Whenever in India we have to look at breaking some dance records we normally think it will be some Indian classical or Indian folk dances. But recently a group of women dancers tried to break the Guinness Record not with dandiya or bhangra nor with kathak or bharatanatyum but with Japanese Fan Dance.
Japanese fan dance is a graceful and evocative form of story -telling that is normally said to traditional music, this dance which can have one or multiple fans dates from as early as regional cultural fusion during the Japanese Hein period, from 794 to 1192 CE. This fan dance style is very popular in Japan, Korea and China where choreographers and dancers mix music and artistry influenced court dances that eventually over the years evolved into important elements of ‘Kabuki theatre’.
Normally in the fan dance the fan is used as an extension of the arm to make the lyrical sweeping gestures or as a prop, a stand in for another object one of the most beautiful dance movements with the fan, popular in all Asian cultures including India with traditional and fusion fan dances, is the blooming flower; an ensemble of dancers becomes a colourful garden.
I was most thrilled to know of this dance and the record the group was trying to attempt as the dance was choreographed on one of my songs that I had choreographed few years back for film Saat Khoon Maaf directed by critically acclaimed award winning director Vishal Bharadwaj starring National award winning actress and our very own Desi girl Priyanka Chopra. The song I am talking about is ‘Daarling’ sung by Padmashree Usha Uthup and composed by Rekha Bharadwaj. For this super hit song and dance number, I was even nominated for best choreography for the prestigious Screen Awards and now knowing that this song was used to break a Guinness Record makes me feel overwhelmed.
For the Guinness attempt it was a 6 minutes and 36 second medley of ‘Daarling’ from Saat Khoon Maaf along with ‘Senorita’ from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and culminating with ‘Girls like to Swing’ from Dil Dhadakne Do choreographed by dynamic and very talented Pankaj Vij who is already a Guinness Record holder. In 2015 Pankaj and his partner Preeti had broken the Guinness record of the biggest Bollywood dance with 8726 kids dancing to hit Bollywood numbers (the previous record was by my dear friend award winning choreographer Terence Lewis for Zee Television).
Successfully attempting to break the world record for the largest fan dance which was held in Switzerland performed by 252 women, 585 Indian women from Amritsar dressed in Pink t-shirts and black tights made an swirling attempt while they seemed to be on a roll as they skilfully danced in tune with their Japanese hand fans.
Pankaj along with his team of dancers and team members hosted this dance at Trillium Mall. Mayor of Amritsar Shri Bakshi Ram Arora and DIG Border Range Shri. Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh who were the chief guest and guest of honour of the event respectively, applauded and encouraged all the participants by talking about our Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji’s motto ‘Save the Girl child’ from his all India initiative ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign.
This creatively and beautifully choreographed dance routine which had school girls, house wives and business women ranging from age 6 to 60 was successfully recorded in two attempts. This recorded dance number will now be reviewed by officials of Guinness World Records. Post the performance super excited Pankaj Vij said “We will send the video graphed evidence and judges’ report within a few days and I hope that the official news comes soon,”
The enthusiasm of participants was a sight to behold as all the women later celebrated their feat with a shout-out. Addressing the gathering of super excited performers and the mall packed with audience DIG Border Range Shri. Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh said “It is a great way to engage people with some social cause and also encourage ordinary people to be a part of something extraordinary. Even the smallest of feet can bring about the biggest changes”.
There was a special presence of renowned gynaecologist Ms. Jaspreet Kaur who while talking to the media said that when she began her practice in 2006 couples would abort the girl child after the gender test. However, through this attractive dance routine a wonderful message of ‘save the girl child’ has gone forward to the young couples.
Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora congratulated Pankaj and Preeti and the entire team behind the event for their wonderful Fan Dance choreography which sent out the perfect message of ‘Save the Girl Child’ a motto most importantly to be promoted in the northern part of India.
When I spoke with Pankaj, he told me “My team and me, we took about 15 days to choreograph this act. I have always believed that Dance is the best medium to send out social messages and through this Japanese fan dance routine we have tried to tell people that without a girl child there can never be a male child as the origin of every man is a woman”.
Former Mrs India, Simple Kwatra, who was the special guest, said it was fun watching young and old women enjoying their day out. “More than the dance, it was their confidence and their spirit that was surprising. With such a large group, it is difficult to not miss a single beat.”
Thought this article I would like to thank Pankaj and Preeti for sending out such an astonishing message to the people of today and lets us all wish them good luck hoping that the they make yet another new Guinness record. Through this record let the world also know that we Indians not just portray mythological and folk tales through our creative minds but even have the ability to bring out social significance messages trying to make the society we live a better place.
(Sandip Soparrkar is a well known Ballroom dancer and a Bollywood choreographer who has been honoured with National Achievement and National Excellence Award by the Govt of India. He can be contacted on email@example.com.)