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Choreography, when passion turns into profession

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Nowadays, Performing Arts is emerging as a career option among the youth of India. One of the important profession, youth is taking interest into is Dance trainer. Shiamak Davar, one of the renowned choreographers in the country, shared his views in this regard with Elets News Network (ENN).

Dance is now a viable career option. Whether as a performer, dance instructor, choreographer or entrepreneur in the field of the performing arts; there is a plethora of opportunities. Being a first-hand witness through the transitional phase of western dance in India, the last thirty years have been a revolution of sorts. I’ve observed a positive and impactful change in people’s attitude towards dance as a career. The industry has opened up tremendously, arts and culture have become hugely popular and in effect people don’t fear making their passion a profession. This transitional change in people and the overall market has opened doors.

Belonging to a family of educationists, I’ve always understood the importance of education. I grew up under the influence of my parents, graduates from Massachusetts Institutes of Technology (MIT) and Founded of Davar’s College of Commerce in 1900. Though I always found comfort and a sense of belonging in performing arts, I always knew the importance of having a strong academic background. Only on completing my graduation did my parents allow me to pursue my passion.

I was blessed with parents, who at that time, allowed me to follow my passion and make it a profession. Today, as I see boys and girls from all over the country striving to break into the field of performing arts, I’m overjoyed and grateful that dance is now accepted as a career.

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When I decided to make dance my career, I brought both aspects together with “Dance Education.” My aim has been to provide quality dance education in India through a well-structured syllabus, inculcating correct technique and providing wholesome training to students of all ages. Whether it is in my regular, progressive, hobby dance classes or workshops in schools, I train my faculty to teach children of all age groups, understanding their individual requirements and ensuring that they learn in a fun and friendly environment.

Passion is at the forefront of anything that you want to do in life. Each of us is blessed with a talent that is unique to us. When you enter a dance studio, you should feel at home; there is a sense of belonging. Passion for dance will come from within and it is this passion that will make you realize that you were born to dance. If you are not passionate about dance, after a while either it will start feeling like a “job” or you will stop enjoying the experience of choreographing, learning and dancing.

For someone to make dance a career, I’ve always insisted and laid stress on the importance of training. With easy access to the internet, most people skip this training phase and become professionals just by watching videos and probably copying them. But people must understand that you can harm your students if you aren’t trained. It is essential to learn professionally before you begin to pass on the knowledge.

Passion must be the driving force for anything that one wants to do in life. Each of us is blessed with a talent that is unique to us. If you are not passionate about dance, after a while either it will start feeling like a “job” or you will stop enjoying the experience of choreographing, learning and dancing. A dancer must always be hungry to learn, to keep improving and working on their dance-ability. There is never a “best dancer”, there is always something to achieve, something to improve and something to learn. A successful dancer will always have the fire to keep going.

Technically, to make it a profession, one must be flexible, agile and have an understanding and knowledge of music and rhythm. Being a versatile dancer will give them an edge of being able to adapt to different movements and dance styles. Dance is not just physical experience,  but a mental, emotional and spiritual one too. You need to be mentally strong to sustain hours of rehearsals, years of struggle and decades to find acceptance. If you have a grounding in either ballet or Indian Classical dance forms, your foundation will be extremely strong. These styles form the basis and prepare you for any other dance style. In terms of technique, understanding of the body, positioning the weight, balance… the overall understanding and adaptability becomes easier.

My purpose in dance, is the incomparable happiness I feel in spreading the joy of dance. In my One Year Certification Program (OYP), each year I receive thousands of entries of hopefuls who want to take up dance professionally. This makes me feel so grateful that things have moved in the right direction and whether boys of girls, whether from cities or towns, dance is relevant, accepted and understood today.

The scope of dance and choreography in fact goes beyond just the art on its own. That’s why I’ve included modules in event management, backstage, production, sound, light, musicality, audio & video editing, and even grooming and nutrition in OYP.

The talent in our country is unbelievable. We no longer need to look at the West; there are plenty of opportunities here. Whether it is becoming a dance instructor in schools, teaching hobby classes, teaching families for Sangeets, performing in films and award shows, being a part of professional teams that perform in musicals or even going abroad and taking up dance full time; the prospects are endless. What is the most important is to constantly have that hunger to learn, train and then pass on the knowledge.

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