The Telegraph
Monday , October 29 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Harshvardhan Bhan aka FUNKEY.

Age: 22.

College: Communicative English, third-year, Asutosh College.

Claim to fame: Harsh’s been a participant in dance reality shows on Bengali and national television, even cracking the auditions for India’s Got Talent and Dance India Dance.

Special mention: As part of the crew Crafts of Kammotionn, Harsh has won a number of street dancing face-offs in the city. And once he grooved into the college fest circuit, there was no stopping this move maniac. He was invited as a guest performer to events like the IIT Kanpur Street Dance 2010 and 2011 and also to choreograph dance performances.

Face-offs like Saturday Night Live 2012 (near Don Bosco School Park Circus, in July 2012) saw Harsh matching steps with Australian beatboxer LC Beats (aka Luke Cavalan). He also ranked second in popping at Crank Dat Street Battle 2012, presented by Delhi Technological University.

Starting point: Three years ago, the band where Harsh was a vocalist split and a friend introduced him to hip-hop, a form of dance that originated on the streets of the US, among African-American communities. “Never ever in my life had I thought of becoming a dancer. Gradually it became an addiction as I started practising with my friends, sometimes for six to eight hours a day,” says the mover and shaker.

“I was dancing to learn new ways of expressing myself. From a vocalist to a hip-hop dancer, the transition resulted in a huge change within me, both mentally and physically,” he adds.

Next step: His aim is to make dance a more “respectable career option”. Harsh and his friends have come up with a non-commercial dancing forum called the Big Bong Theory. The BBT team comprises not just dancers but also beatboxers, rappers and graffiti artists — all that hip hop dance essentially stands for. They teach underprivileged children this new dance form.

Organising street jams and ciphers for GenY, Harsh is intent on making hip hop flourish as a dance form in India. With the right kind of information, Harsh believes, elders will soon stop equating hip hop with “gangsters and drugs”.

“Hip hop is about people who want to express themselves through peace, unity, love and having fun by implementing the four elements of hip hop — DJ-ing, beat-boxing/rapping/ emcee-ing, graffiti writing/spray painting and dancing. I hope parents support their children who want to take up dancing. One can make a very bright career out of dancing,” he insists.

Family says: “My family wasn’t too happy when I started dancing. They thought I was confused in life because I shifted focus from singing. Now, my father, sister and brother-in-law give me full support in whatever I do, though my mother still tries her best to make me realise that there is no future in dancing. I hope I can change her mind some day and prove my merit,” he sighs.

Future plans: “To take up dancing professionally after I finish my Masters,” smiles the dimpled dude.

Short takes

Favourite dancer: Salah Benlemqawanssa (popper), Prosenjit Guy Kundu (house/old school), James Brown — God of Funk and Soul (American singer of the 1960s).

Favourite form/step: Funk.

Toughest dance form: Breaking.

Favourite music: Funk and soul.

Favourite choreographer: Ganesh Hegde, Prabhudheva.

Would love to shake a leg with: Salah Benlemqawanssa and James Brown.

Would love to choreograph: Hrithik Roshan and Shahid Kapoor, together.


A Very Short Story

What: Taking the Twitter philosophy to the next chapter, this is an online page by Texas-based author-copywriter Sean Hill, who writes stories within 140 characters. Given the quirky nature of his stories, they are quite the rage online. The stories are available on Facebook too, and a compilation has been published under the title Very Short Story: 300 Bite-Size Works of Fiction (Ulysses Press). The book is also on the Amazon Kindle list, with the Kindle edition priced around Rs 550.

Why we love it: Whoever thought the humble 140 characters could pack in so much punch?! Complete with an introduction, body and a twist in the tale at the end, the stories are a full package. The art of storytelling in just a line or two makes this page a brilliant read.

Story Stop: The page is available on Facebook under the name — @VeryShortStory. One needs to ‘Like’ the page to read the stories, which are updated frequently as status updates that will keep appearing on your home feed.

youth speak: “I am a big fan of Sean Hill. To be able to create such magic with so few words is truly impressive,” said Archisman Mukherjee, a final-year English honours student of Presidency University.

Shrestha Saha