Have you danced in the shower today?

When was the last time you secretly danced to your heart’s will?

It is a fact that a lot of us enjoy dancing and to groove to a catchy tune; without being noticed. As someone said, it needs a lot of courage to perform in front of an audience.

“Dance like nobody is watching” – if you’ve seen this community page or forum, you would have noticed that it has large number of people supporting it. Whether it reflects people’s love for dancing or their wish to shed their inhibitions and dance their hearts out, the fact remains that dancing is one the most popular art forms that almost everyone enjoys.

 

 

We ask Madhuri Yerramilli, a software professional, and self-confessed dance enthusiast on what is it that makes her love dancing so much. “Dance completes me. It brightens up my day and it’s my number one stress buster after an absolutely tiring day at work. It is my liberation and source of motivation” she says, and we’re sure she echoes the sentiments of a number of similar dance lovers out there.
Today is dedicated to all those dancers who have been delighting people world-over with their talent, and to those who are delighted by dance themselves. As we celebrate World Dance Day on the 29th of April, Youthopia talks to Sanjay, also known as Sanjay MJ one of the well known local names of Hyderabad who has been proactive in the dance circuit.

 

Youthopia asks him about his motivation to push his passion to the next level.

“I have grown up doing multiple things. Out of them all, dance & music were the two things I just could not do without. Even though I was working in a corporate firm and pursuing my MBA, dance is something which I dedicated my time to. There has been no looking since I made the decision to take up dance as a profession. The best things about that are that I love my work, and the other facets of my like like acting, singing & music are interlinked. Needless to mention, Micheal Jackson & Prabhu Deva have been a strong inspiration for me taking this path. I should also thank all my well-wishers for supporting and motivating me.”

Most youngsters nowadays prefer Salsa, Hip-hop & Western forms of dance to the Classical ones. How healthy do you think this shift is?
 
“Dance in any form is Magical. Even though I never had any formal training in dance, I hold the Classical dance forms in very high regard as they are the base to the evolution of Modern dancing.”

What is the reception and perception of your dance, generally?

“In India, hip-hop is still not in its full glow. It’s partially due to the lack of proper exposure and knowledge about dance. Painfully, dancing has become a more commercial form of art in India. It is sometimes, reduced to mocking the numerous reality shows than learning & bringing something new onto the floor. Genuine hip-hop lovers still do not enjoy necessary encouragement or privileges. There have to be facilities for creating something new and original every day. The underground hip-hop scene is pretty huge & on par with the originators of the style, yet unknown to the larger part of India. Hip-hop is a revolution all over the world and has definitely changed the face of Indian dance too. For some it might be just another fun thing to do, but for others it is blood & sweat. Even though we have a long way to go, we already have a lot to look forward to.”

What is the one form of dance that you wish you’d perform over and again?

I follow versatile dance forms yet I would give anything to perform to a MJ’s freestyle & Popping dance routine as I am known for.


With all the passion with which Sanjay talks about dance, Youthopia wants to know what you would have become if not a dancer. 

“That’s a Tough one. A musician, a cricketer, an aeronautical engineer or maybe I would have ventured into racing (laughs)”


While composing dance is one thing, performing is different all together. How does Sanjay judge himself when needed to do both?

“I don’t judge myself when I dance because if you think & dance, then you are not dancing right! Composing is your inner calling & performing is to reveal that inner-self in front of an audience.”
 
For every performer, there are some songs which connect in a way nothing else can. We ask Sanjay about his favourite tracks. 

“One of my favourite performances was for the ‘EARTH SONG’. Every time I listen to it, I immediately relate to it and feel like performing wherever I am. Initially, before I took up dance as a profession, my performances were an extension of my personality. But now they are more about what the audience wants to see me perform. So being a choreographer you end up connecting to each and every song you perform.”

Given a chance to do something worthwhile, how would you celebrate World Dance Day?

“Well it couldn’t get better this year as I am already tied up with my dance classes all day long and a Salsa dance party towards the night.”

While we attempt to know more about his Screen name, Sanjay smiles and says “Well, there are a lot of secrets to the name ‘Sanjay MJ’, but primarily its my tribute to MJ for whatever I have learnt from him. When I was a child, my father often used to play MJ’s playlist. I & my brother always danced to those tunes, knowing little about this legend. Later on, I mostly performed to MJ’s songs and even my choreography included a lot of dance routines and messages which Michael wanted the world to be enlightened with. So somehow that name just stuck and it has been really lucky in all my endeavours.”

What does Sanjay MJ has to say about the dance fraternity & environment in his hometown?

“With few Exceptions, here people are more inclined towards studies and jobs as that is how we end up to settling early and then take care of other responsibilities towards family & society. In this process we forget our true selves and fail to give time to what we actually are. Everyone has some hidden talent and unless we try, creativity doesn’t come out. Creative arts have seen a boom lately and I hope we have more platforms to showcase & channelize our talents in the near future.”
 
For every dancer, there is always a performance that she/he always cherishes. We ask Sanjay about his most cherished act.

“Now this is definitely a tough one. Probably, my Dance Premier League performance when I was judged & selected by Marzi Pestongi is the one.”

Given a change to perform with any dancer across the globe, who would it be? 
 
:Without any 2nd thought, it would Michael Jackson. No one can beat his persona and talent. Now that he isn’t physically around, I would love to share stage with Tanja Kensinger & Emily Alabi.”
 
Sanjay is not just a performer, but an instructor at acclaimed dance schools. His suggestion to people passionate about taking dance as a way of life would be..

“Always think out of the box. Be what you feel from inside & not what someone else thinks or says. No matter what the world thinks, dance the way you want & create your own style. Youth is precious; do not waste even a single minute. Do what your heart says & give your 100% to it. Have fun, enjoy life, but make sure your focus is in the right direction and are making the right moves towards your goal. For all the beginners, make sure you keep dancing whenever you get an opportunity. Regular practice & passion are what make a good performer.”

Perfect lines for any enthusiast to pull up the socks and head to a dance-floor!

On a closing note he says, “I really appreciate Youthopia’s effort in showcasing the hidden talents to a forum which will eventually make a strong impact on the young minds. And yeah, wish you all a groovy World Dance Day!”

Echoing Sanjay MJ’s line, wishes from Youthopia on this World Dance Day to all the passionate dancers out there!
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Youthopia Team

Youthopia Team

Team Youthopia works with a passion to make your voices heard!