Steps towards a causehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/steps-towards-a-cause/

Steps towards a cause

Three-decade-old Rohini Dance Group uses all its earnings to run a school in Rajasthan

Like it happens with most people during teenage,when Satish Jain was 16,he was passionately in love and he felt nobody understood him. Left with no choice,he left his home in Pune,to break free and follow his love – dance. Since he had always heard that Mumbai was the city of dreams,it became his destination. His untiring determination helped him succeed as a dancer and he assisted popular choreographer Saroj Khan in the late ‘70s. After he had his share of Bollywood,he decided to do something different.

On an impulse,he packed his bag and set off to Gujarat to explore and learn the different authentic dance styles of the state. In 1983,he returned to Pune and started Rohini Dance class to spread the knowledge he had accumulated. Simultaneously,he established a business of iron and steel to sustain his home. “Though we believe that knowledge should be free,we charge a fee for the dance classes. All the money we collect through the classes is used to run a school we have adopted in Rajasthan. In the rural areas of Rajasthan,people don’t think it is advantageous to send their children to school and instead make them do household chores or engage them in labour,so they can bring home some money. We give a student a hundred rupees every month as an appreciation of their effort to come to school,” says Jain.

Initially,Jain started with three students who were interested in knowing the art of dancing with dandiya sticks so that they could participate in Navratri festivals and now the classes are divided into four sections –men,women,children and teenagers with over 100 participants in each category.

Along with his dance classes,Jain put together a dance group with friends and other dandiya enthusiasts for a performance 22 years ago. Since then,the group has been growing bigger by including more members year after year. “We were the first to introduce customised props in our choreography at events in Pune. We get the custom-made clay pots from Gujarat,which are called garbis. We work hard on designing our costumes and other props as well,” says 22-year old Dhawal Jain,Satish’s son who has been in-charge of the dance class and the group for six years now.

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“Though the styles of dandiya taught to our students are authentic,we have infused some Bollywood. Give us any Bollywood chartbuster and we will perform a traditional dandiya choreography to it. I try to bring about a newness in the dance but without touching its authentic flavour as much as I can,” says Dhawal.

On the occasion of the dance class’ 30th anniversary,Rohini Group has organised Zhanzariya 2013,a dandiya festival which will feature a special performance by the group along with a musical performance by Melody Makers on October 5 at Yash Lawns. “All the proceeds from the programme will be used to distribute stationery in rural schools around Pune and the school in Rajasthan,” says Jain.