Sixteen-year-old Alisha Behura from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh is making space in male-dominated street dance forms like Krump and B-Girling and is in the top 20 of So You Think You Can Dance. Sangeeta Yadav talks to the nimble-footed danseuse
- How’s it been with So You Think You Can Dance?
Challenging but good. During the auditions, I thought I would sail through to the top 20 but there were so many rounds in between that it stressed me out. We couldn’t sleep for four days. I felt that I would not be able to clear so many rounds but the show’s creative head Jayesh Pradhan motivated everyone a lot.
- What’s your dance style?
I specialise in Hip Hop, Krump and B-Girling. I started learning hip hop and did it for eight years then shifted to classical dancing. Hip hop is quite popular among girls and has a lot of interesting styles like locking, popping and new school etc. Krump and B-Girling are street dance styles which not many girls have attempted as they are high-intensity. Both are battle forms where people fight without touching the other person. It requires a lot of strength and aggression, hand and body power, flips etc. Krump is all about hand and leg movements. B-Girling has top and down rock moves and flips.
- What has been the most difficult dance form that you have tried so far?
Ukraine’s national folk dance called Hopak. It took me to a lot of time to understand and get the moves right. There was added pressure to get it right on stage in front of the judges.
- Did you ever think of giving up?
Never, because I love what I’m doing. My parents have done everything to ensure that I reach where I’m today. There were times when I would get injured but I was always back on stage with a bang. Injuries are bad as they act as roadblocks.
- Is Chhattisgarh a dancing hub?
When I started learning dance, there were limited academies and not much scope. But with dance reality shows getting popular, the youth have developed a love for dancing. New academies have opened up and charge Rs500 a month for teaching different styles. People are learning from YouTube and experimenting with new styles. Hip Hop is popular. Even young mothers have taken to participating in reality shows. There are many underground dance battles, for all dance styles, that take place in our city. My school encourages extra-curricular activities. When I win an inter-school competition, the school also gives me a trophy. Sometimes the education department gives a scholarship.
- Future plans…
I’ve taken a break from studies and concentrating on the show. I want to become an actor-dancer. This show has given me a new identity and fame. It feels good when people say that they look up to me. I want to inspire a lot more through my work.
(The article got published in The Pioneer Newspaper – http://www.dailypioneer.com/show-time/i-will-never-give-up-dancing.html)