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Shiamak Davar at the Times of India Film Awards
Image by Heather Vince
Shiamak Davar rehearses some coreography before the Times of India Film Awards

Legendary Hindi choreographer Shiamak Davar shares his love of Bollywood dance with Vancouver

Never heard of Shiamak Davar before? He’s the man behind the exciting choreography and costumes for the Times of India Film Awards that took over the media in Vancouver April 6.

Though Davar is best known in the South Asian community for being the force behind the modernization of Hindi cinema choreography, he’s got an impressive roster of celebrities and VIPs on his resume.

He’s shared the stage with Sting and Bryan Adams, entertained world leaders like Bill Clinton and our own Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and rubbed shoulders with stars like Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, and many more.

Shiamak Davar Brings Bollywood Dance to Vancouver

Davar has received recognition for creating a worldwide dance education movement that has seen his classes pop up in Canada, India, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. And he’s made a name for himself right here in Vancouver since he began offering dance classes in 2003.

Shiamak Davar Choreography
Dancers rehearse some of Shiamak Davar’s choreography before the Times of India Film Awards (Image: Heather Vince)

So what is it about Bollywood dance and cinema that appeals to so many people? Why do we find ourselves trying to mimic the moves, with our hands in the air, shoulders bouncing? Davar compares it to the recent “Gangnam Style” phenomenon:

“Bollywood is also very expressive; it’s funky and fun. It’s beautiful and it’s got a lovely language to it. I think anyone who loves contemporary and jazz dance would like Bollywood; Bollywood has the Indian flavour of those movements and I think people really relate to that.”

Davar is also a philanthropist and believes that everyone should experience the emotional and physical benefits of dance. Davar established Victory Arts Foundation, which collaborates with various NGOs throughout India.

Through VAF he uses dance to help children and adults with disabilities overcome barriers and improve physical strength while lifting their spirits. This past weekend Premier Christy Clark accompanied him on a visit to Canuck’s Place to entertain children battling life-threatening illnesses.