I cannot remember the last time I prayed with such sincerity like I did the day, when they finally announced that ‘So You Think You Can Dance ‘ is coming to India. I remember being an ardent fan of this International dance reality show that showcased amazing talents from across the world.
I remember feeling thrilled watching those dancers reap the benefit of years of training and practice through a single television show,earning recognition, which would have otherwise remained elusive to them. I remember feeling hopeful that someday I would be rooting for dancers from my country, which has no dearth of talents, in this very show. I could go on and on about the judges, the choreographers, the participants and every other aspect of this show and how it was only a matter of time before Indian dancers took that famed stage.
But today, I am folding my hands in prayer because I am genuinely worried about the very same reality show that I so dearly love being Indianised. Hell,I dread the very thought of reality dance shows in India , let alone imagine an Indian version of So You Think You can Dance.
I pray the roving camera capture more of reality than some scripted drama.
I pray I will see dance and not melodrama and gymnastics unfolding in each of these episodes.
I pray there is no romantic drama unfolding about a participant who is a huge fan of the beautiful filmstar cum judge. I pray the dancers concentrate on their technique and not get encouraged by the over enthusiastic anchors who are bend on match-making rather than anchoring.
Oh dear Cat Deeley, I just hope and pray you don’t roll your eyes at the quintessential love game that may happen here.
I pray the episodes do not rely on the overtly emotional life history of the participants in their run for TRP ratings.
I pray our young dancers who are exceptionally talented do not get caught up in this instant stardom through television and remain foolish to believe they are in par with other international dancers who got recognition through the show. I hope and pray they see through the stupidity of anyone demanding them to perform dance forms that requires years of training and practice and they restrain from taking misguided decisions that may come back to haunt them later. ( At this point, I am trying hard to not let the youtube ‘dance’ videos of a few established names flash across my mind and interrupt my prayerful mind)
I pray the judges know what critiquing means and only do so for dance forms they clearly have a good understanding and knowledge about.That would be Bollywood dance? Enlighten me, God.
I secretly hope all episodes that may feature other dance forms magically stop telecasting outside India because I genuinely cannot fathom Nigel Lythgoe or Mia Michaels shaking their heads in disbelief at our judges’ ‘expert advice’ on ballet or western contemporary dance.
But most importantly, I pray and hope our young dancers haven’t set their end goals to be on more television, weave their ‘filmi’ dreams and waste their talent with some ‘tumkas’ and ‘jatkas’. I pray they see beyond Bollywood and constantly work hard to match International standards of technique and performance.
I pray our dancers look back and see that the world adored Indian classical dancers like Uday Shankar, Birju Maharaj or Rukmini Devi Arundale for their mastery over their respective artforms. I hope our dancers can see that this achievement was solely because they dedicated their years of training to achieve perfection rather than trying to learn five different dance styles in five different months and end up being master of none. I pray the young talented dancers understand that the reason why international dancers can perform different dance styles to perfection is because they have undergone tremendous amount of training, building a solid foundation in their respective dance form, before they experimented with different dance styles.
I pray this reality show can motivate them to dedicate themselves to their chosen dance form, training at every level to be in par with the international dancers in technique and performance.I pray our young dancers open their eyes and understand why, in spite of these numerous Indian dance shows, not one dancer from these reality shows has made the world sit up and take notice.
I pray the dancers realise their true potential and put in years of hard work and training; the trainers/teachers see dance beyond Bollywood; and the organisers take a stand to nurture talents rather than chase TRPs.
I worry too much sometimes about seeing another gimmick in the name of dance.
I pray my worries be put to rest this time.