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Stepping Up To The Passion Of Dance

Stepping Up To The Passion Of Dance












Report by: JAVED KANA

If you attended The Asian Weekly Achievers Awards (TAWAA) 2018, you need no introduction to Step Up and Move’s Karan Dedhia and Vruti Gosrani. The duo formed a dance partnership in 2010 and has not looked back since.

Training under renowned Bollywood choreographer, Shiamak Davar, Karan strongly believes in his guru’s vision, “You must be convinced about your gift, your talent. That’s when you will be the best at it.”

In the last eight years, Karan (K) and Vruti (V) have participated in dance competitions, stage shows and productions and their performances have often scintillated viewers.

Playing off each other’s strengths in classical and Bollywood dancing to Hip Hop, Jazz and contemporary grooves, the duo has under its belt some of the best gigs in the city.

In this interview, the dancing jodi share their journey…

Currently the faces behind Step Up and Move, where did it all start?

K: Our journey with Step Up and Move started in April 2016 with choreographing for the 25th Oshwal Easter Games and The Jungle Book Musical for Aperture Africa Productions. Soon, we started our dance institute   with only five students, two of whom were kids from our family. We did not despair, as our goal was to create a platform for people to find themselves and attain a space where they are not judged. Over time, people started understanding our style of dance and how the power of dance transformed their children and themselves in positive ways; this led to the growth of Step Up and Move.

Vruti and you have been dancing together for years. I remember, seeing you participating in a dance competition at the then Iguanna Restaurant. How did you guys form the collaboration?

K: It’s actually like one of those stories you would hear in a masala Bollywood movie. Vruti joined my dance institute as a student the first time I opened the school in 2010. The same year, I was approached to perform for the Raju Srivastav show. Having been impressed with the way Vruti performed, I asked her to be a part of the group. That’s where the partnership kicked off, bloomed and so did the love story.

How do you compare each other’s strengths and weaknesses?

V: It’s a perfect combination as it weighs our weaknesses out. I excel in classical Indian and Bollywood dancing whereas Karan is a master in Western dance forms like hip-hop, jazz and contemporary.

Karan, learning dance at Shiamak Davar’s institute is definitely a privilege. How did that experience mold you as a dancer?

K: Learning dance at Shiamak Davar’s institute has been a privilege; I am thankful to my sister, Nikita, for enrolling me to his institute. Shiamak was extremely patient but also strict and disciplined. It is from him that I not only learnt my dancing skills, but also the first rules of professionalism. I feel like Shiamak has ploughed a seed of dance within me which will stay till the end. He has taught me the greatest thing – dance is a lot more than just movement across the floor. I apply his teachings at Step Up and Move to balance out the good dancers with the not-as-good ones and ensure everyone is treated equally. I am what I am as a dancer and choreographer just because of my guru, Shiamak Davar.

Do you feel the industry has evolved, such that there is more scope for local dancers now?

V: Oh yes! You can now see that more people understand the concept of dancing and entertainment. Many more people are definitely spending much more on entertainment, be it corporate events or private events. This has given rise to constantly needing performers. What’s best in Nairobi is that many people promote a lot of local talent. We have taken the first step towards getting into the
international market; we are gradually working our ladder up and I believe we will be there very soon.

There is a myth that dance is a mere hobby, not a profession per se. What is your take?

K: Dancing is much more than just a hobby. Lucky and blessed are the few who can follow their passion and convert it into their profession. Boredom never seeps in; there is always a sense of happiness and satisfaction. Dance is a growing business in Kenya, but the most important thing is to have the right training before turning their passion into a profession.

In what ways can dancing be promoted in the country?

K: Well, people can start by looking at dancing in a different perspective. Gyms and fitness classes need to start more programs which are dance related, as dance helps in mental and physical fitness. It is the best stress reliever, which also helps in the spiritual growth of an individual. Schools need to start introducing dance as an extra-curricular activity as it aims to improve social relationships, especially among genders and enriches the culture of the schools by cultivating collaboration, respect and compassion.

So, how do you keep updated with the latest trends in dance?

V: Dance is a continuous learning process. We polish our skills every day, attend workshops and dance programs to keep ourselves updated with everything that is new.

What sets you apart from other dance groups in the country?

K: I think the best thing about our dance crew is that we are all equally passionate about what we do. We all come from different backgrounds, different work fields, but when it comes to dance, we are one – more like ‘ek dil, ek jaan.’ We are a solid group of six unbreakable souls (touch wood). We all met on separate grounds, but are now a family.

What have been some of your career highlights as dancers?

V: We are only two years old in the industry, yet have been able to perform with the best, for the best. We have so far choreographed two award-winning musicals of Aperture Africa productions and are currently working on our third one. We have performed for TAWAA 2018, choreographed for the Karibu Kenya Modiji event, Safaricom Heko awards and most recently, choreographed one act for Diamond Platinumz at the launch of his new album – A Boy from Tandale.

A message for aspiring dancers would be….

K: My guru, Shiamak Davar, was once quoted saying, “You must be convinced about your gift, your talent. That’s when you will be the best at it.”

If you are committing yourself to a career less chosen, be prepared for rejection and use it to make you stronger – do not let it make you think otherwise.

Name a dance icon you look up to and why…

K: Shiamak Davar; because he is the reason I and thousand others can dance.

V: Madhuri Dixit; because she is the queen of expressions.

A must-do before any performance…

K: Prayer

A dance form that’s overrated, according to you is?

V: We love all dance forms.

A celebrity you wish to share the stage with….

K: It would have been the late Michael Jackson.

V: Hrithik Roshan.

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