Amazed by Indians’ passion for dance: German choreographer André Koschyk

André Koschyk   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

When German choreographer André Koschyk says that he is “amazed by the passion people have for dance in India”, it might come across merely as a courteous comment after being invited to the country. Koschyk is on a three-month long tour of India to train dancers, who are a part of Indian choreographer Shiamak Davar’s one-year certification course. He goes on to say that he finds the passion for dance here greater than it is in Europe. That is high praise coming from a dancer who has been choreographing, training and performing in Europe for over two decades. “In India, I saw that dancers put their body, heart and soul into dance. That is something I will take with me back home and tell my students there.” André was at The Glitterers - Dance and Fitness Studio in Bengaluru on Sunday for a workshop on tap dance and musical theatre. André got into dancing when he was 15. “In Europe, that is quite late. People who want to become professional dancers start as early as five.”

Influenced by his father, who was a chorister, he wanted to be a singer. “My friends asked me to try out tap dancing… I liked it and that is how it began,” he says.

André was trained at the prestigious Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts in London. He then started his career as a singer and dancer in musical theatre, where he also choreographed many musicals in Germany.

André and his wife run a dance school in Ulm, Germany, where they also have a vocational teacher training course. André is a member of the Fellowship of Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and a tutor for modern theatre and tap dance. He teaches in various summer schools, including the ISTD summer school in Italy.

Most of his three-month stay was in Mumbai. Despite the “crowded trains” and “crazy traffic”, he found the city welcoming. “I also attended a few Indian classical dance shows. Even though the movements and the stories behind them were unfamiliar to me, I enjoyed the shows.”

Shiamak has devised his own style of dance, which is taught during the course. Of this, he says, “It is hard to describe his style. It borrows elements from jazz and contemporary… and they sort of amalgamate in a nice way.”

André reckons professional courses facilitate careers for dancers. Even in Europe, he says, it isn’t easy to be a professional dancer.

“In Germany, for instance, if you want to have a career in ballet, you have to be versatile. Over there, every big town has a theatre.

You have to write to them and audition there. Sometimes people are looking for a specific type of dancer — tall or short — so, you wouldn’t fit. And, it is difficult to get a long-term contract.”

André says he misses his wife in Germany and is looking forward to his return at the end of February. “But I would love to come to India again.”

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 6:51:30 AM |

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