A dance festival with a heart – Sandip Soparrkar
There are many dance festivals that gets organised in our country each year. Some are classical based, some folk, some are for hip hop and contemporary dances and recently salsa festivals have also become very common. But don’t you think having festivals for a particular dance form divides the dances? As per my knowledge, YES! It does. When there is a classical dance festival, only those people who understand the dance form come to attend it or the admirers of the artist are seen cheering the dancer. At salsa festivals, dance enthusiasts who love couple dances are seen accompanying their partners to learn more details about the form they both love.
But if we look at a dancer in general, we will realise that a dancer is someone who loves to use movements, gestures, expressions, and body language to portray a character, story, situation or an abstract concept to an audience usually accompanied with music. So, what a classical dancer does or what a contemporary dancer does is the same, only thing different is the form they use to move. So why do we divide the dancers with festivals based on dance forms they practise? A dancer is a dancer at heart so why divide them? Keeping this thought in mind, I started ‘India Dance Week’ three years back.
I feel humbled to inform that ‘India Dance Week’ is the only dance festival in the country that brings all world dances together, be it Indian classical, Indian folk, western classical, international folk, ballroom, Bollywood. All dances came alive on the stage of ‘India Dance Week’. The first dance week was launched by Bollywood veteran choreographer Saroj Khan and following year the ‘mast mast’ girl of Bollywood, Raveena Tandon, lit the inaugural lamp. But this year was even more special when Bollywood dancing King Govinda came and performed his iconic moves on the ‘India Dance Week’ stage.
This two days festival is growing to become more and more special, apart from classical dances like Bharatnatyam, Mohiniyattam and Kathak we had folk forms like Kalbeliya, Bhangra, Bihu, etc. We also showcased some French, Spanish and Russian style ballet along with Nichibu from Japan, Long sleeve dance from China and Cham from Tibet. Then there were the popular dances like hip hop, Salsa, Jive, Waltz, Jazz, Broadway, Contemporary and more.
To make ‘India Dance Week’ a unique dance floor, the committee decided to add a new dimension to the dances. They came up with a motto ‘Dance for a Cause’. So this year we collaborated with two very special NGO’s; Advitya and PETA. On day one, the festival had some special people from all age groups, dance with laymen audience present there and make them realise that dance is a medium of entertainment that everyone enjoys. The voice of Advitya, actor Amit Dolawat, and Director, Producer, Actor Vandana Sajnani spoke about the incredible work the NGO is doing with music and dance for special people.
The day belonged to PETA – Jayesh Palande who was 1st runner up of ‘India Dance Week’ season 2, along with me put up an act ‘Save the Tiger – say no to Zoo and Circus’. Actress Sharbani Mukherjee who is the Voice of PETA, spoke of the dance act story as to how we humans capture this gorgeous animal and then use it for our entertainment at circus’ and zoos and then we feel that the tiger is of no use to us, so we kill it for our pleasure to make clothes, shoes and belts out of its skin. This hard hitting dance drama made people sit up and notice the unbelievable work PETA is doing world over.
‘India Dance Week’ which was held at Phoenix Market City, Kurla in Mumbai made sure that each person who came to attend the event be it a dancer, a dance enthusiast or a dance supporter went back with a thought in mind. A thought that made them realise that there is more to dance than just entertainment and stories. Dance is a medium that is looked down as a form of entertainment in our country but ‘India Dance Week’ believes that dance should also be a way to educate along with entertainment. So using dance as a form of infotainment this year, India Dance Week not just danced but ‘Danced for Cause’ and I am glad every person went back with a lesson of a lifetime.
(Sandip Soparrkar is an internationally renowned Ballroom and Latin Dancer and a Choreographer; he has also made his name as one of the top Bollywood choreographers of India. He can be contacted on email@example.com)