India has a very rich culture of classical dances like Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam and Odissi. However, one must learn to incorporate and accommodate aspects from other cultures around the world in order to grow and become multicultural in this period of globalization.
There are the stalwarts who took it upon themselves to educate people and make western dancing easily accessible and available to all who were eager to learn.
Shiamak Dawar is a singer-dancer-performing artist largely responsible for modernizing India’s dance scene especially in the film and theatre industry.
Shiamak has been the celebrity judge and guest judge for numerous dance-based reality shows in India and has choreographed performances at events of national and international importance. His dance productions, namely, One, Yes!, I Believe and Selcouth are considered the finest in India.
Shiamak Davar International is one of the most prestigious dance academy enriching the lives of over a million dance enthusiasts across India, Canada, Australia, the UAE and the UK. His academy offers classes in various dance forms as well as intensives and fitness programs.
Shiamak’s Victory Arts Foundation (VAF) is a non- profit organization committed to making dance a meaningful experience for everyone. Using dance as therapy, VAF teaches dance to underprivileged children and children with mental and physical disabilities to help them experience the pleasure of expression.
Terence Lewis is recognized as India’s leading choreographer, dancer and TV judge. He studied and started dancing in St. Theresa's Boys High School, Mumbai. He is trained in jazz, ballet and contemporary dance at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance in New York.
He subsequently became the first Indian to receive a fully-funded scholarship to study at Impulstanz, Vienna (the world’s leading contemporary dance festival) and was the only regular Indian member of the Impulstanz teaching faculty.
He also introduced Indo-Contemporary, by incorporating his knowledge in Indian dance and bollywood with contemporary technique.
Terence has judged India’s top dance-based television shows and is the Founder of Terence Lewis Professional Training Institute and the Artistic Director & Founder of Terence Lewis Contemporary Dance Company. He has also choreographed international stage shows, Bollywood shows, corporate launches, Broadway Western musicals, feature films, ads and music videos
Today, he isthe only Indian member of the UNESCO- International Dance Council – CID- Conseil International de la Danse.
Ashley Lobo’s involvement in theatre and dance was the inevitable result of being brought up in a very artistic environment. His mother, Celia Lobo, is an opera singer and theatre personality.
He moved to Sydney, Australia in 1989 where he studied dance at the Bodenweiser Dance Centre (under the late Margaret Chapple) and the much-reputed Sydney Dance Company. Ashley trained in Classical Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary styles of dance extensively over years and performed in several musicals in Australia.
He moved back to India in 1998 and founded The Danceworx Academy, to teach dance along the lines of dance institutes overseas. Currently, its curriculum consists of styles such as Contemporary, Ballet, Classical Ballet, Western, Jazz, Modern, Jazz Funk styles in Mumbai and Delhi. The aim of The Danceworx Academy is to develop the student’s creative potential to the highest possible level and to train and channelize young talent under the guidance of well-trained teachers.
He has been a member of the guest teacher faculties of National School of Drama and Barry John’s IMAGO School of Theatre Studies.
Mandeep Raikhy is a dancer-choreographer keen on exploring the intersections between dance creation, performance, research and pedagogy. He began his journey of movement by studying jazz at The Danceworx, New Delhi. Subsequently, his interest in contemporary dance took him to London where he completed BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre at Laban. He worked and toured with Shobana Jeysingh Dance Company for several years.
Since 2009, Mandeep has been the Managing Director at Gati Dance Forum, where he has worked to develop a supportive environment for contemporary dance in the country through projects as diverse as residencies, festivals, publications and advocacy initiatives.
He has created 3 full-length works, Inhabited Geometry (2010), A Male Ant Has Straight Antennae (2013) and Queen-size (2016) and divides his time between creating and touring his artistic work and contributing to the field as a dance administrator.
He has also led the curriculum development team for the Master’s in Dance Practice to be launched at Ambedkar University Delhi from July 2017. This programme is the first of its kind in South Asia.
Shakti Mohan is a celebrated dancer- actor whose dance journey rocketed sky high when she was announced the winner of Zee TV's dance reality show Dance India Dance season 2. . A trained contemporary artist, she graduated with a diploma in dance from Terence Lewis Dance Foundation Scholarship Trust in 2009.
In 2012 she collaborated with composer, Mohammed Fairouz, on a BBC-sponsored dance project in New York. She has been a judge on both national and international shows and has also produced a dance music video with her sisters.
She is currently appearing as a judge on popular dance reality show, Dance Plus (season 2), on Star plus.
Shakti also runs initiative called Nritya Shakti under which she has Nritya Shakti studio, Nritya Shakti tour, i.e., a series of dance workshops by Shakti Mohan around the world and Nritya Shakti store, i.e., a clothing line designed for dancers by Shakti.
India is a multicultural nation and the numerous dances found can be attributed to its multiplicity. These inspiring dance icons are role models to many, not just in India but also abroad.
We would love to hear from you, who are your major influences in Dancing?