Shaimak Davar Ties Up With Debbie Allen Dance Academy


August 20, 2010

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Shiamak Davar ties up with American dance guru and takes his academy to new professional high.

Shiamak Davar is in an ebullient mood. It is the Parsi New Year today. And he has a navroze gift for himself; an exciting new plan for his Shiamak Davar Dance Academy, for Mumbai, for all people who can dance and want to take their steps to a new, professional level.

By Mark Manuel / Times News Network

image “My one year intensive dance certification programme is now tied up with Debbie Allen,” he announced, unburdening some of his excitement onto me. She is America’s biggest guru of dance, the choreographer of the Oscar Awards for a decade at least, a judge on the So You Think You Can Dance television reality show, she has her own Debbie Allen Dance Academy whose alumni includes the finest dance teachers in the world. Names like Catherine Dunham, choreographer of the Hollywood hit Step Up, Ava who dances for pop singer Justin Timberlake, and instructors of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy of Moscow. “Now that Debbie is joining hands with me, they will come to my academy and teach,” said Shimak happily and proudly.

You cannot just get admission into this prestigious one year intensive dance certification programme. He is careful and strict about who he admits. And admissions are based on auditions that begin on August 28, at St. Andrews Auditorium in Bandra.

“I’m looking for absolute talent, people who have the potential, and for this I’m even going out on the streets,” said Shiamak. “But professionals can also audition, so many dancers from Bollywood are going to, including some well-known choreographers.” The course begins in September, it includes the Shiamak style that is not seen here so much, but is loved by dance enthusiasts around the world. An Indo-contemporary jazz style that is neither Bollywood nor Hollywood, but yet a complete fusion of India and the West, a dance form that is technically demanding, powerful, which has a lot of body percussion, and which requires the dance student to have strong technique.

“The Shiamak style tells a story,” said the guru of modern contemporary dance in India. He’s perfected it over 25 years and performed it at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, the World Economic Forum in Davos, he did it for Bill Clinton’s polio-AIDS eradication show in Lucknow, and for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who was down in Mumbai. Next, Shiamak is taking his lightning feet and elastic body to the Indo-Tokyo Friendship Week. “Our government sends me all over the world to show what modern India is about,” he said.

It is true, and amazing, which makes him among the most envied and copied dance masters in the world. This is something that upsets him because the imitators back home are doing such a bad job! Dance teachers, choreographers, send students who copy everything in his academy from his enrolment form to his dance steps on their cell phones. And even before he can present it to India, they put it on reality shows on television. “I’m not worried,” said Shiamak Davar, “but people get fooled into thinking this is good contemporary jazz. It took me 15 to 18 years to produce 10 good choreographers. And here there are copycats trying to make the grade in three months!”

Read more: Do you think you can dance? – People – Life & Style – The Times of India