At her expressive best
A chat with jazz funk dancer, Nitika Lohia, who explains what drove her to take up this profession
She had her academics sorted out — she was pursuing B Tech and it would have eventually fetched her a good job too. But Nitika Lohia chose to switch gears midway. “I’ve always had this hidden passion for dance but like most Indians, I ended up in an engineering college,” says Lohia, who was in the city recently to conduct a ‘Jazz Funk and Contemporary Dance’ workshop.
The youngster took up formal dancing after she got operated on her knee when she was 21. Says she, “In my third year of B Tech, I started saving money to get enrolled in a dance class. My friends also helped me. Without taking my parents’ permission, I enrolled myself for a jazz batch. It was a big risk shifting from B Tech to dancing, but it was all worth it.”
Lohia explains that she didn’t have a perfect body or training, but passion and hard work kept her going. The dancer had a vision for herself and that was the driving force behind everything she did. She says that she always believed that she had a part in her which belonged to dancing but never knew how or when she would connect with it. “Since I come from an academically oriented and orthodox family, I had to fight my way to get where I am today,” she adds.
When asked what dance means to her, Lohia exclaims, “Dance chose me and it saved me! It is a way to express yourself. It’s more than a simple movement or a medium to have fun.”
She says she loves the fact that through dance she gets to play different characters. “You can be whoever you want for that one song which is really cool,” says Lohia.
She points out that when you dance, you can let go of everything for that one hour and live your life. That is the magic of dance. “We live in a loop and for that one hour, I get to isolate myself from the outside world and dance out whatever I have been feeling inside, something which no one knows about,” adds Lohia.
Moving on to jazz funk, Lohia says the dance form is a fusion of hip hop and jazz and that the dancers and choreographers interpret it in their own way. “You can retain the foundation of the form and add your own flavour or movement to it. Most importantly, learn to express yourself through it,” she says.
When asked why she is fond of the dance form, she says, “Every style is different. I love jazz funk because I get to experiment with it and bring out my own style.”
Being a choreographer can be a tough job. “Performing for yourself is easier and you can give your own best and showcase your potential. Choreographing for someone else is completely different because you have to bring out the best out of them. They should shine and look comfortable,” Lohia says.
“It is really an emotional moment to see your own choreography and vision coming alive and the dancers giving their best shot,” she adds, remembering her choreography for Tamasha film. “It was my first ever experience dancing and travelling for a movie shoot so it will always be special to me. I learnt a lot about camera angles, blocking and even choreography which helped me when I started choreographing for music videos and commercials,” she says.