Who would believe we are the same country that preferred to read textbooks, not novels, write essays, not poems, sing the national anthem, not odes to nature? As for dance, that shocking pastime of the Bollywood vamps and their club-going fellows, that was totally taboo. No, we are not a nation known for its disco diwanas, or are we? Look around you at the boards lining the markets and residential neighbourhoods and you will find a proliferation of dance academies. The demand, according to owners and trainers, is ever growing. What has changed the reality? Well, reality TV for one.
You can’t get away from the old adage that nothing succeeds like success. With dance competitions keeping TV audiences glued to their sets, arguing and smsing their votes through the week, and winners finding sudden celebrity status, not to mention lavish prize money and the possibility of a Bollywood career, why should we think the textbook is our only refuge now? We Indians are on the move, and we are enjoying shaking a leg along the way. So, just as the aspirations of millions to get a better life have made education from nursery level to university a profit making business, so too with India’s penchant for shaking it up.
Certainly, reasons beyond television, like increasing liberalisation among the upwardly mobile, expendable income and easier access to western trends have added to this phenomenon too. Incidentally, the trend seems to have had at best a mixed effect on the classical dances. Here we take a look at how the Delhi-NCR is moving and shaking under the (hopefully) watchful eyes of trainers in establishments in the most unlikely of places.