Celebrations for the International Dance Day are on at Ravindra Bharathi. As the team of six dancers rehearses under neon lights to the chants of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, Prithviraj Ramaswamy, the artistic director of Steps Dance Studio reveals the production ‘Dance of Warriors’ has been inspired by Perini Shiva Thandava. “The show is a fusion and collaborative effort. It has ballet, contemporary, jazz and kalari in it and is inspired by the lifestyle of the people and courts of Kakatiya Dynasty,” he points out.
Besides Prithviraj, the team includes Anjuli Bhattacharyy, Jade Naidu, Anuhya Narne, Dominic Rosario and Shaik Akbar. Among the dancers Anjuli and Jade come with an international background and are in Hyderabad for the summer dance classes at Steps Studio. During a break, the two chirpy dancers talk about finding joy in dance. While Anjuli is a modern, jazz and contemporary dancer and choreographer from New York, Jade is a choreographer, performer and teacher and lives in Melbourne.
At the dancing sessions here in Hyderabad, the ‘students’ include a mix of adults and children. “I am used to teaching different children in the US and have observed they are all very eager to learn. This is the first time that I am teaching adults in Hyderabad and find them hardworking. But children are more open to ideas,” says Anjuli. Comparing the scene in Australia and India, Jade says dance is looked at differently in Australia. “I find a big change in Australia. Children from the age of five learn dancing so it becomes a chore for them and they take it for granted. Here they enjoy and want to learn,” she says. Anjuli chips in, “In US, although the children are technically better, here they are good in following instructions. They might not have the language but the learning ability is same. One doesn’t need a language to learn dance.”
Anjuli has toured internationally with different companies and talks about one of her shows. “American Bollywood shows are different from the Indian Bollywood as they also include contemporary and jazz. Everyone is a trained dancer and brings in a certain kind of technique to their performance. During one of the shows in Bahrain, there was this crowd of 10,000 people and we were performing to the number ‘Nagada’. The crowd was electrifying and went screaming ‘woah’. It was a thrilling moment,” she smiles. Jade says she is inspired from real issues. “I am influenced by society and things happening around us. Be it poverty or feminism… I am inspired by real issues and I incorporate them in my choreography. I feel dance is a powerful medium to put these issues across,” she states.
Jade is looking forward to more ‘songs, dance and touring.’ “I am still a performer and hope to pursue more choreography. I am also hoping for more collaborations,” says Anjuli