Dancing queens- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: If you’ve been on social media lately, a dance video creating storms around the internet is something you might have chanced upon. Zurich-based choreographer trio Usha Jey and Co. are seen dancing to Uproar by Lil Wayne, fusing both Indian classical and western dance forms. While many are sharing the video with positive comments, a few from the industry aren’t too fond of the fusion performance.

Having been exposed only to the dance form in its purest form, or at the most, semi-classical, dancer Susmitha Menon found the video quite surprising. “Seeing the dance form fused with other western dance forms was a whole new experience in itself. When exposed to such a concoction, it felt weird,” she says.
A firm believer in progress and moving with the times and the new age, Menon says, “Watching fusion dances as such felt like a step in the right direction. It creates a new platform for the dance form, creating opportunities for it to gain a wider audience globally.”

Chandrashekhar from Fusion Studio agrees. “It is a wonderful mixture of classical and hip-hop, a beautiful blend of simple steps. The performers have perfectly included both the dance forms at the right beats,” he says. According to Shekhar, mastering different forms of dance and bringing them together is a skill that needs a lot of practice and dedication. “It completely depends on the performer since he/she has to be good at both the dances, especially classical,” he says

Aastha Khera, a freestyle and contemporary dancer, says, “The blend of modern and traditional dance forms have been portrayed so elegantly on a global platform and accepted with so much passion. Such representation opens up dozens of new possibilities for aspiring dancers.”

The video has elicited some negative criticism as well, from young and old alike. Professional dancer and teacher Charles Ma, who has done many such fusions, believes that for it to be a good performance, it should remain under the dance form’s framework. “I’m open to experimentation. I’ve done fusion as well but it should stay under the framework of the dance origin. Many young dancers have diluted the dance over the last 10 years,” he says.

Ma believes that evolution is necessary for all fields. “We should not be closed to ideas. However, this dance is not aesthetic. My gurus taught me about the dance being dignified and aesthetic. This fusion lacks the dignity and aesthetics of raw Bharatanatyam,” he says.

Himadyuthi Deshpande, a younger yet experienced dancer, is of a similar opinion. “For me, it is essential to abide by the rules of classical dance, while at the same time exploring your creativity within the boundaries of the dance form. The very reason why Bharatanatyam is called a classical dance is that it has set rules which also give the dancer freedom to practice manodharma, where there’s individual freedom in choreography and performance, but within the framework of the dance form,” she says. (With inputs from Ishrath Mubeen)


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