TV show Dance India Dance, which enters its third season, has roped in international choreographer Alex Magno to train its contestants. Alex is presently camping in Mumbai, rehearsing with participants for one of the opening numbers for Zee TV’s new season.
“I have trained 18 participants so far. The dance will be performed to the orchestrated version of Michael Jackson’s Smooth criminal and a Dance India Dance track,” Alex says.
Hitting the big time
He has also been a choreographer on the international show, So You Think You Can Dance. “The contestants here are not exposed to academic training. They are a bit rough. But what they lack in training, they make up for in resilience. They have the fire in them and this works for the camera. But in the end, it’s all about the performance,” he says.
Alex has so far trained the Indian lot in hip-hop, ballet and jazz styles. Internationally, he has worked with some of the best names in the music world. For example, in 1993, he worked with Madonna on her world tour, for an HBO special called Girlie Show.
He worked with her again in 2001 for the Drowned World Tour. Alex says, “Madonna is a perfectionist. During the Girlie tour, she wasn’t married, and didn’t have any kids. But during my second stint with her, her life was completely different. She was more balanced. Her greatest quality is what she demands from you and from herself. She’s the first one to come in and the last one to leave.”
In 2003, Britney Spears asked him to train her for an ABC special and MTV Club Tour. “Britney is almost like the girl next door. While training, she doesn’t behave like the star that she is, and is very friendly,” he adds.
The following year, Alex was commissioned by girlie pop group Pussycat Dolls to work on their Sway video for the 2004 movie Shall We Dance, where he was one of the dancers.
“Ashley Roberts of the Dolls was my student once. The Dolls are amazingly trained dancers. They are quite easy to work with too. It took me just three to four days to train them.”