Best Foot Forward

Dancer-choreographer Geeta Kapur feels that dance reality shows have given the profession of dancing a new kind of respect.

Written by AMRUTA LAKHE | Published: October 6, 2013 12:35 am

While catching up a few weeks ago,Geeta Kapur’s childhood friend mentioned that her mother was very upset when Kapur chose a career as a dancer. Kapur was just 15 when she joined Farah Khan’s dance troupe. Today from independently choreographing several hit songs—  Roshni se (Asoka), Lazy lamhe (Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic) are Sheila ki jawani (Tees Maar Khan) are some of the songs she is most famous for — to judging dance reality shows on television,Kapur has carved a niche for herself. While shooting for the sixth episode for Dance India Dance (DID) – Dance Ka Tashan,where she returns as a judge,Kapur feels that both she and dance have come a long way.

The sets of DID Dance Ka Tashan,which aired on Zee TV on September 21,is buzzing with activity. “Watching the show on television is one thing but to see these contestants performing in front of you is something else,” says the 40-year-old dancer-choreographer. “Also the format of the show is very exciting. The show has previously seen couples,kids or mothers competing with each other. Now,a seven-year-old is competing with someone as old as his mother. The result of that is so different,and a lot of fun to watch,” says Kapur.

Though the children are at war with the mothers on the show,their equation on the sets is something else. “The mothers haven’t seen their own kids for the longest time,because they are busy shooting. So you see them playing with these kids and spending a lot of time getting to know them,” she says. She is seen judging the show with choreographer Ahmed Khan and Mithun Chakraborty,who is her “true love”.

In 2008,Kapur debuted on television as a judge and mentor on DID. But it wasn’t smooth sailing. “Initially,I faced a lot of criticism. People commented on the way I looked,my weight and said that I couldn’t dance,” she says. “But ultimately it is your work that speaks,” she says. After training the contestants hard for the second season,she won the audience over. “The faith the contestants had in me was immense. And after all,dancers need to have a lot of faith in each other; it is the only way it works,” she says. After that,Kapur soon became a household name because of her sense of humour and warm disposition.

Kapur agrees that dance has witnessed a huge shift in the last few years. “Earlier,it was never taken seriously. Parents didn’t want their kids to take it up professionally,because they would say,‘dancer ban ke kya karega?’” she says. But as dance reality shows hit the television slots and the participation grew,people began to sit up and take notice. Viewers got to see the hard work and struggle behind every performance. “The contestants who have been on the show have now grown up and work as choreographers and dancers. Dance has finally become a career option,” she says. “It is almost a school of learning,which needs a lot of patience,discipline and hard work. It is like any other profession. People are finally beginning to see that,” she says.

Because there are so many platforms that promote dance today,dancers are better prepared than before. “The contestants who come to us have been dancing for years and training specially in one or more styles. The exposure has made them versatile,” she says. The distinction between a dancer and choreographer is also slowly fading. “The contestants come to us with their own story ideas and concepts for the performance. It is a very encouraging sign,” she says.

Kapur believes that the scope for dance in India is superb. While she says in terms of dancing we are almost at par with other countries,there is a lot to learn. “When we invite someone from another country,they always say that Indian performances are always a lot more emotional,while international dance is a little more technical and straight forward. So we can both pick up a lot from each other,” she says.

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