Step it up

International Dance Day

Step it up

Gone are the days when dance meant shaking a leg to a hip Western number or practising the ‘moonwalk’ by MJ. The artform has gone through myriad transformations and on the occasion of International  Dance Day, dance connoisseurs in the city talk about how the art has become a rage now.
One of the more abstract versions of this is belly dance.  Moumita Mondal who is with ‘Left Foot Right Danceworks’ says that belly dancing has gone through a huge transformation.

“A lot of people from different walks of life are taking up dance as it helps them look beyond. Our workshops see people including IT professionals and those who are not professional dancers,” she says. From being a rejuvenating activity to a fitness routine, dance is taking up many roles now, she adds.

Dance forms like belly dancing see a celebration of the body, says Meghana Suresh, a belly dancer. “Having learnt bharathanatyam earlier, I found belly dancing very feminine and fascinating, which is why I took it up. And it has evolved a lot,” she says. Meghana feels that people are taking dance more seriously and it is not treated as just a hobby anymore.

“Dance  helps to physically and mentally stimulate oneself. It garners a lot more respect now. People have realised that adapting the nuances of a dance isn’t easy,” she says.

Salsa and contemporary dancer Richard David Tholoor feels that the digital media revolution has shaped the culture of the youth and the in-thing for teens these days is to star in their own dance videos.

“Software engineer by day and salsa dancer by night has become the mantra of the working class now. People relieve stress by going out dancing at night as they can relax, meet people and dance to great music at clubs. Dance classes are also being seen in the corporate industry as a stressbuster now,” he adds.

More and more dance classes and institutes are coming up, which is a testimony to the growth of the dance scene in the city. Dance has grown beyond boundaries, says Jayachandran Palazhy, the founder and artistic director of the Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts.

He says that many professionals and full time students are increasingly getting interested in dance and adds that there are multiple reasons why people are drawn to dance now.

“Dance is not only connected to fitness, agility and faster movements but also to memory, cognition and the capacity to think, as it opens up new neuro channels. This in turn helps people to stay young and mentally and physically agile, while having a great time. It helps to step out of one’s normal life and helps rewire the body,” says Jayachandran.

The artform in different kinds has expanded beyond what one can explain, says Deepthi Shetty, director from Tarantismo Creative Dance Company.

“Dance has become lucrative as well — it’s about exploring one’s passion too but can also be turned into one’s business. This mentality has opened up a forum to many dancers and widened opportunities. People feel more encouraged to open up to different experiences through dance,” she says, and adds that there are a lot more men in the industry too, be it for social dancing or to explore it as an art form.  

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