“Dance is the hidden language of the soul”, said the late contemporary dance pioneer Martha Graham. And seeing the way Indian youth is pouring their heart out in contemporary dance classes we couldn’t agree any less. But what makes the dance form so popular?
Our curious cat started sniffing around and looking for the answer.
Contemporary dance has been in the global society from the late 19th century but it only became a hit in India during the 1990s.
So when you think of contemporary dance, who comes to your mind? Shiamak Davar! (That’s the name that popped up in our heads)
Said to be the pioneer of contemporary dance in India, we decided to ask him what makes the dance form so popular.
“What makes a style sustain is its novelty and originality. Whenever people see my work they all always say it’s very ‘Shiamak’. That’s where the name of this style came from,” said the ace choreographer, who runs a chain of dance schools around India by the name of Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts.
“When people join my dance classes they call it (the dance style) it the Shiamak style, which is my style of contemporary dance. It brings together Indian contemporary and modern movement with ballet technique,” he added.
But has contemporary dance in India really gained popularity in the recent years or we are the ones late to the party. No! Says director-choreographer Remo D’Souza.
“Earlier people didn’t know what is contemporary and what is jazz. Now people know what it is. They are one of the favorite dance forms right now” said D’souza.
“Dance always evolves. I think this is a trend. Whatever works in that time period, it works for them (dance lovers). Right now what I can see is that contemporary as well as Bollywood works a lot.” added Marzi Pestonji, who has judged shows like “Dance Ke Superkids” and has been a student of Shiamak’s academy.
There is no age to dream and there is no age to dance as well. But you really cannot imagine the granny next door willing to become a professional contemporary dancer!
“You need to start dancing at the age of 5 or 6 technically. So start training from that age and by the time you are 14 or 15 years of age you have actually mastered that art.” said Marzi.
However, he rues the face that people enroll in dance classes quiet late.
“People here in India generally come for dancing when they turn 14 or 15 years of age. What happens then is that the’ve lost the time in that crucial age. Body can be molded the way you want it. As you grow it becomes difficult because it is difficult to stretch it. When you are tender as kids it is friendlier to twist the bones in that way.” he said.
So now you know, it’s about time, rush to your nearest dance centre and get rid of your two left feet!
Is contemporary dance your thing? Tell us in the comments below.