After taking Bollywood by storm with his avant-garde choreography in Naach and bringing the “once anonymous” contemporary dance to your doorstep, Terence Lewis is all set to mentor the participants second time around in the hugely popular reality show Dance India Dance.
He is the first Indian to win the prestigious dance WEB Scholarship at Vienna, Austria. This good-looking dancer is trained in Contemporary, Indian folk and neo-classical dance forms. With a degree in Microbiology and Hotel Management, Lewis' foray into professional dancing did not please his mother but he broke the mould and, as he puts it, “chased his dreams”. The internationally trained dancer has choreographed several international stage shows, mega Bollywood shows, corporate launches, Broadway West End musicals, feature films, ads and music videos. Here he talks about the love of his life – dance!
What is your philosophy about dance?
Dancing is all about ABCD – Any Body Can Dance! I truly believe that anyone and everyone can dance. In fact, everyone should dance because it is an expression of joy and cultivates positive energy. Dancing is all about the three ‘A's – Attitude, Aptitude and Ability.
Which form of dance is closest to you and why?
Contemporary dance is very close to my heart. It is the extension of humanity in dance form. Its organic character allows you to express emotions within the structure and form of dancing. It is fluid and not fabricated. The beauty of Contemporary Dance is that you are not performing to an audience but in fact you are telling a story. It pushes you to be more humane and grounded.
Is there a difference between a dancer and an artiste?
There is a difference between dancers and artistes. All artistes are dancers but all dancers are not artistes. To become an artiste, it is imperative to work hard and put in hours of practice to achieve that expertise and skill level. An artiste uses his body in the form of a craft to tell a story. The biggest challenge for an artiste is to prolong the heightened experience for the viewer. Dance has to be riveting and only then will it be able to propound the emotion it carries within itself.
You are a mentor in real life and on reality show “Dance India Dance”. What challenges do you face on a daily basis?
Mostly dancers are very rigid. They are afraid to step out of their comfort zone and try different styles of dancing. Dancers must understand that versatility is essential to their growth and thus they should try and break away from the mould. Dancers have to be ready to work for at least 15 hours a day. As a mentor on “Dance India Dance”, I have to be assertive and directive. I emphatically have to press upon their flaws so that they can improve upon them. I am there to please no one.
Why do Indian dancers not match up to international standards?
Internationally, children start training at a very young age, which is a proof that dance is taken a lot more seriously. As compared to India, they have far better facilities even in small towns and cities. In India, dance is a very city-centric hobby to pursue. But now the trend is changing, as you can see more and more professional dancers and choreographers.
Which dance form, other than Bollywood, is gaining popularity in India?
Contemporary dancing is the new Bollywood. Hip hop has always been very popular with people because it's so groovy and cool. Classical dance is also picking up momentum.