As Shiamak Davar takes up the job of a mentor on a TV show, he talks about current trends in dance
“When I was growing up, there was hardly any parent who wanted to see his child becoming a choreographer.
“Today, we see kids hogging the limelight on television,” says Shiamak Davar, who will soon be seen as a mentor on India's first show on street dancing, on UTV Bindass.
‘Bindass Street Dance' will focus on freestyle dance forms such as krumping, b-boying, hip-hop, tap dance, contemporary and Bollywood.
“As a mentor, I will give tips and my guidance to the contesting teams. I will also pick a wild-card entry to enter the finals. The winners will be given a chance to train in my dance school for a year.”
Shiamak acknowledges his role in bringing respect and money to the profession, but also points out there is an overdose of dance on television.
“Some of it is simply acrobatics. I am not a great fan of forms such as b-boying. I am all for fusion, but good blend is that where the dignity is. I don't see this happening on these shows, and part of the problem is that people judging them are either not aware of the nuances of different forms or don't care about it.”
Fusion is fine, but purity should also be appreciated. Mostly, we see participants performing a classical form chucked out after a few rounds, on grounds of lacking versatility.
“That's why I avoid judging such shows. I have drawn a lot from Chhau, Odissi, and Sufi forms, and believe that for contemporary dance, we must have a strong base in classical and folk traditions.”
He says that the positive aspect of these shows is that more and more youngsters are taking up dance.
“I don't expect everybody to take it up as a profession or for competition; people should take up dance to develop personality, fitness and aesthetic sense. Now more and more teenaged boys are taking up dance as a mode of relaxation, but a large section still thinks dance is for girls. It is ironical, since we see a lot of Indian men dancing in wedding processions.”
Can we call it freestyle? “Not quite, it hardly has any form,” he laughs. “But it is indeed an expression of happiness.”
The different styles
He says he still gets to see boys whose parents see dance as a feminine occupation. “They feel dancing will turn their kids effeminate. I cite examples of Shahid Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Govinda and Prabhu Deva to prove my point. All of them have different personalities, but all of them are great dancers.”
Talking of his student Shahid Kapoor, Shiamak says, he found Shahid's freestyle dance in “Kaminey” as the only exciting dance number from Bollywood. “That's what I call real freestyle. Otherwise, it's getting repetitive and boring.”
Still remembered for his comments in broken Hindi on ‘Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa', Shiamak says: “My Hindi used to be awful, now it is bad. I am working hard to achieve the OK status!”