An all male dance crew from India are determined to do things differently, 'hatke'. Their recent dance video series called 'Quake Files' is not just major on dance but huge on concept. With new concepts, new choreographies and new energies, Quake Crew, aptly named, are here to shake the world.
Quake Crew is such an apt name for your energetic and massively talented crew. Take us back to the early years, how was the idea first conceived and what were its inspirations?
It was our founder and crew leader Saad Akhtar's idea to form a crew which should be different from rest of the crews in terms of dancing and performance. He wanted to create something which will leave a powerful impact on the audience and viewers. And he wanted to give the crew a name which can justify his thought. One-day Delhi was hit by 3 earthquakes and shook everyone and Saad got the right name after observing that QUAKE.
You have had massive exposure both in India and abroad. Recently you had toured Europe attending FairPlay Dance Camp in Poland and Urban Dance Camp in Germany. What have such experiences taught you?
It would be better to hear about the experience from Saad Bhai (we call him Bhai out of respect) and Sunil. As these two went out for the camps. We followed them on social media and were really happy to know that both of them did really well in the camp and Saad Bhai even got the chance to spend personal time with the artists and even got a t-shirt as a gift from one of the legendary dancers Salah.
We went back to Saad to get his comments, and here’s what he said
It's been a great journey so far. Very enriching and fruitful. I got my first major break at HHI in 2014, as their panellist in India. Got to teach a whole lot of students in different states, and that in turn taught me so much about the dynamics of student-teacher bonding, understanding bodies, pushing each person in your class. It’s a responsibility, being a teacher. You have to bring the best out of your students. It's an honour, being able to influence lives in such a creative manner. I learnt then, what it really means to be a teacher and hold that torch up high.
Fairplay, UDC and my whole trip in Europe was a whole different experience. I suppose your growth needs to be a mix of teaching and learning. I was missing out on the latter part and felt it was high time I caught up with the newness of the industry and became a student again. I met dancers from all over the world, each one with something unique to offer. I developed this knack of sincerely observing several students, understanding their movements and see what I could learn from them. You can learn so much from a fellow dancer, I was reminded of that when I attended classes at Fairplay. Of course, I really loved being able to finally learn from artists I only admired in videos. I always try to push myself to do better, so I never quite know how good I am unless someone tells me. It was overwhelming to have artists of such great skill and calibre notice me and point me out amidst such a diversely talented batch.
Dytto, Keone, Salah, Shaun Evaristo and Henry Link complimented me for my musicality, body control, tutting and focus which was genuinely humbling.
I also got to spend some time with the legendary Salah. We spoke at length about pretty much everything under the sun. Just listening to him talk about things and grasping his wavelength was such a pleasure. On the last day of the camp he gifted me a T-shirt too which I am going to keep with me forever. All in all, all of it has been very humbling indeed.
What have been the major challenges that you faced while setting up the crew? How does one deal with finances/finding work etc on a day to day basis?
Major challenges were having to schedule proper timings for practice which will suit everyone, proper space and to understand each other as we all were new in each other's life. Thankfully everyone is a professional dancer in our crew out of which two have their own studios. All of us are working together in those studios and Saad Bhai works with T-series. Sometimes there is a crunch of money in the crew but we handle it together.
What is your crew’s choreographic process. Is it an organic process in which all crew members contribute? Which international dance crews or artists inspire your choreographies?
Everyone has their own favourite artist but the very first day we started our practice Saad Bhai asked us not to "FOLLOW" any particular dancer because subconsciously we start to imitate them and their moves. He didn't want anyone who imitates a particular artist. His vision was to see different artists and different individuals in us who are not a copy of anyone. It was really good for us.
You will see different styles in our crew and we never copy the steps from any national or international artist. Everyone has their own choreography and gives their feedback but the final piece is decided by Saad Bhai (especially the transitions) as he knows exactly which piece will look good where on stage or a video and how to transit from one style to another.
What changes would you like to see in the Indian dance industry in the near future?
There is a lot of comparison in the industry where a solo artist compares himself with another, or a crew compares themselves with the other crews which creates hate at some point, but only a handful compete with themselves to get better. We would like to see a healthy competition where artists don't compare but respect each other more and compete with themselves.
What are the future goals and plans of the Quake Crew?
Plan is that there is no plan (haha). We just want to get better and better with a single aim in mind which is to represent India on an international platform and win.
Check out the first episode of 'Quake Files'
Once again huge congratulations to the crew on a fantastic dance series, and wishing them all the very best in their future endeavours.