Dancing to the mouse

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Bollywood actor Madhuri Dixit recently launched her online dance academy, a concept still in its nascent stages in India. The online school will provide the beginner lessons for free.

This web portal will give Madhuri’s fans a chance to learn dance skills directly from the diva on songs like Ek do teen from Tezaab and Mai ni mai from Hum Aapke Hain Koun! Then there will be choreographers for more lessons. Within 48 hours of its launch, the website got 25,000 hits.

While the success of Madhuri’s online dance academy remains to be seen, there are a few dance schools in the City which have been providing classes online. Metrolife take a look at this innovative concept and its success rate.

Divya Music, based in Vasant Kunj Enclave, has been providing lessons in classical, folk and Western dances online since last one year but has found only a few takers. Stuti Kumari, director, Divya Music, says, “We teach dances like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Dandiya, Bhangra, Salsa and Hip-hop through an online interactive system. We have more than 15 learners from all over the world learning different styles of dance. Learning dance is a tough concept but gradually getting popular due to convenience. High-speed internet is also making it popular.” Students are willing to pay for the same through online systems.

But despite the emergence of internet in the country long ago, the concept of teaching and learning dance on an inter-active online platform remains largely alien even in big cities like Delhi due to connectivity issues. Rahul Verma, a choreographer and founder of Bollywoodnaach based in Bharat Nagar, experimented with this concept for a week on Skype.

“I taught two girls in Canada for around seven-eight days. For initial two days, there was a lot of connection disturbance. Either they couldn’t hear me or I couldn’t see/hear them. It was only to check out whether this concept is workable or not. The internet speed should be at least 8 MBPS on both sides and the screen of computer should be big enough. There is no set system at present. The mode of payment is also an issue,” he shares.

According to both Rahul and Stuti, online dance learning is good only if one is doing it for fun and it cannot be at par with face-to-face learning. The learning can be a shade better if the choreographer teaches live. “Learning dance online can not be at par with the learning at physical dance academies. It is good for beginners and helps them generate interest in the basics. It by no means a substitute for the traditional Guru-Shishya tradition,” says Stuti.

“What is important is instant feedback. If a live system, like Skype, is used, the learning can be very effective. But the catch is that, both should be able to see and hear each other properly. But recorded videos won’t work,” adds Rahul.

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