A Dancer is a dancer and it does not matter which style they practice, their hearts remain the same. On 29th April the very famous ‘International dance day’ was observed. This is one special day for all dancers, dance lovers and dance enthusiast where each and everyone who loves the art of dance comes out and celebrates their involvement in the art. Be it kids, youngsters or seniors or be it thin, fat, tall or stout or even the rich or the poor person. Dance celebration does not see background or community of a dancer.
Keeping this fact in mind that dancers have the same heart. I launched ‘India Dance Week’ four years back. I feel humbled to inform you that this is the only dance festival of India were Indian classical, Indian folk, International Folk, Ballet, Ballroom, Latin Dances, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Jazz, Bollywood and many more dances all come together on one single platform.
All these years ‘India Dance Week’ has been hosted by Phoenix Market City Kurla in Mumbai, this year the Winner trophy was unveiled by National Award Winning actress Neetu Chandra. Who before uncovering the trophy and logo danced to hit super hit song ‘Adaa’ from film Garam Masala leaving the crowd asking for more.
The show opened with over 2000 people waiting for the entry of Bollywood dancing legend Helen ji, who came to light the inaugural lamp. When the diva appeared on stage she was welcomed with a surprise dance and she surprised us even more when she gracefully moved and swayed to her hit song ‘Piya Tu Ab Toh Aaja’ leaving the audience totally spellbound. When she danced the crowd could not stop cheering for her and her iconic moves. The Queen of Cabaret declared the India Dance Week season 4 and what followed were series of dances from various parts of India and the world hosted perfectly by former Miss India and Miss Tourism the very gorgeous Priyanka Shah .
Uma Rele’s Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidhyala presented a mix of beautifully blended Bhataynatyam, Mohiniyattam and Kathak, along with few Indian folk dances. Then there were Villoo Bharucha School of Ballet showcasing not just the French style Ballet ‘Pas-de-Trios’ but also the Swan Lake Ballet respectively. Brian Fernandes Dance Academy Presented Rock n Roll, Jazz Funk, B Boying and Broadway. There were also demonstration of few popular Latin and ballroom dances: English Waltz, Cuban Rumba, Samba, Argentinean Tango, Cha Cha Cha and Jive.
There were two styles of Flamenco performed by leading Flamenco expert from Mumbai Shehzeen Cassum and her team of SCFA (Shehzeen Cassum Flamenco Academy), they danced the style called ‘Tangos’ which is a lively 4 count rhythm. A renowned song was used known as ‘Como el Agua’ sung by Cameron de la Isla and guitar by the legendary Paco De Lucia, they are two of the biggest icons in Flamenco music today. The other solo style that Shehzeen performed was ‘Guajira’ thuis dance style in particular has a lot of Cuban and Cubano influence. It is an extremely vivacious and beautiful style usually performed with a traditional Spanish fan called an ‘Abanico’.
Then there was India’s only male tribal belly dancer Arun Bhardwaj and his team from Indian Tribal School, who showed the audience some hot and sensual Belly dancing moves. There were two new style of dance fitness that were introduced on the ‘India Dance Week’ stage for the first time, Folk Fitness and Masala Bhangra. The super dynamic Aarti Pandey and her Folk fitness team presented some fitness steps inspired by Dandiya, Garba, Lavni and Koli dance. On the other hand, my most favourite person in the fitness world Shalini Bhargava and her team from JG’s fitness centre displayed the high energy steps of Bhangra and Gidda through a fitness way. The crowd got so excited that they even got up and danced with Shalini and Aarti.
But I feel that the best part of the evening was Indonesian folk dance Saman which was cheered the most by the audience, even asking for a repeat performance. I must mention that Saman, which is also known as the dance with thousand hands is a very famous dance from the world’s largest island country, Indonesia. Its origin is from the Gayo ethnic group and is mostly performed to celebrate important occasions. So to have Saman as the finale dance of ‘India Dance Week’ season 4 was the perfect choice. This unique dance is characterized by its fast-paced rhythm and common harmony between dancers. These two elements are key figures of Saman dance which became a part of UNESCO’s Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 24th November 2011. The ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) named Saman dance as the best ASEAN cultural preservation effort at the 25th ASEANTA Awards for Excellence 2012. I was so glad that Vipin Kushwaha and his Btd Group from Allahabad presented this dance to perfection.
Day two was the competition day where dancer from all over India took part, out of 3500 applications 22 contestants were chosen and they all danced with zeal and vigour to win the glittering trophy of ‘India Dance Week’ Season 4. To judge the dancer who came from all across India there were seven dynamic and super accomplished judges who not only danced themselves on their hit songs but also gave tips and advice to the contestants.
The Jury of ‘India Dance Week’ Season 4 was the singing sensation Shibani Kashyap, the stern Saas of Indian television Achint Kaur from Jamai Raja and Meghna Malik from Naa Aana Iss Des Lado, Gen Next Star Aashima Sharma, the Boogie Woogie Man Naved Jaffery, award winning actress and director Deepkshika Nagpal and television hottie and heart throb of millions Karan Mehra. The evening was hosted by internet sensation Ratan Pratap.
Stunningly Beautiful Sangeeta Bijlani who is the former Miss India, original ‘Oye Oye’ girl and the Bijlee of Bollywood like she is fondly called appeared on stage and mesmerised the audience when she danced to her hit songs ‘Gali Gali Mein Phirta Hai’ and ‘Oye Oye’ from her blockbuster film Tridev and later presented the winning trophy to the winner.
A Kid couple Enigma Dance studio won the 1st position with their naughty Cha Cha Cha, followed by Jackson Dance academy from Bhilai and Hip hop dancer Shrashti Verma from Chhattisgarh bagging the 1st runner up and 2nd runner up position respectively. A handicap dancer Anand Patre won the most inspirational award.
“India Dance Week” is a festival that believes in uniting dancers and bringing the world of dances together and it was proved by this year’s event as to encourage the dance lovers the team of India’s Biggest web series Love Life and screw up!!! Yuvraj Parashar and Kapil Kaustubh Sharma were seen performing with their entire co-stars on the title song of his series.
In our country, we have various Indian classical dance festivals, there are also folk dance festivals, there are many Salsa festivals and also festivals dedicated to modern and contemporary dances but ‘India Dance Week’ is one celebration of Dance where the motto is not to divide dancers as per their dance forms they practise but to unite them and their hearts as one. Because like it is said ‘A dancer is a dancer does not matter what dance he do.’
(Sandip Soparrkar is a well known Latin and Ballroom dancer, a World Book of Records holder and a Bollywood choreographer who has been honoured with National Achievement Award and National Excellence Award by the Govt of India. He can be contacted on email@example.com)