Practicing Dentistry and Dance

September 21, 2022
Person with long brown hair wearing a black bucket hat and multicolored windbreaker standing outside

Eshani Patel, DMD20, has been burning up the dance floor. The Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) alumna recently competed on the hit NBC show “Dancing with Myself,” and took home the grand prize of $25,000.


“I started learning Indian classical dance when I was about six years old and mostly trained in that while growing up,” said Patel. “Up until then and throughout my undergraduate college years, dance was simply a hobby. During the start of quarantine, however, I got back into dance and taught myself how to shuffle through social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. After a year of dancing on social media and combining Shuffle with South Asian dance styles, I started taking it more seriously.”


In early 2022, Patel learned that she would have the chance to compete in the NBC show “Dancing with Myself” and began training longer hours and practicing new dance moves to prepare for the competition.


The reality television show features a new group of dancers each week as they compete in a series of high-energy dance challenges in front of a live audience. As each round of the competition progresses, the audience votes to decide who wins Best Dancer of the Night.


Person standing on a brightly lit stage pointing
Photo courtesy of NBC
“Even though I was nervous about the show, the competition was a lot of fun because it was amazing to be able to meet so many different people who all shared their common love for dance,” she said.


Practicing her craft and putting in long hours of training is nothing new for Patel who recently completed a one-year general dental residency program at the Loma Linda VA Healthcare System after graduating from HSDM. Since then, she has worked part-time as a general dentist in the Greater Los Angeles area while co-founding and running her own dance academy, DesiFuze. DesiFuze teaches dance and fitness routines that combine shuffle footwork with South Asian dance styles.


Patel developed her interest in dentistry through a culmination of different experiences that involved shadowing and volunteering for dentists and dental specialists throughout high school and college.


“Through those experiences I found that dentists have the unique opportunity to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with their patients and help them in a variety of ways from alleviating their pain to boosting self-confidence,” Patel said. “I also found dentistry to be a lot of fun because of how much you get to work with your hands and develop a skill that can continuously be improved upon.”


With thousands of followers on social media, this dancing doctor continues to use her platforms to share her passion for both oral health and dance.


You can follow Patel on Instagram and TikTok, @eshhpat.


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