If reality dance shows mirror the changing face of modern dance, Cuttack is a living example of the trend. In the last few years, the Millennium City has seen the mushrooming of several dance institutes that have gone beyond the traditional Odissi to teach newer contemporary dance forms to the young brigade in the city.With the youngsters taking to this new trend in a big way, an increasing number of instructors and teachers are now being inspired to join the modern dance bandwagon to cash in on the demand. From zumba to salsa, Bollywood to hip hop, youngsters are keen to learn all new forms of modern dance, some of them even taking it up for the sake of fitness.
Dharmesh Singh, owner of Royal Trinity Institute of Music and Dance situated at Tulsipur informs MCL how his institute today has students across all age groups, who are more than happy to learn different forms of modern dance. One of the oldest institutes in the city, Royal Trinity teaches both westernised dance and music forms.
“I am the owner, founder as well as the instructor of the institute and I feel very happy when I am able to bring out the hidden talent in people. From small children to young parents, we prepare everyone and our aim is to present the talent of Cuttack at a national and international level, both in music and dance. Our dancers have also represented Cuttack in shows like Boogie Woogie and Dance India Dance,” says Singh.
On the current trend, he informs, “Modern dance is very much in demand and even those in jobs and services come to us to learn new forms. While we teach all forms of contemporary dance, recently we have also included aerobics and zumba as per the demand of the fitness conscious young population in the city.”
Dancing for fitness is something Beat Dance and Fitness Institute at Balu Bazar also vouches for. Mostly training women, this institute is run by Sanjeet Banerjee and his wife Priyadarshini. “We have kids, girls and even mothers and that’s the reason the environment at our institute is very energetic! We particularly encourage the introvert housewives and mothers to practice dancing. Women here in Cuttack are mostly confined to their families. So, we try and motivate such ladies to come out of their homes and learn something new while also having fun and staying fit,” says Priyadarshani Banerjee.
She further adds, “Reality shows have played a major role in popularising modern dance in the city. Though Cuttackies love their classical Odissi but modern dance has also won their hearts. At our institute, we consider dance as an exercise and therapy so we have specially added zumba, yoga and meditation to our practice list.”
In fact, most of the dance institutes in the city offer zumba and aerobics along with other modern dance forms. Says Jack, who has been running his Jack Dance Company near Deula Sahi since two years,
“Dance and fitness go hand in hand today. While my institute provides training in different forms of dance like hip hop, salsa, acrobatic, belly, semi-classical and Bollywood freestyle, we also focus on zumba and aerobic classes due to the fitness craze among people today. And, it’s not just about the younger generation. We have students in the age group of four to 40. Even the ladies are not behind. They are regular at my institute, particularly for the zumba and aerobic classes, for which we have specific trainers, who understand their requirements and train them accordingly.”
Elaborating more about the zumba classes, he informs,” Zumba is very popular these days because it not only helps you to lose weight, it tones your body and makes you feel energetic. Each zumba class starts with a slight warm-up followed by various exciting dance routines and then ends with a cool down along with some stretching exercises. Most of the dance moves are pre-choreographed and includes various forms like salsa, mambo, hip-hop, samba and merengue. However, instructors are often allowed to add or modify dance steps or include their favourite songs. And, I am so happy to see so many ladies coming for the zumba and aerobics classes, which also contribute towards improving their mental and physical conditions.”
Jack believes it is very important to love and respect your body and dance helps one to do so. So, was that the reason which inspired him to start the institute, we ask. “Of course, that is one of the reasons. That apart, since I am a dancer, I wanted to open an institute where I could showcase my talent through my choreography while also groom other talents within the city. That’s the reason I have been making an attempt to teach all kinds of modern dance forms to my students. In fact, I have also designed a new form myself – jazz contemporary – and my students are loving it! My dream is to see few of my students making it to reality shows on national television,” he says.
While Jack has a vision for his students, Sainath Punyabit Mohanty, owner of Sainath Dance Academy located near Bajrakabati Road, tells us that the only reason for which he started his institute in the city two years back is because there weren’t too many options in Cuttack! “Bhubaneswar always had many such training institutes but such facilities were lacking in Cuttack. That is why I started my academy. We follow a proper training process everyday wherein the students are made to do yoga before the dance rehearsals. Yoga is the best form to purify the body. It not gives physical and mental peace, it also makes the body flexible,” adds Sainath.
Like all other institutes, they too offer zumba classes. “Zumba is basically an aerobic dance that has revolutionised the world of dance and fitness. It is a Latin dance inspired workout program that not only combines dance with martial arts and other fitness exercises but is actually quite fun to do. So, you don’t have to bother about your dancing skills and just have to savour the moment. The best thing is there is no age limit for joining zumba classes. They can be performed by everyone,” informs Sainath.
So while most of these institutes are flooded with youngsters and ladies, the Little Heart’s Dance Academy in Naya Sarak has been focusing exclusively on children. “Children are fast learners and they are very keen to take up modern dance today. What is good to see is that parents have now also become more concerned about extra-curriculum activities for their children along with their education,” says owner Ashutosh Bhartia.
Well, with so many institutes making their presence felt in the city, Cuttackies for sure won’t mind saying, ‘their hearts beat for modern dance!’
Article Courtesy: Dikhya Mohanty and Saheen Afroz