Bollywood dance champion teaches kids to love themselves, inside and out

  • Posted on January 16, 2023


“As a performer, Karima is the best combination: highly skilled and not-intimidating. Watching her perform inspires people from toddler to senior to join in, and Karima's praise, levity and pure love keeps people dancing - and coming back for more.” - Kitsilano Community Centre

VERNON, BC— Forget the diets and the fitness binge! Come laugh, dance, and love yourself at a celebration of bodies of all shapes and sizes! The Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre proudly presents Karima Essa’s Body Positive Bollywood Dance Show on Sunday, January 29 at 11:00AM as the third performance in the 2022-23 SPOTLIGHT Season’s Kids Series. Due to the recent flood at the theatre, this performance will take place at the Priest Valley Gym in the Greater Vernon Recreation Centre.

Since age 4, Karima Essa has been gracing the stage in dance competitions, events and most recently on OMNI TV’s Bollywood Star reality show. When she hit puberty at 11, her body unwittingly became a blank canvas in which people could “paint” their admiration and adoration or their judgement and criticism. She grew up thinking she needed to be a “size zero,” fueled by the vanity of the Bollywood industry. However, she has finally grown to love her new, beautiful body.

Karima’s Body Positive Bollywood Dance Show is an interactive performance that infuses music, breathing and ideologies from ancient scholars from the Middle East and South Asia. Students of all shapes and sizes will leave inspired to accept and love themselves inside and out, on and off the dance floor!

Karima first delighted audiences at the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre last March during the inaugural North Okanagan Children’s Festival.

“She had the whole audience on their feet and beaming with joy, kids and parents alike,” said VDPAC Artistic Director Erin Kennedy. “We are thrilled to have Karima back for another accessible and inclusive workshop-style show.”

A three-time Canadian National Dance champion, Karima Essa is Vancouver’s very own Bollywood star. An incredibly charismatic and passionate performer, choreographer and instructor, she has used her one-of-a-kind Bollywood talent to entertain diverse audiences at festivals, theatres and in schools across Canada. In 2014, her love for Bollywood took her to the screens in Mumbai, India, as a two-time finalist on Omni TV’s reality show, Bollywood Star. With style, grace and a flair for the dramatic, she has been captivating adult and young audiences for decades.

Since first showcasing her Bollywood Star School show in 2018, she has performed this show in 150+ schools across BC. Karima’s new focus is on celebrating that all bodies can dance by sharing the body positivity movement through Bollywood Dance. Karima is also completing her Education Assistance certification and is interested in exploring how dance can help improve socio-emotional skills in children who have autism.

The Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre presents Karima Essa’s Body Positive Bollywood Dance Show on Sunday, January 29 at 11:00AM at the Priest Valley Gym at the Greater Vernon Recreation Centre. The show runs 45 minutes with no intermission and is suitable for all ages. Tickets are $12. For tickets, please call 250-549-SHOW (7469) and for video previews, please visit our 2022-23 SPOTLIGHT Season online at:


Ticket Link:

About Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre

The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society is a non-profit, charitable organization devoted to fostering artists, their work, and live performance in all genres and for all ages. The Society operates the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre (VDPAC) on behalf of the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) and with the support of over 30 staff and 200 volunteers. Each year, we present our SPOTLIGHT Season of over 30 diverse performances, complemented by over 125 concerts, festivals, and special events. We select professional touring productions to entertain, enlighten, move and amuse our audiences. Altogether, they offer patrons of all ages a world of unforgettable live theatre experiences. Please visit: &

Facebook: @vdpac
Instagram: @vernonperformingarts

For more information, media can contact:

Angela Pells
Marketing Director
[email protected]

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Photo: Karima Essa family workshop
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