professionals, also works to improve drama programmes in schools across the city. For the summer, the Theatre Professionals are running an ‘Intensive Drama Workshop’ for intermediate level actors, where students will be trained rigorously in movement, voice, acting and text work, via games, exercises and hectic physical activity. You will also get a chance to work with accomplished theatre personalities from across the country to create four original pieces of theatre, which will be showcased at NCPA’s Little Theatre.

For less seasoned actors, there are foundation workshops available, which focus on the basics, including drama exercises, nuances of acting and exposure to backstage work.

Where: Check website for venue details

What: Three-week intensive drama workshop, weekend workshops, and foundation skills for actors workshops.

Contact: Call 9321595159 or visit

Freedom of expression
Half-Indian half-French siblings Kevin and Leila Teyabley, who cultivated artistic hobbies through their childhood, moved to Mumbai recently to set up The Art Loft, in Bandra, an increasingly popular space for creative expression. “I’ve been doing classes in painting, sketching and other art forms since I was three years old,” says Leila. “I think it’s very important to experiment with a number of techniques, then choose a medium that makes the most sense to you. This can be expression in any form, using the body, the mind or the soul.”

The Art Loft holds workshops for anyone who wants to experiment, “skilled or unskilled”. They focus on personal attention with smaller classes, and try to devote their programmes to different forms of expression. Their summer schedule comes with a screenwriting programme that the duo recommend very highly. The class will be taken by the effervescent Jeffrey Goldberg, actor, filmmaker and former head of the screenwriting department at the EICAR International Film School of Paris. The workshop will run for two months, during which students will have private sessions with Goldberg, coupled with group sessions at The Loft, to create a finished project.

There are also salsa, photography, a fine arts workshop on different arts movements, and an art therapy workshop for teenagers. For further details, visit their Facebook page.

Where: THE ART LOFT, Valentino Rest- First Floor, Above Patel Store - Mehboob Studio, Bandra

What: Workshops on screenwriting, photography, art therapy, salsa and others.

Contact: Patricia 9930483966 or Visit their Facebook page at

Between the lines
23-year-old freelance journalist and writer Vanessa Rebello started a flash fiction (fiction in less than a 1,000 words) website as a pet project in her free time and on holiday. It featured pieces of her own and from other amateur writers, while including the occasional tips and encouraging writers with prompts on what to write about.

“Soon, people started asking me to hold workshops for writing,” says Rebello. “It was a natural next step for me – I had taken a lot of interesting writing classes as and when they popped up, but there weren’t that many options. I realised that people needed to be equipped with the right tools to be able to write freely , in terms of grammar, sentence structure and other basics. For complete beginners some kind of training is very important. But even when you have your basics down to a pat, such classes help you explore genres and styles that you may not be familiar with. They help you meet and interact with like-minded people, which is an enriching and encouraging experience. For a lot of people these classes give them a reason to write, a goal to focus on.”

Rebello holds classes with practical exercises, activities and encourages the classroom to be a social circle, more fun than academic. For the summer, she has planned an intermediate writing class for adults.

For details, you can contact her on, or view her website

Ridin’ the waves
Water-boy Rajiv Bhatia finds nothing more exciting than being out at sea. A passion for the water developed into a company selling kayaks, which shipped him all the way to Singapore to take a series of certifications in different water sports. Bhatia has recently set up the Rae Sport Academy which operates at Chowpatty’s H2O, bringing eco-friendly sports to Mumbai’s shores.

What better way to beat the heat than zipping through the sea in a windsurf, working your arm strength to row a kayak or learning to ‘stand up paddle’ – balance on a board while rowing - at the only institute that offers it in India. Rae Sports and its trainers are all certified by Singapore’s Paddle Culture International, and is the only academy in Mumbai to provide certifications for kayaking and stand-up paddling.

What: Classes for windsurfing, kayaking and stand-up paddling.

Where: H2O, Chowpatty beach

Contact: 9920088873 / 9870071632 or visit