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B Positive Magazine- June'13

Published by on April 19, 2013 | 0 Comment

When Shiamak and Premier Christy Clark Danced for Good!

During Shiamak Davar’s recent visit to Vancouver, he joined hands with British Columbia Premier Christy Clark to Dance For Good. Together, they paid a visit to the Canuck Place with his dance company to entertain residents at the children’s hospice.

‘Dance for me has the power to heal. Through my not for profit organization, Victory Arts Foundation we’ve been reaching out to thousands of people with special needs and healing through dance.

Premier Christy Clark has such high regard for all cultures and we connected immediately when she visited my dance studio in Mumbai last year. It is such an honour to have her support for our Dance For Good program’, says Shiamak.

The program urges individuals or groups to DANCE for a GOOD cause. It aims at sharing the joy of dance to heal, empowering performers with an opportunity to make a change, bringing a smile of people’s faces and giving them hope, giving an opportunity to people to take up a cause they support and give it visibility through dance, encouraging team spirit, improving the community, reaching out to various locations and supporting multiple causes, bringing communities together through dance and the performing arts, creating awareness and making each individual a ‘dance hero’.

‘I was here with my friend Shiamak who runs one of the best dance schools in the world. They were here to entertain the kids. These guys are all about ‘live for the moment’ and it was wonderful how they got the kids dancing. The great thing about it is the inter cultural connection that they make. Sometimes these kids experience a lot of sadness in their lives and Shiamak was here bringing them some joy through dance.’ said Premier Clark.

The Shiamak Davar Dance Company performed to Shabop, a song sung by Shiamak that stands for ‘dance without worry and celebrate life’ and that is just what these kids did. This initiative that aims at using dance to connect cultures and strengthen the community is a great way for people to come forward and share the joy of dance with the community.

 For- Vancouver Sun

Expect high-energy at musical extravaganza, says Bollywood choreographer

By Deborah Meyers, Special to The Sun April 2, 2013

  ‘Dance guru’ Davar Shiamak cranks up the voltage at the Times of India Film Awards

New Bollywood marries classical styles like Bharata Natyam and Kathak, or folk dances like Bhangra with western genres like contemporary, jazz and hip hop.

When the lights go down and the music starts at the inaugural Times of India Film Awards in Vancouver on Saturday, the place will be crammed with Bollywood celebrities. But don’t expect the proceedings to begin with a monologue. This may be the Academy Awards of Bollywood cinema, but the film industry it celebrates is all about song, and especially dance. Both the awards ceremony, and the musical extravaganza that precedes it tonight, will be defined by large-scale production numbers devised by Shiamak Davar, an A-list Bollywood choreographer who divides his time between Mumbai and Vancouver.

“TOIFA is an extension of the cultural exchange that has been taking place between Canada and India for years now,” says Davar, reached in Mumbai where he is putting the finishing touches on elaborate dance acts that will erupt on both stages. Participating B.C. dancers — many of them members of the Shiamak Davar Dance Team, the professional wing of his North Vancouver dance school affiliated with a string of international Shiamak style dance schools, including centres in Victoria and Toronto — are concurrently in rehearsal in Vancouver.

Davar, who serves as both director of choreography and design for the Vancouver events (and will perform himself in a single number on each evening), is widely credited with re-positioning Bollywood dance for an international market.

“When I started off 20 years ago,” he said, “Bollywood dance did not have a structure. The first movie I choreographed went on to win a national award, and introduced jazz technique to Bollywood. It was a first for Indian cinema to have properly choreographed pieces with dancers who were trained and had fit bodies. This movie — Dil Toh Pagal Hai — is considering a turning point for dance in Bollywood movies.”

A marker of his success is the fact that the term Bollywood now refers to a dance style, as well as to the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai. One of the largest centres of film production in the world, Indian popular cinema has multiple roots in the culture: ancient epics and Sanskrit dramas, traditional folk theatre, and especially Parsi theatre, with its melodramatic plot lines and use of elaborate stagecraft to conjure a unique brew of realism and fantasy. Hollywood musicals and Western musical television, especially MTV, with its focus on pace, camera angles and octane-fuelled dance sequences, have also shaped the form.

The influence goes both ways. Australian director Baz Luhrman (son of a ballroom dance teacher) has said that his 2001 film Moulin Rouge was directly inspired by Bollywood musicals. That film led to a revival of the Western musical film genre with movies like Chicago, Dream Girls and Mamma Mia!

If old Bollywood dance was modelled on classical styles like Bharata Natyam and Kathak, or folk dances like Bhangra, the new Bollywood marries those older forms with western genres like contemporary, jazz and hip hop. The structure is usually a hero or heroine with a troupe of backup dancers, supported by frequently shifting staging and costumes that are almost baroque in their embellishments.

The old and the new meet in defining themes: star-crossed lovers, dramatic reversals of fortune, kind-hearted courtesans. Florid to some, timeless to others, it depends how you look at it. “It’s about interpreting the emotion of a particular scene through dance movements,” says Davar.

The choreographer, known as a “dance guru” in India for his work on television reality shows like Dance Ke Superstars (Superstars of Dance), Jhala Dikhla Ja (Dancing with the Stars), Dance Premier League and India’s Got Talent, is no stranger to large-scale undertakings. He has directed, designed and performed at events like the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games (Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010) and The World Economic Forum Davos (2006), and was the designer and choreographer for the Indian International Film Academy Awards for ten consecutive years (2002 to 2011.)

But the first Times of India Film Awards is special to him, uniting two cities to which he has deep connections.

“It’s like inviting my friends and family from India to beautiful Vancouver”, he says. What do Western audiences need to know to understand Bollywood dance? Not a thing, according to Davar. “Just feel the music and dance,” he says. “The audience will be in for a lot of high energy and high voltage performances.”

The Vancouver Sun

By Larissa Cahute, Postmedia News April 5, 2013
// Times of India Film Awards get Bollywood-style kick-off in Vancouver

Shiamak Davar (centre) is pictured at the Times of India Film Awards Musical Extravaganza opener at the Pacific Coliseum on April 4.

Photograph by: Aziz Dhamani , Special to The Sun

The extravagant Bollywood lifestyle has officially taken over Vancouver.

Amidst the bright lights, vibrant colours – and even fire – was, of course, the Hindi film industry’s trademark song and dance from their top performers and singers, who all came together for the Times of India Film Awards’ impressive kick-off event.

Thursday night’s Musical Extravaganza at the Pacific Coliseum erupted with intense and deafening cheers from the crowd as Indian actress Neha Dhupia, known for roles in the 2004 Bollywood film Julie and 2008 Singh is Kinng, first took the stage.

The glamorous Dhupia, host of the premier event, officially welcomed Bollywood fans from across the globe to the first-ever TOIFA.

“Welcome to the most happening musical extravaganza of the year,” she shouted to the crowd, encouraging them to “burn the dance floor.”

The actress and 2002 Femina Miss India embodied the perfect image for Vancouver’s dive into Bollywood culture: dressed head to toe in a sleek, black salwar kameez with glittering gold trim and jewellry.

But Dhupia didn’t waste much time as she quickly introduced the evening’s first performer – or “guru,” as she excitedly put it.

“The choreographer who can sweep you off your feet with his voice,” she said, introducing world-renowned choreographer Shiamak Davar.

There was nothing more fitting to set the tone than Davar’s exuberant personality and signature Bollywood style – which has transcended borders, spawning dance studios in Vancouver, Toronto and right across the world.

But Thursday night wasn’t just a song and dance performance for Davar – he’s been devoting countless hours to the inaugural TOIFA weekend directing both the Musical Extravaganza and the grand awards ceremony Saturday night.

But he went back to basics at the Pacific Coliseum, starting out with a slow and solemn one man show with his song Jaane Kisne.

Usually surrounded by a throng of dancers, the spotlight was just on Davar in a trim black suit.

But he was soon joined by two scantilly clad dancers who performed alongside the seductive beat, Davar almost serenading them.

Naturally his second number picked up the pace and he was joined by his throng of colourfully dressed dancers for some upbeat songs and friendly crowd banter.

“I know I’m not Shahrukh Khan,” he joked, adding that he’s still “sexy.”

Next to take the stage was Shalmali Kholgade, playback singer from Mumbai who won this year’s Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for her song Pareshaan from the 2012 movie Ishaqzaade starring Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra.

So of course she opened with the award-winning number, surrounded by a sea of dancers swaying to the mystical start of the song.

But the temperature quickly rose as the beat picked up and the dancers began to move – the bursting flames may have also helped bring the heat.

The night’s third performer touted some hometown pride with Canadian born singer – from Ottawa, but raised in Paris – Abbas Hasan.

Hasan’s short and sweet performance switched up the Bollywood vibe as his one man show delivered some westernized hip-hop with his latest single Away right into his debut single Sona.

The concert then took a complete turn as Dhupia introduced “the party queen” -British Indian rapper and hip-hop artist Hard Kaur.

Surrounded by a clan of dancers, Hard Kaur offered an abrupt twist with her intense and harsh beats – like her latest single Peeney Do, boasting offbeat lyrics of “I need a drink” and “if I get out of control it’s not me it’s the alcohol.”

But after her few songs of rugged dance and hip-hop, it was a 360 right back to the Bollywood romantic ballads, with – as Dhupia put it – “the prince of romance,” Mohit Chauhan.

The two time Filmfare Award winner for Best Male Playback Singer brought the crowd back to a calm state with his acoustic set, opening with old favourite, Dooba Dooba, which shot him to fame in his since dissolved band Silk Route.

Even with his laid back acoustic vibe, he managed to joke with and get the crowd to sing along with him.

And the atmosphere continued as Dhupia introduced “the queen of good times,” Kavita Seth.

“Her music is going to touch your soul,” said Dhupia.

And the Filmfare Award winning singer’s voice alone did so, as she opened with an a capella number, her vocals dominating the entire stadium, before she went into her infamous song Ik Tara.

While most performers had brief stints on stage, they all managed to get in their appreciation for the grand event and how pleased they are to be right here in Vancouver.

And Dhupia of course continued to maintain the crowds’ excitement for Saturday’s grand awards ceremony which will bring the extravagant weekend-long event to a close – but undoubtedly with a bang.


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.

Vancouver Observer

How does one create a spectacular show for the world to see when the performers aren’t trained professionals? With a little Bollywood flair, some catchy dance beats and Shiamak Davar behind the scenes, anything is possible. 

Posted: Apr 4th, 2013

Even if you don’t regularly flock to the theatre to catch the latest Bollywood flicks, chances are you recognize some of the celebrity faces. And it’s likely Shiamak Davar has had his hand in the artistic direction of their roles, from Priyanka Chopra’s hand gestures, Abhishek Bachchan’s suave moves and yes, he’s even worked with Tom Cruise.

Bollywood films, known for their wildly dramatic plots of love and heartbreak with luxurious costuming and intoxicating backdrops, would be lacklustre without the added intensity of movement and music. Shiamak is the man behind the visual splendor of many of Bollywood’s biggest blockbusters, and with his combination of Indian, jazz, and contemporary dance moves, he is lauded for making Bollywood dance the trend it is today.

Shiamak instructs female dancers how to manipulate their costume pieces

As for Vancouver’s first-ever major Indian film awards descending on the city, it’s no surprise why the Times of India has called upon Shiamak’s services—not only is he skilled and passionate, but he also calls Vancouver home: “I live here and in Bombay because I have so much work. I have to go back to Bombay to shoot, and come back here and do my classes and go back again to work. I’m rushing all over the world so it’s a wonderful thing, the best thing, to be back home.”

On the evening of April 6, 40,000 people will fill the seats of BC Place in anticipation of seeing some of India’s biggest movie stars and performers. True to Indian style, no detail will have been spared, but Shiamak and his team have been running non-stop to pull it all together. During a break from choreographing a large group of male dancers, Glen D’Mello, CEO of The SHIAMAK Group jokes with a laugh: “We’ll sleep on the 7th!”

Glen D'Mello directing the dance crew

Some of the hardest workers of course are 200 local dancers who have auditioned and rehearsed for what could be the biggest opportunity of their lives. But not everyone is a professionally trained dancer, Shiamak explains.

“Out of 200 people, maybe 90 per cent are not trained.” But he doesn’t insist experience be part of the criteria. A passion to perform, instead, takes precedence.

So with Shiamak splitting his time between Mumbai and Vancouver, how did he get it all done?

“Thanks to technology, all this is possible now and it doesn’t matter which part of the world my teams are working in,” He recently told Vancouver Desi. 

“Even in terms of costumes and props that I design, being in two different continents opens up that many more possibilities as different materials and props are available in different cities, so I make the best of both worlds.”

Technology has allowed Shiamak the possibility to conduct personal interviews over Skype while he was stationed in Mumbai and from there he would send videos of choreography back to Vancouver where his team here would teach the students.

“Everyone’s been really fantastic, I have to say. I didn’t even expect the locals to be this good. They’re not even good, they’re fantastic! I’m really proud of them, I’m so proud of them I can’t tell you.”


An Unforgettable Meeting in Vancouver!

Spotted- An ‘Unforgettable’ meet between Shiamak Davar, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Vancouver, Canada. Shiamak has known Aishwarya from her Miss World days, a title that she went on to win, carrying on the association through Taal, Dhoom 2, the Unforgettable Tour and her recent breathtaking performance at Miss India 2013. Their camaraderie carries on even as they meet in Vancouver!

Published on March 7, 2013 by   ·  


Shiamak Davar

Have you ever dreamed of being choreographed by Shiamak Davar (right) and dancing alongside Bollywood stars? Auditions for the Times of India Film Awards could be your chance. Mark van Manen/PNG files

Dancers from the Lower Mainland have a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to be part of the magic of the Times of India Film Awards this April.

The Shiamak Davar Dance Company is holding auditions for Metro Vancouver dancers to dance alongside top Bollywood stars at the event’s grand awards ceremony on April 6 at B.C. Place.

Auditions will be held in Surrey on Saturday and the company is looking to fill 50 positions.

“Those chosen to fill these positions will have a once in a lifetime experience, performing on stage for thousands of adoring fans and also getting the opportunity to meet and work alongside some of their favourite Bollywood actors and actresses,” renowned choreographer Shiamak Davar said in a release. “We’re incredibly excited to bring this opportunity to local dancers.”

Auditions will start at 10:30 a.m. on March 9 at the Dance West Studio in Surrey, #3-12372 84th Ave.

Dancers must be at least 18 years old and need to register for the auditions. Register by phone at 604-924-9104.

Auditions cost $39, but if you attended the Shiamak TOIFA dance workshop last weekend, you can get a discounted price of $29.

Shiamak TOIFA

Gear up for some awesome performances choreographed by him. Not just this, but Shiamak is also looking forward to perform himself at the first ever ‘Times Of India Film Awards’.