Metrolife: Dance moves in many directions

Bengaluru dances for fitness, rejuvenation and activism. Sunday is World Dance Day

Shrabani S Das (extreme left) with her team Left Foot Right Danceworks.Image courtesy: Shrabani Das

Dance is taking on many roles, and in recent years, Bengaluru is witness to its myriad possibilities.

People are dancing for fitness, rejuvenation, and activism. 

Jayachandran Palazhy, founder and artistic director of Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, says dance now transcends gender, age and socio-economic barriers.

“We have a programme for working professionals, and another for people above 40,” he says.

People are more aware of the medical benefits of dance. Many studies suggest there is no better medicine for brain and neural plasticity than dance. 


RICHARD DAVID THOLOOR

“In dementia, some neural channels are blocked, and dance opens up these channels... The wiring that dance provides helps retain one’s youth, and the agility of body and brain,” he adds.

Richard David Tholoor, international dancer who teaches salsa, hip-hop and bachata, says dance has entered all spheres of life. “Schools conduct more workshops and classes, and the focus is on students not just being intelligent but also creative,” he says.

Physical expression and health are the focus at many dance schools. “Dancing with a special one is considered a great bonding activity. Corporate companies now host dance workshops as they bust stress and improve performance at work,” Richard says.  

Rajesh Singh, Bollywood and contemporary dancer, runs Dreamz Academy on Bannerghatta Road. He says dance is big on innovation.

“By the time a new step comes out and gets popular, there is a new trend already out. It is a very competitive field now. The good part is that everybody wants to learn dance,” he says. 

Boosting self-confidence and improving socialising skills are the prime reasons people take dance up, he vouches. He teaches children as young as three. Some students are in their late 40s.

Shrabani S Das, managing director and performer with Left Foot Right Danceworks, finds some styles catching on in Bengaluru: contemporary, hip hop and jazz.

“Earlier Bollywood dance was the most sought-after option apart from the traditional styles but now people like variety. Reality TV shows have brought about exposure to different movement forms,” she says.

She finds the city a hub of experimentation. “This makes the city a place for many residency programmes, with people from across the globe coming in,” she explains. 

Internet trends

RICHARD DAVID THOLOOR, salsa dancer, says, “Like it happened with the song ‘Gangnam style,’ dance encourages people to join in and express themselves online or be part of a trend. The latest trend is dance steps in support of your favourite IPL team.”

Dancing for a cause is a new phenomenon. Flash mobs and performances for occasions like World Suicide Prevention Day make a big impact. “When one sees upbeat movements celebrating life, it is easier to reinforce the idea of living in the moment and enjoying life more,” he says.

Gender barriers

Jayachandran Palazhy
Jayachandran Palazhy

JAYACHANDRAN PALAZHY, founder and Artistic Director of Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, says, “Dance has cut across stereotypes. In Attakkalari, we call it movement arts as it keeps movement at the centre. When one says dance, there are preconceived ideas. Compared to a decade earlier, where there would be one male participant among 10, there are four now.”

Unusual dance schools

  • Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts: 99450 29740

  • Left Foot Right Danceworks: 78298 78242

  • Richard David Tholoor Dance Project: 92434 15681

  • Tarantismo Creative Dance Company: 88847 61444

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Metrolife: Dance moves in many directions

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