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The Show Must Go On… and It Will!

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Photos: Navin Mediwala

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By Malay Vyas

STAFFORD: Many Dances, One Body; Many Emotions, One Stage; Many Celebrations… One Life – the words took form in real life as nearly a hundred Naach dancers took stage at the Stafford Centre on August 22. A near full house crowd on a weekday was enthralled by different dance genres from Bollywood to Contemporary by dancers of various age groups from six to sixty five touching on subjects as varied as Mumbai Riots to rise of hip hop in urban alleys of USA. Naach is a celebration of life and that’s what the evening led to.

Since its inception as an independent dance studio in December 2012, the team at Naach dreamed about its own production and despite of all the growing pains, there was no stopping Naach – the event was aptly titled “The Show Must Go On”,  an analogy to life’s challenges – no matter what, life goes on.  From ticket printing to arranging for props, lights, fog machines, from seeking sponsors to getting involved in spreading the word on social media, the Naach team overcame one hurdle after another to set up the show. On the creative front, of course, Naach is blessed with some of the best choreographers and students in Houston. Together, the idea was to create a carnival of celebrations through dance.

A carnival it was, as the show opened with about thirty dancers with various props from hula hoops to ice wings, cartwheels to circus moves, all tuned to the beats of ‘Baawre’ from ‘Luck By Chance’ simulating the circle of life. As the audience settled down from this Rajasthani ensemble number, we embarked on a picnic with Naach juniors performing ‘Jungle mein Mangal’ depicting the age of innocence.  Act 2 shifted gears into the rise of anti-establishment culture in suburban USA with street side hip hop, face off and how dance helped the youth channel their aggressive energy creatively into positive ways to transform their lives.

Act 3 was focused on Madhuri Dixit, the queen of Bollywood. From the memories of Ek Do Teen to her with her modern day avatar as a television dance show judge, the dancers emulated Madhuri Dixit on stage. As the audience was transported back to the rhythms of the 1990’s Bollywood; the seniors took on stage in Act 4. Naach’s Senior Kid’s batch as they are fondly called; Vinod and Vijay Bhuchar took to the stage with Subodh & Sonal Bhuchar, Chetan & Shefali Jhaveri, Sunil and Sandhya Thakkar along with Dilip Kanabar proving that age is just a number and when it comes to Naach, everyone is a child at heart.

Religious harmony has been a theme for many a Bollywood movie and Act 5 brought that to the stage in a dance form. Humanity across various religious forms was depicted through contemporary and sufi genres of dance. Unity led to respect for diversity as act 5 moved into regional songs, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati and Punjabi songs highlighting the flavor of unity in diversity at Naach Houston.

Continuing with the theme of community, Act 6 set tone with the ‘mehfil’ settings with dancers sitting in far corners of the stage – joining in as the songs changed. Popular item numbers dotted this segment as the pace picked up to the final crescendo in Act 7 when the show came back a full circle to the carnival atmosphere in line with Naach’s philosophy that in every end, there is a new beginning.  The finale end pose  is a show of hands depicting Naach Houston reaching out to the audience and the community.

Mahesh Mahbubani’s first independent production was a grand success. In his true inimitable modest style, when Mahesh  took the mike during the break – all he said was please wait for the next two acts – there is more for you. Naach Houston always has more instore – the studio is more than a dance school, it is a sanctuary for people of all ages, cultures, races and nationalities – a space to evoke positivity and creativity through power of movement in Dance. Naach is a reality; it is a dream come true. Naach has arrived but the journey has just begun, there is more coming from Mahesh Mahbubani and Naach. So watch this space and until then… Love, Peace, Naach.

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