In the last decade, our nation has witnessed a revolution in dance. Our weekends are packed watching a number of dance reality shows that have mushroomed – kids, adults, couples, celebrities and even moms perform solo or in group and cater to various English, Hindi and regional language speaking audiences. Thanks to shows like Dance India Dance, Jhalak Dhiklaja and the much recent one, Dance Plus – today, dance has become a household name and parents are now seriously considering dance as a career option for their kids. Struggling dancers have got name and fame in the society and most importantly they’ve got work.
In contemporary times, there has been an influx of YouTubers and Instagrammers who dance and entertain everyone on just a click. I am glad, that dance is now easily available to so many of us, that there are exclusive dance channels on various social media platforms. It has been observed that these talented dancers who may otherwise not get a break through reality shows are actually ruling social media with high engagement. There is a whole new generation of dancers emerging.
There is just so much for us to consume that we seldom remember a dance performance which was inspiring and unforgetful. Today, most of the reality shows give us a ‘wow’ performance and every other participant is just a great performer. Whilst, I’m not against dance reality shows, I’m a li’l irked and perturbed when stunts are performed under the garb of dance.
There is no doubt that dance reality shows do give dancers a lucrative platform, but the creativity in dance is lacking these days, and I’m afraid it would be lost if we continue the way we are going. What we get to see these days in the name of dance is someone jumping from a height, performing a dare devil stunt, elaborate sets, remixed music and great lights! But pure genuine dance has been missing. Not to forget a sad story making the life of a dancer sound dramatic. Do we really need it? There have also been cases where the audience have been misguided about a dance form – as seen recently in a dance show judged by Karan Johar and Rohit Shetty where a participant performed Ghoomar, but called it Kalbelia – These are two different dance forms. Also, an incident that could potentially turn fatal was when on another reality show a kid jumped in a fire ring from a height and the act went wrong – this act could cost his life. The fundamental question here is – Is this really dance?
Dance should be something that inspires an individual or audience and lightens their mood. Dance should have a purpose – yes entertainment is the purpose, but entertainment through just ‘dance’. That’s why it is an art form – that’s the true definition of dance. We need to promote those dance production companies/choreographers who represent dance as – dance and also give them their share of limelight. Dance shouldn’t be about stunts, it should be an act to inspire. Dance should be to express and not impress.
By Karan Jodhani
Author is a Kathak and Indian Folk Dance artist. He is also founder of Happiness Dance Fit ™