Jazz 'em up for Mumbai

Jul 16, 2012, 11:15 IST | Dhara Vora

If Jazz dancing is your first love, enroll for a workshop by New York-based choreographer Eric Campross and dancer-choreographer Anisha Shah. Campross, who has worked with The Backstreet Boys and Usher, shares with Dhara Vora in an email interview, about his love for dance and...

You have been touring the world extensively and simultaneously conducting classes as well. Where do you get the energy to juggle all of this?
Though I sometimes feel tired and need rest, it is impossible for me to stay idle when exploring new cultures and lands. I draw energy from the people I encounter, be it artists, musicians or anyone else. And it is my hope that others draw energy from me as well.

Choreographer Eric Campross will be conducting a Contemporary Jazz and Jazz Funk workshop in the city

I am fascinated by the way people live, and I am extremely curious about everything. Curiosity is what drives me to learn about other ways of life, to be better in my own life, and to explore our beautiful world. It may sound naïve, but we are all connected and in exploring and working with artists around the world that connection deepens. This alone gives me the energy to do many things (then again, every now and then, energy drinks help too).

You have worked with several international artists. Who has been the most memorable; both as a dancer and as an individual?
I have had the good fortune of working with some incredibly talented artists, and every one of them is gifted in their own dynamic way. My first big Hip-Hop job was with Aaliyah, and she was an absolute delight. She was full of love and kindness, with great respect for the art of dance and her dancers.

How did you fall in love with Jazz?
I had a wonderful teacher, early on in my life, who instilled within me a respect for all forms of dance. I now hope to instill that in my students. Jazz speaks to me in a way that is unique, allowing me to fully express myself without constraint. The freedom and ability to create without rules is greatly inspiring.

Anisha Shah will be conducting the workshop along with Eric Campross

You have performed at live concerts and at Broadway. As a dancer, how different was it?
It is extremely hard work but the biggest difference for me was the locality. I live in New York City (NYC), so while working on Broadway I could still take classes, see friends, and have a “normal” life. Touring is completely different as you are often in a different city every other day, living in hotel rooms and out of a suitcase. It wasn’t unusual to be doing a show and having to ask what city we were in!

How big is Bollywood as a genre of dancing internationally, especially in New York and other parts of the western world?
I have several close friends from India living in NYC, so I have a little more exposure than most. Bollywood is not big in the States but there are classes popping up here and there. My first exposure was seeing the Broadway show Bombay Dreams. The director of that show (Shirish Kunder) also directed the Bollywood Musical film, Jaan-E-Mann, which I can be seen in. They shot several scenes in New York and it was a terrific experience!

Are there any plans to choreograph projects in India?
Not at this point of time, but I hope to in the near future. It would be a fabulous experience to collaborate with a Bollywood style choreographer. The possibilities of what we could create are endless.

Is there a genre of dance that you would like to experiment with?
I am interested in the GaGa style, which is taught in Israel. It is interesting, innovative, quirky, and unlike anything I have ever done. And of course, I would like to experience more Bollywood. The movements are infectious and lift my spirit.

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