I have been Shiamak’s dancing and choreography ever since I was a kid, when I saw Mohabbat Kar Le and Dil Toh Pagal Hai.. my love and respect for Shiamak grew multi-folds. Then as I grew up and joined the event industry, I started understanding choreography, dancing and stage shows even more, as I myself organised lots of events and still do. Shiamak is synonymous with dancing for me and he is the ultimate. I am not much of a dancer myself but have always fancied joining his dancing school and may be I can learn to dance as well.
Today being Shiamak’s birthday, I wish him all the luck and love for his life.. I have been fortunate to get to interview him personally, I don’t know how reasonable my questions have been, but to ask questions to such a big celebrity is a task in itself, so I just tried to do my best, here it is…
Aditi: How did you decide to become a choreographer? Was it something you always wanted to do or is it something that happened suddenly?
Shiamak: Dancing happened to me much later. My first love was singing and I used to act in a lot of musical productions. I chanced upon dance classes at the Pineapple Studio in London where the teacher thought I had prior training. She was shocked to know I had never learnt ballet before that. I took the training forward and then decided to come back and start western jazz dance classes in India. I realized my mission was to spread joy through dance. Thirty years later, it’s a pleasure to watch the same people send their kids to my class who back in the day used to wonder what am I doing dancing and conducting classes!
Aditi: Was there any person that had great impact on your decision to become a choreographer?
Shiamak: It was my spiritual guides, the Bhavnagris and their book – Laws of the Spirit World that made me realize my mission to spread the joy of happiness through dance.
Aditi: What influences you?
Shiamak: There is inspiration in everything – music, movement, nature, animals, silence. There is an emotion, a feeling that each piece of music communicates, this is what I translate into movement.
Aditi: Can you choreograph a dance without music?
Shiamak: Of course. There is movement in even silence.
Aditi: What kind of body is able to dance? Do you believe that the type of body can be one obstacle for someone who wants to dance?
Shiamak: My motto is ‘Have Feet. Will Dance.’ which reiterated the fact that everyone can dance. Through my dance academy, I wanted to create a platform for people to come and express themselves through movement, without being judged.
Whether they are four or eighty four, everyone learns and performs on stage. The sense of achievement and fulfillment they get is greater than any other feeling. It’s been over thirty years and it’s great to see the impact it has had on people. Through my NGO Victory Arts Foundation, I took the motto one step further to ‘Have Spirit. Will Triumph.’ And you can see people with crutches or on wheelchairs, people with mixed needs all performing on stage. Dance truly heals.
Aditi: Who has been your most favorite student from Bollywood?
Shiamak: You know it is amazing how hard working and professional our actors are in Bollywood. Right from legends like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Govinda to current stars like Ranveer, Sushant, Shahid and Varun. My dream came true when I choreographed Madhuri in my very first film, and in the latest actresses, the likes of Deepika, Priyanka, Alia… all are just so talented and hard working!
Aditi: What do you enjoy most directing stage shows or choreographing in movies?
Shiamak: I enjoy choreographing! Whether stage or film. But yes, stage is closer to my heart. There are no second chances, it is live and you receive the audience reactions instantly. I feel more at home on stage. There is a lot of movement you can create it is it all continuous, without any retakes. The energy of a stage show is something else!
Aditi: What’s your message for aspiring dancers, what does it take to become a successful dancer/choreographer?
Shiamak: You have to work hard and be patient. Before you think of becoming professional, take time to train and learn. Most importantly, be original! Dance requires a lot of dedication, but if you love what you do, you will smile your way through!
Here is wishing Shiamak a very happy birthday.. and someday I will go to his dancing school and enrol myself.. because I have feet..so will dance 🙂