From prodigy to master

From prodigy to master

Dancing journey

It began when he was a sixth grader and represented his school in an All Gujarat Inter School Dance Competition. He went on to secure the first position, and to his disbelief had his name in newspapers the next morning — which he says “was the biggest thing for my family”. This led to his father ensuring that he got proper training, and thus began Dharmesh Yelande’s tryst with dance.

“I then learnt dance from my teacher, Krishna Rao, for the next 19 years. Post that, reality show Dance India Dance happened, followed by the Any Body Can Dance movie series. However, in between all this, there has been a lot of struggle because results did not matter to me. All that mattered was dance,” Yelande, who earned the tag of ‘Dharmesh sir’ during the reality show, tells Metrolife.

He adds that since he was determined to make it big, he never thought of giving up dance no matter how long it took to establish himself.

“I know a lot of people who start off right but give up the moment they are going to make it to the next level. I had no such thoughts. So I think the effort has paid off. I have worked really hard on my dance as I needed to improve myself to be on the top. I observed the person who came first and then worked on myself. I think I am a good loser and this attitude has helped me,” he says.

However Yelande, who secured the second position in the reality show had impressed Bollywood choreographers with his moves, confesses that he had never decided to become a dancer and all that he has achieved is god’s gift to him.

“When I was in Gujarat, my life was completely different, work-wise and personally. But after the reality show, things really changed for me. I learnt a lot of things about stage and life. I learnt how big choreographers like Remo (D’Souza) sir, Geeta (Kapoor) ma’am are, along with technical things like choreographing, editing and using the stage while shooting a song. The more I worked the more experience I gained, and soon went on to choreograph Tees Maar Khan’s title track. Slowly I also started getting a hang of acting. So to sum it up, the exposure I got was a great learning curve for me,” says the artiste, who has also judged and mentored a reality dance show, Dance +.

On his journey from being a contestant to a judge, Yelande says it is something he has earned. He shares that as a contestant, on seeing the judge’s chair he always wanted to sit on one, but not without being worthy of it.

“While rehearsing, if the chairs were empty, many dancers used to sit on them, but I never did as I wanted to earn that seat. So the first time I sat on it, I felt amazing and thought I had finally completed my long journey,” says the choreographer who wishes to choreograph actors Salman Khan and Aamir Khan, and work with choreographers Remo, Farah Khan and Bosco Martis in the future.

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