When it comes to dance, it is not all about movement and presenting the glamorous you. Dance these days is definitely more than that. Since it has always been a way to express oneself, for many, it is empowering too. But with passion and dedication comes a lot of responsibility. Sumit Khetan, who founded the Sumit Khetan Entertainment Co, tells us how he has been successful in creating opportunities for the underprivileged through means of dance.
Khetan embarked on his creative journey merely because of his passion for dance. After pursuing a formal education and side by side attending workshops of the famed dancer Shiamak Dawar, Khetan knew what he really wanted to do in life.
His fervour for melodious movements metamorphosed into bespoke choreography because of which he started the Sumit Khetan Entertainment Co and heads it as the artistic director. It not only caters to events and galas but also works to uplift and nurture talent and create equal opportunities for all.
Sumit Khetan Entertainment Co runs a ‘Dance Education Program’ for underprivileged children to give them a chance to pursue their dream in dance with the guidance by the professionals in the industry.
Khetan says that since he has been a part of the industry for a long time now, he wanted to create a space and a platform for his unique ideas which would be enhanced with the deep-rooted experience, expertise and finesse. But along with that, he wanted to give back to society.
“Rhythm is in all of us, we just need to identify and tune it,” Khetan says.
He adds that he realised that a lot of underprivileged people had a genuine inclination towards dance but simply couldn’t afford a technical training in it because of their social and economic background. “But that should not stop them from living their dreams which in turn can become a source of earning money and uplifting their lives,” says Khetan.
“We want to nourish them with the practical training of dance forms, be it Indian and international, so that they can make a name for themselves,” Khetan says.
He believes that in today’s world, there is a lot of potential and talent which needs its due recognition. “Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it,” Khetan says adding that this is the motto that he has believed in, right from the inception of the Dance Education Program.
Talking about how students are chosen for the program, he says that auditions are held in various cities across India, from where they identify not only talent but also passion. “Talent is found in many of the people who come in to audition, but sometimes they lack passion and at times they don’t have an attitude which is required to learn,” Khetan points out.
Once the students are selected for the program, which is one year long, the company looks after their accommodation, food and education. “The company focuses not just on dance but also on their communication skills. The students attend English speaking and personality development classes, learn etiquettes which help them evolve as an individual and ultimately gives them a sense of confidence to work as a professional in the competing world,” Khetan adds, mentioning that the program is free of cost for all the students.
He points out that when these students graduate, there is a remarkable change in them — in the way they perform and also in their overall personalities. “The confidence is very evident in the way they move, talk and interact with others which is extremely satisfying to watch,” adds Khetan.
He says that more and more students from the underprivileged backgrounds are getting a break through the program as also due to the influx of reality shows which have been a very good platform for them.
“Reality shows are not only about winning anymore; they are a space where participants can learn and grow and make a name for themselves in the industry which will pay them well,” says Khetan.
He believes that the responsibility of creating opportunities lies with the common man; it does not always have to come from the government.
“Since there are limited sources and the infrastructure is not available to all those who want to pursue dance, it is important to make use of whatever is available. The internet has become a really good teacher for those who cannot afford a formal education in dance,” he says.
For one to keep going in the world, Khetan says that it is important not to give up on that one dream and fulfill it with passion and dedication.
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Students can enroll for the next year’s program by uploading videos of them performing two different dance forms of their choice with the hashtag #DEPSK2018 and filling the application form on www.sumitkhetan.com/dep.php