The Sani Sisters Present: A Conversation with the Jikaria Sisters
By Praveena Somasundaram
From bhangra to raas to Bollywood, the Jikaria sisters have gained over 300K followers on TikTok through their dance choreography, re-creations and tutorials. They spoke with Sani co-founders, Niki and Ritika Shamdasani, on the new Instagram Live series “The Sani Sisters Present” about how they’ve created a platform for their South Asian American identities through dance.
The sister trio, Omika, Aashika and Rishika Jikaria, are originally from New York. They started posting dance videos to TikTok when they’d returned home for quarantine, which quickly gained traction on the app.
Incorporating elements of South Asian culture into their videos, they’ve remade the “Oh Na Na Na” challenge with dandiya and created a Garba-inspired dance to the song “Kamariya” which received over 15 million views.
“We’re definitely sticking with this because we just love it so much and this is something that we would never give up now that we’ve had that opportunity to do it,” Omika said.
The sisters appreciate being able to choreograph and film dances together.
“Having three minds to it just makes it so much easier and three minds that are also trained in the same dance styles and have done everything that you’ve done growing up. It just makes it so much easier to work with sisters,” Aashika said.
In many of their popular TikToks, the sisters wear South Asian clothing, saying they’ve looked to their mother for fashion advice from a young age. Now with their platform, the sisters are exploring fashion more personally.
“I think my relationship with Indian clothes has changed a little bit,” Rishika said. “I think now I definitely prefer clothes that are just more easy to style in different ways.”
The trio styled Sani outfits and danced to the song “Radha.”
“When we received the Sani clothes, we were in love,” Rishika said. “One, there were pockets, which was unheard of. I don’t think I’ve ever worn Indian lehengas with pockets, it was like a dream come true.”
The sisters are looking to expand their platform with their new YouTube channel, by doing different games and challenges together. They also plan to continue posting dance videos.
“We’ve grown up dancing in longer form settings so I think Youtube is a good avenue for us to showcase some of that,” Omika said.
To hear from more creatives like the Jikaria sisters, tune in to the next Sani Sisters Present session on Friday, June 5. The Instagram Live session will feature Angelica Silva, a journalist at Brown Girl Magazine and Reclamation Magazine.