Catch Sheela Awe and the opposite Dance Fitsugar trainers in new episodes dropping each Friday on the POPSUGAR Health YouTube channel.
When Sheela Awe first received to Hollywood about 10 years in the past, it was a unique world. You would not go to bop courses to snag a spot within the entrance line so you could possibly movie it to your YouTube channel or TikTok; you’d go simply “to be taught, to expertise, to bop,” she says. Although Awe initially moved from Southeast Asia to the US to pursue an expert dance profession, her path has taken a flip acquainted within the trade — that’s, it is gone digital. She’s advanced from hopeful dancer to multifaceted entertainer, host, and content material creator who makes use of motion as simply one of many methods she surprises, delights, and engages audiences on TikTok, and Instagram and, most just lately, as a brand new host for POPSUGAR’s Dance Fitsugar sequence on YouTube.
Because the occasions change, because the dance world modifications, it’s a must to shift with it, too.
Whereas it could really feel like there are infinite voices on the web lately, Awe is bringing a contemporary perspective and joyful humor to every little thing she does. The outcome? Contagious power and personable content material you simply cannot cease watching, whether or not she’s exhibiting off a dance mixture, entertaining you with antics on the streets of New York Metropolis, or instructing Mandarin sayings throughout her #MandoMondaze sequence. We promise — all it takes is one video, and you will find your self hooked.
Following Her Desires Throughout the World
Awe’s dad and mom are from Germany and Taiwan, and Awe was born in South Korea and raised throughout Southeast Asia. She began dancing as a younger child, amongst a ton of different inventive extracurriculars. “Within the family that I used to be rising up in, we have been all the time taking jazz courses or studying an instrument, as a result of I am additionally half Asian, so it performs into that entire cultural factor the place it is like, ‘Then on Saturday I’ve Chinese language college, then Monday I’ve ballet, Tuesday I’ve jazz, Wednesday I’ve piano, Thursday I’ve violin, after which Friday I’ve calligraphy,'” she says.
Then, when she was about 16 years outdated and residing in Shanghai, Awe discovered the native underground hip-hop dance scene. She by no means beloved ballet, however hip-hop — and all its “grounded” actions — clicked for her, and this informal surroundings was an ideal place to seek out her strikes. “You are not going there to shoot a music video or guide dancers on the market to tour. It is extra so for the love of hip-hop and for the love of simply dance, interval,” she says.
She began instructing dance and performing in native reveals and music movies, and on the finish of highschool she determined that she needed — no, wanted — to comply with her desires of changing into an expert dancer. She scrapped her plans of learning one thing “business-y” in England, and as an alternative, “I used to be like, ‘OK, the place do dancers bloom or thrive?'”
The reply: New York Metropolis. Awe began learning media and tradition at The New College whereas minoring in dance, spending years within the neighborhood of legendary dance establishments reminiscent of Alvin Ailey and Juilliard and honing her craft. “However deep down, I nonetheless needed to do extra so industrial, and that was all in LA,” she says. So after commencement, off she went.
Making It All Occur in LA
As soon as in LA, Awe began auditioning, scoring dance gigs with completely different musical artists, showing in music movies, and occurring tour with Bhad Bhabie. She was additionally a part of a lady group, Syd Youth, from 2013 to 2015. She by no means stopped dancing, however she began spending extra time in entrance of the digicam “speaking, speaking, and speaking,” she says — for instance, as Shein’s live-stream host and one of many faces on “The Loop,” a Snapchat present about road type.
When social media content material began feeling like the following large factor within the leisure house, Awe was prepared — she says creating got here organically to her. She did not essentially search out social media renown, however she began posting distinctive style hauls for enjoyable. They actually “took off,” she says.
Her method was easy. She and her pals are already inventive sorts, dancers, and all-around “goofy folks,” Awe says, so she began filming herself doing the identical issues “I used to be already doing with out cameras being on.” Generally that concerned getting glammed up or going wild at a music pageant. However for Awe, it additionally meant filming choreographed routines that concerned leaping over shoe containers in her front room or singing right into a potato.
What She’s Bringing to the Combine
Awe would not reserve her comedic perspective for TikTok: she’s bringing it to the POPSUGAR stage, too. “I would like folks to look at these movies and I would like them to snort whereas they’re figuring out,” she says. “I would like them to really feel impressed, not embarrassed . . . and to really feel empowerment, as effectively. To do all of it with laughter and humor, as a result of that is actually the perfect medication. I do know folks — whether or not they’re going by means of a heartbreak, they’ve simply gotten fired, or no matter they are going by means of — they’re all the time like, ‘I simply must work out. I must sweat. I must do all these items.’ To do this, to snort on the identical time, and to get pleasure from it, to heal and get pleasure from the method of therapeutic, that is good.”
An enormous a part of her social content material has been impressed by her multicultural upbringing. For instance, Awe shares her favourite Taiwanese takeout dishes, and he or she teaches a brand new Mandarin phrase every week on her social channels, referred to as “MandoMondaze”. “People who find themselves non-Mandarin audio system or who aren’t even Asian watch that they usually’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh. I like this. That is what I wish to do and what I wish to be taught,'” she says. “That is an enormous half that additionally retains me going: to wish to proceed bringing my tradition or proceed representing my tradition, in that sense.”
However regardless of how magical all of it seems on social media, working in leisure and as a content material creator is not with out its ups and downs. Past her “perfectionist” Virgo urge to reshoot every little thing till every take is flawless, Awe says one of many greatest challenges she faces is how inconsistent the trade is. “You may have the perfect experiences, you may have a stream of revenue, and then you definitely’ll discover stability that’ll be very brief time period,” she says. “Then you definitely’re again within the trenches and you are like, ‘Oh, my gosh. Why did I do that? Why did I select this profession and this route?'”
Finally, she says the sensation of gratitude all the time returns: “I would not have it another manner.” And when she’s in a type of lows, she merely has to remind herself that “it doesn’t suggest I am again in sq. one, it simply means I am again creating once more and I simply want inspiration. Generally that takes time.”
Picture Supply: POPSUGAR Video