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Passion over everything: How corporate employees are ditching cushy jobs for dance

Here’s why corporate employees in Delhi are quitting their jobs to pursue and revive their passion for dance.

art and culture Updated: May 02, 2017 18:29 IST
Henna Rakheja
Dance

Many in the city have been quitting their jobs to revive their interest in dance.

Not long ago, right after graduating from college, the biggest quest for every youngster was to land a job. However, the corporate dream seems to be losing its charm as many in the Capital are giving up their high-salaried jobs to pursue their passion for dance.

“There are a lot of people, today, who consider dance as a viable option,” says Mandeep Raikhy, choreographer at Gati Dance Forum, who confirms that the applications from corporate sector have increased in the past few years. There are many, who take up corporate jobs, only to find that their heart belongs to dance. Thus, they end up quitting their jobs.

Md Nazir, a 27-year-old co-director with Delhi Dance Academy.

“I worked in three places for about two years before pursuing a full-time career in dance,” says Md Nazir, who is a 27-year-old co-director with Delhi Dance Academy. He says: “When I was studying civil engineering in Pune, I realised the significance of social dancing. Until then, I used to be an individual dancer in school and college. After learning salsa and bachata, I gave a suggestion to corporate firms to introduce dancing as a fitness activity for their employees. Today, I have a team of 30 choreographers, which includes about eight people who have quit their corporate jobs to pursue their passion for dance.”

Manishikha Baul, director at Lost & Found Trust, put aside her 11 years work experience in the corporate sector to renew her Odissi practice.

Manishikha Baul is a 37-year-old director at Lost & Found Trust, which aims to promote various arts. “I started learning Odissi at the age of seven and continued to dance till I finished school. But like it happens, I had to let go of my practice after that. I completed my education, started working and even moved out of India due to work for a few years, due to work. It was during the time when I was in Trinidad that I felt like doing something for myself — my life was secure but [I felt] something was missing. There, I bumped into a lady who teaches at a production company and I revived my Odissi practice. When I shifted to Singapore, I decided to take a break from work. For a few months I kept travelling to Bhubaneswar in India every now and then to receive training in Odissi,” says 37-year-old Baul, who quit her corporate job after 11 years and took to dance full-time after returning to India in 2013.

Today, Baul is associated with a group that takes arts to Delhi’s neighbourhoods by making it accessible. She says “there is no constant source of income”, in a full-time career in an art form such as dance. But Nazir believes that income depends on the choice of the dance genre. “If you choose to learn and teach a dance form such as zumba, you can even earn up to 70,000 a month!”

But lack money is deterring people from pursuing there passion as some are even opting for freelance work. Take for instance Meraz Alam, a 30-year-old IT expert, who was taking home 10 lakh as annual package. “I pursued my graduation from Delhi University’s School of Open Learning and alongside worked in the IT sector for six years. I pursued dancing part-time to loose weight until 2012 and then I decided to quit my job and take to dancing full-time,” says Alam . “It wasn’t easy in the beginning when I had quit my job but I had the guts to take dance full-time. But of late, I have started doing some freelance IT work because I realised that if I dance to make money, that also takes away my passion for the art form,” adds Alam.

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