| A group sways to the music on stage at Science City auditorium on Sunday at the Summer Funk Show. Picture by Pabitra Das
The final rehearsals are in progress, but the student performers, dressed in sparkling hues of orange, green, blue, red, yellow and white, instead of being nervous, cheer each other with wild whistles, catcalls and standing ovations. It’s the moment of truth, but even the four-year-olds are bursting with excitement, not stage fright.
“I didn’t have any expectations, but I am definitely pleased with the participants’ and audience response,” smiles the star of the show, Mumbai-based dancer and choreographer Shiamak Davar. In town for the Summer Funk Show on Sunday, the result of a two-week Shiamak Davar’s Institute for Performing Arts (SDIPA) workshop, in association with Jyotirmai Club, the man of Taal and Dil to Pagal Hai fame proclaimed Calcuttans to be “enthusiastic dancers”.
In fact, so inundated was he with e-mails and requests for an SDIPA here, that will hold regular classes year-round, that Davar couldn’t help being moved. “It is a big part of the reason that I have decided to set up shop here,” he says, with two or three-month courses conducted by instructors from Mumbai, and himself present at the finale.
“Another reason is the fact that there are a number of fake dance classes being run using my name, and I am not associated with any of them,” he stresses. “I want to clarify that the only valid one I know of is under the SDIPA-Jyotirmai Club banner.”
And the partnership is set to continue in future, despite the fact that Davar is not in favour of “associations” because “I like doing things my way. But this cooperation has worked well, so we will continue.”
An added aspect of SDIPA that the city can look forward to is ‘Dancing Feet’, a charitable programme through which mentally and physically-challenged children can enrol themselves in the classes for free, which will kick off in Calcutta from July. The Mumbai project, with about 700 kids, is “doing very well”, says Davar.
Meanwhile, although techniques have to be altered from city to city and Mumbai has an 18-year advantage, while Delhi is ahead by about three years, Calcutta is not far behind, says the dancing man of the moment, who has choreography offers from Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar amongst others, on his table.
While he waits for “something new” in terms of films, his concentration is on the Institute. “The number of over-30s in this group is very good to see. And it doesn’t matter if they are old or young, fat or thin, it’s clear that Calcuttans like music and love to dance,” he sums up.