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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Flexible Pacman

American dancer Phillip Chbeeb talks about his stint with reality shows and the joy of dancing,while conducting a workshop in the Capital

Written by Swetha Ramakrishnan | Published: June 29, 2013 3:48:42 am

What you first notice about Phillip Chbeeb is how comfortable he is with Delhi’s muggy heat. He’s ready to sit anywhere and diligently answer our questions. A dancer,Chbeeb has participated in reality shows such as So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) and America’s Best Dance Crew,and has acted in Step Up Revolution. His relaxed demeanour betrays his passionate,upbeat,almost back-breaking dance moves. He easily switches between popping (a kind of staccato dance that involves grasping and releasing one’s muscle) and bhangra,on the insistence of his enthusiastic students. His face lights up at the chance to dance. We ask him about his moniker,Pacman. “It’s because of my robotic moves and my initials P.AC,” he says.

Chbeeb is in Delhi to conduct a five-day workshop for the dancers of Big Dance Centre,during the last week of their three-month dance course. The workshop will culminate in a performance at Kamani auditorium on July 12. “Right now,I’m just dissecting my style for everyone and getting them to learn it piece by piece,” says the 25-year-old.

His stint with reality shows started with SYTYCD in 2006. “It was like a training camp. I was in college then,and I never went back. In fact,I have a year and a half of my course left,but I’ve been dancing and travelling since then,” he says. Meanwhile,Step Up Revolution was three months of fun. Chbeeb isn’t averse to the idea of being a part of a Hindi movie,much like SYTYCD co-contestant Lauren Gottlieb,who acted in Any Body Can Dance and is currently a part of the show,Jhalak Dikhla Ja. His future projects include Step Up 5 and,maybe,America’s Got Talent.

He begins with jamming on Hindi songs. Chbeeb is a natural with jhatkas,matkas and the quintessential kite-flying dance move that even non-dancers are adept at. His two-hour-long session is rigorous and includes many techniques and routines. “I’m tired of people saying that dance is their life. The true way to dance is to express your life outside of it. So learn to enjoy what’s around you,” he says.

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