As the world will move and shake to International Dance Day this Friday, we invited popular dancing stars across genres to reminisce about their first dance lesson
Though I used to sing and act in plays back in the day, during a visit to London, I chanced upon an open class at the Pineapple Dance Studio. The teacher was surprised to know that I hadn’t had any professional dance training and told me I had natural talent. From there on, there was no looking back!
It’s a very old memory but I remember it being a magical moment. I first started training with Kumudini Lakhia. My family always wanted me to have holistic education and we were exposed to all kinds of art. I was definitely not scared about my first class as I wasn’t forced into it. I remember how I used to not like having milk, so my mother would send a glass with me to the class saying Kumu behen will make her drink it.
I never learnt dancing from a teacher in person. I was about 15 or 16 years old when I saw Michael Jackson’s film, Moonwalker. I come from an Air Force background and my father was very strict. So, I wasn’t encouraged to dance at home then. So, for two or three days, I practised the moonwalk at night. That video was my first dance lesson. I would watch all his videos and copy his steps. MJ is my dance guru.
I was six years old when I started learning dancing. Today, I am 59, and I am still excited about dancing. Dance was to me what khelna koodna is for kids. Music was always there in my family. My first dance lesson was with Bansilalji, who was also from the Jaipur Gharana. I remember I was very excited and happy. Since Saturday and Sunday used to be a holiday, I would get hyper and eagerly wait for Monday to return to my lessons. I had always known that dance is going to be my bread and butter.
I started learning dance late; I was about 24 when I signed up for a lesson by Jaan Freeman on the Horton technique of dancing. He would make his own music with a stick. It was super masculine. It had so much power and was full of energy.
This day is celebrated on April 29, and was introduced in 1982 by International Dance Council which is a partner NGO of UNESCO. The day meant to involve even those who are not associated with dance and start an international dialogue on different dance forms. The date (April 29) is also the birth anniversary of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), creator of modern ballet.