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Step up!

Since time immemorial, dancers have depicted history, culture, traditions, stories and ideas through their expressions and body movements. Expressions like liberation, celebration, grief, anger, and solitude are brought to life through various dance forms.

education Updated: Nov 03, 2011 17:14 IST

The lowdown
Since time immemorial, dancers have depicted history, culture, traditions, stories and ideas through their expressions and body movements. Expressions like liberation, celebration, grief, anger, and solitude are brought to life through various dance forms. Dancers are trained artistes who spend a lot of time mastering the art of dance. Major dance forms are classical, salsa, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, folk, bollywood, ballet and many more. Dancers can perform for docudramas, musicals, movies, TV advertisements, reality shows, fashion shows, and cultural shows

Clock Work
5am: Wake up. Perform yoga, stretching exercises
6.30am: Have breakfast
7.30am: Set out for studio
8.00am: Listen to the musical score for the new production, suggest improvements
9am: Do a rough notation of dance moves along with assistant choreographer
10am: Start dance workshop with troupe
1pm: Light lunch
2pm: Continue workshop
5pm: Meet corporate sponsors of production
6pm: Meet costume designer and set designer
8pm: Dinner
9pm: Study journals and online dance resources

The payoff
Remuneration is definitely lucrative and that is one reason why today there are many who want to take it up as a full-time job. A fresher can earn anywhere between Rs10,000 to Rs15,000 a month whereas an experienced dancer (who is assisting seasoned choreographers) can take home a sum ranging from Rs50,000 to Rs70,000 a month

Skills / TRAITS
.
A flawless performer
. Good communication skills
. Should be able to inspire and motivate one’s dancers
. Managing logistics
. Great people skills
. Visualisation skills
. Curious about new developments in dance

Getting there
Choreographers need to display excellent dance skills to gain credibility. So, intensive training from a credible choreographer or with a well-known dance troupe with several productions under its belt is necessary. After a decade of perfecting one’s dancing skills (preferably across genres i.e. Indian classical dance forms, jazz, salsa, New Dance etc), one can go in for choreological studies, which allows one to document dance sequences. One should assist an established choreographer for five years to learn the wide variety of skills (conceptualisation, visualisation, setting sequences to music, training dancers, instructing them, directing a production, among others) which are required to put together a production. An innate aesthetic sense goes a long way, while passion for dance keeps one grounded and focused

Institutes and URLs
.
Bachelor’s programme in choreography - Natya Institute of Kathak and Choregraphy, Bangalore
www.natyamaya.in
. Ananda Shankar Centre of Performing Arts -
www.anandashankar.com
. Shiamak Davar’s Institute for the Performing Arts
www.shiamak.com
. New York Choreographic Institute
www.nycballet.com/nyci

Pros and cons
.
Need to maintain high levels of fitness
. An excellent form of expression
. Dealing with creative people
. Extensive travel with productions
. Funding may not come easy for independent productions
. You get to be part of many international events