Finally the Big day came. We all were very very excited and anxiously waiting for the evening to come! The Annual Day event was supposed to start at around 7 and our performance was expected to begin at around 8. We attended half working day, had our lunch in the office and left at around 1:30 for the venue that is 'The Intercontinental' at Sahar International Airport Road, Andheri.
I left along with Vijayendra in Suraj's car. Vikram also was coming by his car with other group of around 3-4 girls. Rest of the gang was coming by Bus arranged by SWC, NSE.
We reached venue at about 3 and checked out the whole place. Who would not like being at a 7star luxurious hotel and that too when one has not to pay a single penny from his/her own pocket?! The place was marvelous.
There were some really nice big paintings on the walls around the spacious stairs. We clicked lot of pictures with great poses in numerous permutations and combinations!
In a while Tea – Coffee was served. There were 5-6 different types of Tea and a variety of biscuits just for us – Dancers!
One variety of the specially made Jain biscuits was so tasty that I still have their delicious taste on my tongue till today!
I had Assamese Lime Tea which had a very different aroma. After having tea/coffee-biscuits, we had a final rehearsal on the stage. The stage looked great. One of the Filmfare Award or some beauty pageant types!
However we felt it was smaller as compared to our NSE Audi stage. But it was decorated well with some wooden props. A disco light platform was also being specially prepared for NSE employees for the evening Dance party, following the event.
We only rehearsed once so as not to exhaust and tire ourselves. HitenSir was giving last instructions/tips on wireless mic. He was in great tension but looked chilled and excited. After that rehearsal, we went back stage.
Tried our costumes. Girls had already started with the make up and a special Iron man was called to iron our costumes. There was an air of haste and somewhat chaos all around but we were enjoying every moment. Some dresses had come at the last moment so many of us were busy trying those.
We didn't miss the opportunity to click pics in those sandoes and new dresses with make-up on! All this was so much fun!
The Banquet Hall where the stage was setup was decorated very well with the drapes and lights on the top with a huge elegant chandelier in the center.
All the chairs were also clothed with black and white covers alternately and with golden bows! Just below the stage a dance-floor was set up with glass covering disco-lights below the floor.
The center of the stage had stairs which led to this dance floor. The mood of the evening was building up...
At around 06:15 PM, first bus from NSE arrived and guests started entering the hall. Our excitement grew! We were all ready in the first set of dresses in which we were supposed to perform. The event began with speeches and some other facilitation program etc.
Our first dance performance was by the girls - Tuja Namo! It went very well. Half the girls were in Blue and the rest in yellow Indian Traditional dresses (wore by apsaras or dancers in the palaces of ancient Raj-gharanas). Though these dresses were not that royal, of superior quality or costly, they looked beautiful in that smoke-filled scarcely illuminated stage.
The first performance captivated the audience and we were all too excited to wait for our dance sequence! Audience appreciated the first dance with lot of cheering and clapping.
Second dance was 'Silsila ye Chahat ka..' by Tejashree and other girls where they were supposed to hold illuminated lamps in their hands and dance. Little time was left and still all the lamps were not ready with small LED bulbs with which they were supposed to be shown as illuminated diyas. Tejashree had to be more careful because her Diya was supposed to remain lit (that is the LED bulb of that diya to be ON) till the last moment and she had to do all the running around and dancing (including the 'special' peculiar hand movement of hers where she gave a beating to Aishwarya!) and her diya was flickering the most!!!
But that dance sequence also went very well and audiences liked it equally well. Third dance sequence was the western songs based and the dancers rocked! They set the stage on fire by their energetic and electrifying performance!
Audiences roared and cheered and clapped and were asking for more! ‘Once more's’ were also heard intermittently! Parody dance sequence was a major Hit! People loved the old - new fusion of songs and the humour aspect of this concept. While performing I saw some of the colleagues dancing lightly on their respective seats!
The expressions on their faces told it all how much fun they were having! Our 15 days rigorous rehearsals sessions were paying off! There were some goof ups in between in certain dance items - like in one of the western dance number somebody's, who was dancing in front, zip opened!
But he very cleverly managed to go back and correct the error. In another parody dance number one of my friends strived hard to remove his kurta, he had worn for the previous dance, but it was stuck and the dance began! His expressions I still remember and can't help myself from laughing till date!
Finally he used all his strength to get rid of the stuck kurta and literally ran to reach the stage and could manage to start with a little delay which was not even noticed by the audience! One more such instance was in the parody only where all the boys were supposed to tie a duppatta on their waists, but only half of them remembered and wore it actually! But these all details we could notice because we had the knowledge. Very few sharp people from the audience would even notice this small small goof-ups! That’s the plus point of a group dance! The parody sequence ended with an old song 'Tik Tik Tik Tik...' where all of us, some of us clad in western and the remaining in folk-based dresses, were supposed to come on stage and dance together holding each others hands. It really looked great and everybody enjoyed it thoroughly! The last set of dance sequence which comprised of bhangda, a pop-song and 'Jhoom barabar Jhoom...' number was performed after a short event. Here also in Bhangda, one of the dancers could not find the white coloured pant of right fitting so she came on the stage in black pants and we all other dancers were in white outfits for that dance number. But the dance went so well that this small imbroglio went unnoticed! The special stunts at the end of Bhangda number enthralled audience and they filled the hall with their appreciative feedback noise! The dance lights were creating the magical ambience more beautiful on the stage. In between the dance performances, smoke was also released to give a nice effect to the dance performance. There were two big screens put at the sides where we could see the performance from back-stage. The scene at the back stage was ultimate! You should have been there to know what I mean! There were so much noise, chaos, rush, haste! Dancers were all running here and there to change the dress for their next dance or to make the entry from the other side than their previous performance! I was enjoying all those moments very very much! Finally the last sequence ended with 'Jhoom barabar jhoom...' and we all used the stairs in the center of the stage to actually go down on the dance floor and call our colleagues, the audiences to join us on the dance floor!
What could have been a better end of a dance performance evening than this! It was so much fun! Joy was all there in the air! Our seniors, managers, subordinates all came on the dance floor enthusiastically and the party began!
After a while, we dancers were facilitated by a small but beautiful memento and the choreographers were presented with gifts and bouquets!
That was followed by another round of dance on the dance-floor. Some of us even used stage to dance and had a blast!
This was one of the Best evening of my life (and I am sure for many others among us too who had performed something of this scale on stage!).
Every time I hear a song on which we had performed that evening bring back the old sweet memories of rehearsal sessions and that grand performance evening back to my mind! I will always cherish these sweet memories for the rest of my life!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Let me talk about the characters among us now who danced in the grand finale show of NSE annual day dance event! There was this 'Dancer' who was graceful not any less than a choreographer or a bollywood heroine! There were lot of chain emails exchanged among us about this 'Dancer' but never her name was mentioned (Though everybody knew who she was!).Let me quote her name in bold letters for the first time, here in my Blog! She was none other than....'Dweetee Shah'...!
She danced so elegantly and gracefully, twisting her body like rubber and jumping and swirling that one would like to keep seeing her dance on and on and on! She was indeed the Best 'Dancer' in western category.
Next name I have to take is 'Asif' ...The Comedian, the actor, the flirt, the
Mischievous, the notorious...How many adjectives I shall use for him! And every time Dweetee entered the Audi; He never missed a chance to bow his head in her respect! She felt so embarrassed initially but later on she was used to this! He always praised her in all possible words, sometimes even touching her feet (of course jokingly!)
It was fun to hear Asif's sometimes witty and sometimes foolish comments! You should see his nakhras and style in the pictures people have taken during these rehearsals and I am sure you would be entertained!
Then there was Tejashree, heroine of our most of the songs (Aishwarya of our 'Silsila ye ...' Devdas number,Priyanka of 'Ek mai aur Ek Tu...' number etc. etc.).
I guess no one would ever forget her most graceful step in the song 'Silsila ye...' where she had to put her finger on her chin and wear those very innocent expressions on her face coming in front before the audience and then running all around among the other girls performing with her in that song! She did Salsa also in one of the songs and she did classical dance also in 'Tuj Namo...' - Ganesh aaradhna song.
Next I would talk about Umesh who danced equally well among boys as Dweetee danced among girls. He had the advantage due to his slim-lean body! My most favourite step performed by him was when he had to sit and jump and again sit and jump (in 'Dhoom' title track where Dweetee and Vijaya also had to do the same step with him).I envied him for that step! Vijaya was also a character one would remember! She was distinct among all due to her curly hairs which has also gained her the title 'Maggi' (noodles!).She too was a good dancer. She seemed funny at times when she was dancing in front but forgot her steps and asked the girl next what the next step is! She also twisted her body very well! How can one forget the stunts performed by her and
Dweetee in two-three songs where they had to literally jump on their hands - head down and legs up in the air - and go the other side! She danced very well in 'Hare Ram ...' number from 'Bhool-Bhulaiya' and equally good in 'Tuja namo...' also!(Like Tejashree only - contrast of western and folk).
Tomboy of the girls-group was Mamta whose deliberate pronunciations 'Yoges' for Yogesh and 'Suz' for 'Shoes' always mad me laugh! She was too energetic. Continuous Practice sessions made her sweat and she used to get exhausted at times but she never got tired and never said 'no' to any song to be practiced.
Then there was Deepa who was very enthu, Rukhsana who always made me laugh with her comedy style of speaking and carry herself,
Neeta who danced very well in spite of hurting her leg due to falling down (which she quite often does!), Anuradha who joined late (like me) but picked up her steps quite well, Aarti - my partner in 'Mood Mood ke na Dekh...' number and who danced in 'Dholi Taro...' with rukhsana,neeta and Premila - masked Ganpati of 'Tuja Namo...' aaradhna song.
Vibhuti, Rajani, Meetali and Navneet were equally enthu, energetic and danced in tune with last but not the least, Alpa who was again a very graceful and (I guess learned) dancer. Well, Girls are anyway pretty, delicate yet graceful and do a lot of 'nakhras' so even if they don't dance well, people are going to appreciate them! But I am giving them a genuine compliment! They all really danced well! Cheers gals!
Now Guys ...Asif and Umesh I already mentioned, Suraj - my choreographer for old parody numbers - was very comfortable while dancing and enjoyed his steps very much.
Rajanish could not make it to attend the practice sessions on time regularly but enjoyed his dance and we all loved his spirit!
Dharmendra was a very good dancer and he was complimented by our DMD Chitra mam herself! He used to dance with very nice smile on his face and enjoyed himself while dancing. Viren and Vikram also danced well.
Laxminarayan, also an SWC member, used to go for his dance classes at Shiamak's very often and so used to come late but was quite enthu and enjoyed his dance.
Yogesh also tried to dance his best.Roxy teased him by telling him that he looked like a watchman while dancing!
Vijayendra was our Abhishek Bachchan and he paired with Tejashree for a sequence where he did some salsa also!
Manoj tried to showcase his dancing skills after choreographing Fashion Show in last year's NSE annual day and did a good job.
GauriShankar (whom HitenSir called GauriSankar some times!) was also a good dancer (and a good singer too! I heard him sing a nice old Hindi song in the dress-room once). Then there was Vaibhav who used to enjoy his dance and shake his body very very energetically and enthusiastically. After our rehearsals sessions we used to have a JAM kind of session where some of us used to dance freely and there Vaibhav and Asif were the first to start with all those naughty steps as well as the typical 'Band-Baja' style steps!(Two males bringing their shoulders close, rubbing their chests against each other's and bending their bodies and dancing with hand movements!) Yogesh, Girish and myself also used to enjoy these JAM sessions very much! Sometimes we used to play some very peppy South Indian Dance number and Gaurishankar, Biren and many others also joined in and we used to have some smashing time dancing like nobody was watching us!(Is not that true style of dancing? I had read somewhere 'Dance like No one is watching.')
Pramod, Sujith, Hoshedar, Sijo, Vikas Shrivastava and Deepak also rehearsed hard to perform the Best on the Big Day.
Thus, we all actually had a blast of time during the Rehearsals...!!!
Now let me talk a little about the songs on which we performed.
Dholi Taro number had these four guys : Viren, Vikram, Dharmendra and Umesh and their partners were Aarti, Premila, Rukhsana and Neeta respectively. They were supposed to wear a Gujarati Traditional costume along with a special mask which carried a Girl’s face behind the guy’s costumes and a moustached guy’s face behind the girl’s costume. The choreography was fantastic and they had to frequently turn during the dance to make the opposite gender's face visible and also shake their heads continuously to make the masked faces real and to make them look talking with the guy's or girl's face next to him or her. It was skillful and amazing.
I like the steps choreographed by Roxy very much. All those steps were quite youthful and energetic. They were difficult but at the same time so good that you would definitely like to try and master them! I loved my song 'Jhoom barabar Jhoom' steps also very very much!11 of us were supposed to dance where we were divided into three groups. Initially we all had to sit on our toes and when song starts first 4 guys had to stand up quickly and sit again after 8 bits count the second group members including me had to quickly stand up and again sit back. Finally the third group members had to stand up quickly and do some steps and then we all join them and do some steps in unison! This kind of act of synchronization and coordination always attracted me and here I was a part of such a dance sequence! My God! I was enjoying !!!This song also involved Dweetee and Vijaya coming in the middle of the song, center-stage and perform some acrobatics kind of amazing steps which really looked great! Also one more good thing about the choreography was that we all had to run around using the entire stage space. Finally the exit was also special as we were supposed to go straight to the audience and invite them to join us in dancing!!!
Then there was Rang de Basanti number which was folk based but equally energetic and peppy! Our steps were not very difficult but required lot of energy! Once we had to perform on this song continuously for 4-5 times and we all were panting and sweating like anything! This song was not choreographed till the end of rehearsal period and we finalized some steps just before the day of our grand finale! In the last stanza we wanted to set some difficult and special steps. We set two such steps where Mamta had to run and sit on Yogesh's thigh and he had to lift her and complete a full circle. At the same instance, on either side, Asif and Vaibhav had to lift Tejashree and Navneet on their Backs with the girls keeping their one foot over the shoulder of the guy and the other foot on their back and swing their hands in air! It looked great! And all these while we other three dancers, me, Seeju and Deepa had to continue with normal bhangda steps in the background. We had a hard time setting the special difficult steps and rehearsing them but it was real fun!
Two-three days before our final event, the costumes came and we had to do the rehearsals with costumes on! The idea excited me! Like professional dancers we had to wear those jazzy-gaudy dresses and perform on the stage! The dresses were all showy and with frills and shiny material all above them.
But they were all generic sizes. So for the ones among us who were on little heavier side found problems with these dresses. They were too tight for them. For taller ones among us, these dresses were shorter. But somehow we all managed and the really problematic dresses which could not be helped with were replaced also by the choreographer.(Mr. Hiten himself had arranged to get these dresses for us.)It looked really funny when out of the group of 10 or 12 ,a few wore these dresses and the others were in their normal clothes and all of them danced together on the song.
Many of us were supposed to dance in 4-5 songs so changing costumes between the songs was going to be a tough task that we realized during these dress-rehearsals.
Our Choreographer Mr. Hiten was a man of great enthusiasm and energy. He not only taught us dance but gave us a few simple but very effective and useful tips to enjoy our dance and life. He said we all should not only focus on learning dance but also enjoy these moments of rehearsals where we were making so many new friends, learning so many new things, doing a completely different kind of activity than our routine work life. Me as well as all my friends and colleagues who were practicing there could not agree less on this. We all thoroughly enjoyed these sessions. One more important tip he gave us was to enjoy whatever we were doing. This applies to anything and everything in life. We all should enjoy whatever we are doing, be it work, be it some hobby, be it some daily chore or whatever and then see the difference! He told that we were not professional dancers so mistakes were bound to occur but we should not stop and get very serious about those mistakes. We should continue.(This also applies to Life, of course with learning from each mistake and try so as not to make the same mistake again)One of his tips made us all laugh loud! He said suppose while doing a particular dance sequence everybody in the group has to go to left but by mistake one of the girls forgets this and go to the right side, then she should not get conscious. She should assume and make audience believe that she is the heroine!(and rest of the group members are extra dancers!!!)(However nobody should deliberately attempt this in order to get attention!!!).'You are Hero or heroine!'-This should be your attitude! Audiences anyway do not know what the actual choreography is. They are going to believe what you show or do. So don't get bogged down or get conscious by your mistakes! Get over them. Continue the performance! Enjoy your dance! We all had a good laugh when he shared this philosophical tip in his own idiosyncratic style! Some of us thought him to be over-expressive and made fun of him at times! But that his how certain individuals are!
(Please read all the Masti of the Grand Finale Day along with some very interesting colourful visuals and some more special moments we enjoyed during the course of this dance event in the concluding Blog - part3 )