Dance

Here's How Shiamak Davar Danced His Way into Indian Households

"My aim is to make dance available to everyone from ages 4 to 84"
Here's How Shiamak Davar Danced His Way into Indian Households
Image credit: Shiamak Davar
Singer, choreographer and performing artist
7 min read
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From the metropolitans to the interiors of the India, we have unmatched talent that is raw ad honestly, untapped. With the right mentoring and platforms to learn, they can definitely looking at making dance a viable career option for themselves. With the growth of awareness and acceptance, taking up this art form as a full time profession is now a possibility.

At my Dance Academy, toddlers from the age of four to seniors at eighty four come to learn. As humans, we look for spaces that make us happy, allow us to express ourselves and surround us with people who do not judge. This is the premise under which all my instructors teach. When you invest your time and energy into people, the aim is to provide them with an experience that makes them feel positive. It is when they feel at peace with themselves do they get a chance to showcase their real talent without any fear.

I do not look at talent as an investment. For me, it is a process of giving people an avenue to channel their energies into the right direction. From personal experience, I started out at a time when dance was not considered a viable career option. Today, when the society has opened up and dance is now a profession, I aim at providing them the right training to in turn create opportunities for generations to come. Dance is a mind, body and soul experience. So the biggest investment is time; time to train, to learn and to keep updating your knowledge.

Belonging to a family of educationist, it has been a personal victory by making dance an educational course. By starting the certification programs, I wished to provde dance enthusiasts a complete 360 degree learning experience that included modules in Shiamak Style, Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz. They also get introduced to over ten dance styles including Hip Hop, Ballroom, Folk, Bollywood Jazz, Broadway Jazz and more. With performing arts related courses like Yoga, Malkhamb, Gymnastics, Creative Dance Movement, acting workshop, audio and video editing classes; they find allied avenues to find their true calling in either dance ot dance related professions. On the job training is extremely important and students get to participate with my Dance Company in shows and films through the year. This is the real investment, the training. When you train the talent, it then helps spread the joy of dance through a set of instructors who are equipped with the technical know – how.

My aim is to set up a Dance Academy was to further Dance as Education. I started out thirty years back when dance, especially the western form was unheard of. Through my motto “Have Feet. Will Dance.”, the objective was to make dance available to everyone from ages 4 to 84 and provide them with a well-structured syllabus, inculcating correct technique and providing wholesome training in a fun and friendly environment.

With Dance Education Program, we took the program to schools with a regular curriculum. Schools across the country have embraced this program with open arms and the results have been overwhelming. Whilst at school, children are more receptive to the process of learning, and using dance as a medium of physical activity and creative medium, this program aims at channelizing their energy in a resourceful manner. The objective behind starting this Program is to make it a part of the regular curriculum with a specially designed syllabus that encompasses all aspects of the performing arts. This is where the art of dance and the performing arts help children develop skills, knowledge and understanding that goes beyond the classroom.

Students are taught the various aspects of musical theatre and stage performance. They are empowered with technical knowledge, spatial awareness and performance guidelines. The complete performing arts experience helps students overcome stage fright, become more confident, learn to work in teams and feel a great sense of achievement. Using Jazz technique, Ballet exercises, Yoga Asanas, Dance Therapy activities, theatre arts, the essence of the program is in dance expression, knowledge and creativity; the goes beyond the periphery of dance movement.

Dance is a great way to release energy, shed inhibitions and vent out emotions. When you dance you sweat, and you release ‘feel good’ endorphins that make you happy. In times where kids are constantly on their mobile devices, dance is a great hobby where they learn, enjoy and work out at the same time. Each class targets towards skillful progression to improve fitness levels, confidence, focus, concentration, team spirit, positive thinking, discipline, all round development, posture and body language. Dance helps improve overall fitness, endurance, muscle toning and strengthening.

Along with this I also realized the power of dance to heal, to work as therapy.

When I started my dance academy, very few parents of kids with mixed needs would send them to classes. About twenty five – thirty years back, a girl with polio came to attend the classes. After a year, she told me she could actually feel her arm move slightly. At first I didn’t understand, but over time I realized that dance has the ability heal, it is actually therapeutic. 

This is when I decided to start Victory Arts Foundation so more people would be encouraged to dance. Dance helps mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. We started the NGO in 2004 to address the lack of access to dance for the lesser privileged and those with special needs. Victory makes dance available across age, gender, caste, class and ability; without prejudice. With Victory, we took the motto of ‘Have Feet. Will Dance.’ one step further to ‘Have Spirit. Will Triumph’!

For me, health is a state of mind and fitness is a way of life. A fit body homes a healthy mind. This is the most important health benefit of dance, that is aligns the mind, body and spirit.

On a physical level, dance helps improve overall fitness, endurance, muscle toning and strengthening. It involves cardio vascular/ aerobic fitness, core and strength training and stretches for flexibility. When people join dance classes, they work together in a group and this sense of team spirit encourages them. When you meet new people, interact with each other and share a common passion, it makes you happy. Students motivate each other which helps them push their limits and strive harder. The atmosphere is extremely positive where no one is judged.

Music in itself is therapeutic. Dance is a physical interpretation of what the music says. It is a great way to release energy, shed inhibitions and vent out emotions. When you dance you sweat, and you release ‘feel good’ endorphins that make you happy. Good music, good dancing is a great way to be in a happy state of mind.

Dance can now become a full time profession. So when the eventuality has a life sustaining purpose, then the roots also become stronger. Parents now encourage their children into dance because they see the positive behavioral changes it brings in them. Confidence, team spirit, discipline, focus are just some aspects that help in grooming a child’s personality through dance. And once they take a keen interest, there is no stopping them. The avenues through dance are aplenty. Whether it is becoming a performer in films, shows or musicals, or teaching in academies or schools; there are strong career opportunities.

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