Finger dancing has taken dancer and choreographer Imthiyaz Abubacker a long way

Fingers create mudras in our classical dance forms. But fingers turn into dancers or theatre artistes at the hands of (practically!) Imthiyaz Abubacker.

Imthiyaz, 30, is a professional folk and cinematic dancer who is seriously into finger dancing. It was just a hobby at first, but three years down the line, the dancer is as busy with his fingers as he is with his international assignment with Bharathi the Show, or in group dances in Bollywood films.

“I just got the mail saying that my name will be there in the next Limca Book of Records (2013) for my finger dance album, Love Is Divine. My finger dancing has already got into the Indian Book of Records.”

Vande Mataram

On Independence Day, his patriotic finger dance show, ‘Vande Mataram’ was shown on a regional channel, soon after the President’s message. Keraleeyam, about Onam and our arts, is another of his finger dance productions.

“Finger dancing, as understood globally, is not what I do. While the fingers merely dance in such shows, mine turn into characters, and have costumes,” says Imthiyaz. “You can check this on the net,” he dares you. The gloved hand has painted characters who walk, dance, sit cross legged and even hold a conversation. The girl in the album even has a real billowing red skirt and a mini motorbike and bed are props on the ‘stage’.

In the freedom struggle dance, Gandhiji is one character and the swaying Indian flag is all grace. So amused were people that he was invited to take part in the ETV Adhurs The Ultimate Talent Search Show, where all kinds of art is showcased, like acrobatics and even yoga. They are also on the India Has Talent Show on Colours channel.

Remya, another dancer who is with him in Bharathi the Show, and two of his cousins form the team. Imthiyaz has been dancing from the age of three plus. His uncle, Master Jack Salaam was a dancer and he took him under his wings, teaching him break dance and the works, performing at local functions. His aunty taught him classical dance. Supporting his widowed mother has been the prime concern of Imthiyaz and his dream of building a house may turn into a reality soon, he hopes.

The big break came seven years ago when he got selected for the famed Bharathi the Show, Israeli Gashash Deshe’s international dance production still touring the world. “Actually, I was a dance coordinator and brought hundreds of dancers for the audition in Kerala. Nobody got selected. They then asked me to do a few steps and I got selected! At the final selection in Mumbai, out of 33 male dancers, 32 were from Mumbai. I was the only outsider. This opportunity has got me so much exposure and a chance to perform at some of the world’s best stages, in France, Canada, Morocco, UK, Belgium, Holland…” Imthiyaz has danced 16 times in Paris, 10 times in Switzerland and 11 times in Holland. He was also part of the India leg of the AXN Amazing Race crew last year, teaching the participants to do a Bollywood dance at short notice. Imthiyaz is into dance choreography too, assisting dance directors in Mollywood too. He was part of the team that choreographed and directed the underwater dance scenes of the movie, Ettekal Second recently.

The dance school, Fingers Planet at Thoppumpady is run by Imthiyaz and Remya. “It’s not as easy as it looks. Lots of practice is needs and the shoulders ache sometimes, because of the strain, but once you get into the hang of it, it’s fun.” He feels. He has bigger plans. “I want to teach special children finger dancing. Everyone loves to dance. Their urge to dance can be fulfilled this way. This is my next project.” Imthiyaz has a finger on every pie, choreography, direction, finger dancing, reality shows, production…