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Monday, September 20, 2021

Internet’s viral ‘Dancing Dad’ Ricky Pond says they are stuck in India: ‘And we can’t get out’

In an exclusive chat, internet sensation Ricky Pond talks about his journey so far with Indian film music, and how he accumulated thousands of fans on the other side of the world.

Written by Shreya Das | Kolkata |
Updated: August 15, 2021 9:37:35 am
Since January this year, Ricky Pond and his children have become desi people's favourite dancing family.

A graphic designer during the day and an internet sensation at night, Ricky Pond has crafted quite an interesting social media profile for himself. The father of four, you may know him as ‘Dancing Dad’, has turned the dreaded pandemic into an opportunity, collecting likes and followers in the process.

The US man has danced to the entire gamut of Indian film music – from the Bhojpuri earworm ‘Lollypop Lagelu’ to Allu Arjun’s hit ‘Butta Bomma’, Hrithik Roshan’s gravity-defying moves in ‘Ghungroo’ to Ludo’s evergreen ‘O Betaji’. Stuck at home amid the pandemic, Indian audiences consumed the content and asked for more.

Like most viral stars that emerged recently, Pond’s entry on TikTok was due to boredom. A few videos made to pass the time amid home isolation became something more as his follower count started multiplying – within the first few weeks, he went from 600-odd followers to 80K. The count is nearly 500K now.

“We don’t think we’d even be on social media if Covid didn’t happen. It all started because we were bored,” Pond said, adding that he had initially refused to shoot videos at first. His love for dancing emerged victorious as he looked for a way to destress amid dark times.

But, how was it dancing to songs that he didn’t understand? Pond calls the experience serendipitous. “The intention was never to just focus on Bollywood but to explore different cultures,” he said. “Someone then suggested an Indian dance, then it just took off.”

From grooving to recent releases to 90s hits, Pond family attributes the rich variety on his handle to the different requests they keep getting. They maintain a Google form sheet where fans can put in their choice of songs for their next video.

Talking about fame, he agreed that the growth has been quite overwhelming. “We absolutely had no idea how we got this big. We were just going to have fun,” the Washington-based man said.

Not just for him, it has been a whirlwind ride for his children as well. “I bet deep down they think it’s the coolest thing ever,” he said.

His son, Dallin, who has appeared in most of his viral videos, said it doesn’t feel real. “We don’t feel famous, the fame is on the other side of the world. It’s nice because I can go to the store without getting recognised,” he said candidly.

“I always thought if we were to get famous, it would be because of me!” the 15-year-old joked. “I’m an actor and working to get into movies/TV shows,” adding it is hard to believe that they received so much attention because of his father.

Eight months into this Indian journey, the popular family admitted that things have gotten a ‘bit boring’. Trying to copy the same moves, dancing to peppy Punjabi or Tamil beats — Pond and family tried to explore other places, but it didn’t get as much traction. “So, it’s almost like we are stuck in India and we can’t get out. Yet it’s not a bad place to get stuck in,” Pond said.

His son agreed, explaining that their tryst to explore the world began as English songs got boring. “I think Bollywood dancing is now getting kinda boring. To us all the languages sound the same. And the moves are becoming repetitive.”

The young boy agreed that Bollywood emerged as a fan favourite and although they continue to enjoy it, they want to explore music from other parts of the world too.

As the world opens up, Pond agrees that given the family’s busy schedules, he now has to urge his children (Garret, Audrey, Dallin, Emma) to dance with him. Will the family’s affair with Indian music continue? Watch this space for more.

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