When I was a teenager, dance wasn’t a slightly taboo concept. I say ‘slightly’, because the times didn’t exactly forbid or punish dancing. Indeed, most girls were sent for bharatnatyam or kathak classes. But these, seemed to be, at best, surface-level attempts to show how ‘broad-minded’ and ‘culturally inclined’ their families were. Even as a leisure activity, dance placed somewhere below music. Every child who learnt music was made to parade their skills at family functions and friendly gatherings. The dancers didn’t get the same kind of attention.
More contemporary forms of dance (then mostly Bollywood), were not taken seriously as forms of art or indeed, activities that could be pursued and nurtured, by everyday people. Somewhere around the turn of the millennium, that started to change. Maybe it’s because Bollywood got more modern and the dhak-dhak-jhatka-matkas gave way to more light-footed steps that were accessible to the in-front-of-TV dancer (which I assume would be the equivalent of the bathroom singer). In parallel, there was a concerted effort to push various other forms of dance, salsa being the prime leader in this. All at once, there were dance shows, dancing competitions & reality shows on TV, dance classes & special instruction in dance.
A decade later, dance is suddenly serious business. It’s a tangible career option, a viable part of major public functions and a respectable aspect of one’s profile or resume. Words like salsa, tango, merengue aren’t alien to us anymore. Even forms like belly-dancing and pole-dancing which would have been unmentionable a decade ago, are being openly advertised, sought and attended today.
This is personally intriguing to me, interested as I am, in both pop culture and art of any sort. But it never went beyond that. My musical career went from classical Carnatic music training to guitar lessons, to pop/rock jams on campus to stage performances all through my academic life and some after. I also had the mandatory bharatnatyam training too, as a kid. But it never went beyond that, save an awkward shake-a-leg at a crowded college festival. I never thought of myself as a dancer. I don’t even know whether I am graceful or not, since I never had a chance to explore it. So it’s quite wonderful to know that dance in several forms is now within reach of regular people like you and me too.
This is what got me thinking about this – Sayan Chowdhary, a friend and former colleague has begun a parallel career in dance at the relatively ripe age of 28. After over a year of lessons, shows and other dancing adventures, he now teaches too. It’s personal inspiration to me, that he’s able to manage a busy corporate career as well as a burgeoning creative one in a time-starved city like Mumbai. But he seems to be thriving on it, which is more than I can say of my other friends whose lives are sucked up completely by their careers. The group he is with, MadMax Academy of Dance is expanding with new venues & events. I think I’ll go shake a leg too!
Here are the details of MadMax’s next event. It’s free and it’s a Christmas special so do walk in (dance in?) with your foot-tapping shoes if you’re in the area:
MadMax Academy Of Dance: Christmas Dance With SantaFree Christmas dance workshops on Bachata & Bolly-Hop by Madan.This is a fun and lively dance workshop, which is not only enjoyable but also serves to educate participants about many dance forms. A dance experience not to be missed!Dress Code : simple, sober and elegant whiteDate : Wednesday, 28th Dec 2011Time : 7:30p.m. to 9:30p.m.Venue: Nipra House,17,Ropa Lane,Chandan Wadi,Marine Lines,Mumbai
To register in advance please contact us:ContactPhone : 993-0996-623Social MediaWebsite : http://wwww.madmaxdance.comTwitter : @MadanMadmax