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She dances her way to glory

Bhubaneswar, March 7: Dancer and choreographer Mandakini Jena is on a roll. After her string of chummeshwari performances, as choreographer, mentor and judge Terrence Lewis calls them in the reality show Dance India Dance (DID), Mandakini is now flying high with her own dance academy M-Zone.

“I always wanted to do something for the lovers of Western dance in Odisha. The show made me a known face and helped me open a dance school in the capital that teaches both traditional and Western dance forms,” said Mandakini.

Even without formal training in Latin dance and traditional dance forms, Mandakini used to amaze the judges with her performances. With her fiery attitude and nimble footwork, it didn’t take her long to win over the judges at Chak Dhoom Dhoom either.

“I always received positive feedback from the judges. However, it was the audience’s vote that stopped me from going further. Since then, I decided to open a school where I could train and groom students so well that they would never be voted out by the audience,” said Mandakini.

After her stint in reality shows, she decided to train herself in several dance forms. Today, she is adept in dance forms, such as Bharatnatyam, Odissi, chhau, fusion, contemporary, hip-hop and salsa. Mandakini’s talent has taken her places. Now, a regular member of Terrence Lewis’s dance troupe, she had the opportunity to display her talent at several events in New York, Bangkok and Dubai.

Though Mandakini has received several offers to work in Mumbai, she has decided not to shift base from Bhubaneswar. She is busy juggling between dance shows, classes, and judging Odia dance reality shows. She also has plans of producing her own dance reality show, in which contestants will be chosen from the city’s slums.

Her mentor Terrence has been her inspiration ever since she got an opportunity to interact with him.

“Right now, I am working hard and preparing for another popular reality television show— Just Dance — judged by Hrithik Roshan. I am content and happy with M-Zone but participating in reality shows gives me a high. These shows are learning experience for me,” said the young dancer.