Following Your Heart- An Interview with Madan Kumar

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Where do you live and what styles of dance do you dance?

I live in Mumbai and I dance Salsa, Bachata & Kizomba

What got you into dance?

Dancing was my hobby since childhood, but I never knew I would end up as a full time dancer, teacher and performer.

I remember being asked why, if I’m Indian, I dance Latin dances instead of Indian dance. I I love Indian dance, but it just wasn’t what I gravitated to. And I thought it was a bit of an ignorant question at the time. Haha. But now, here I am, asking you the same question (laughs). Since you are in India and Indian, what made you choose Latin dances instead of Indian dances? 

IMG_20180125_004918_178Haha. It’s like someone asking, if you are Indian, why do you eat burgers instead of Vada Pav? (laughs). Well, it’s a personal choice. I used to dance Bharatanatyam when I was a young kid.

I have been a trained classical dancer since childhood, but as I grew up, I found my interest towards western dance, and then to Latin dances and now African dances. Human interests won’t remain the same forever. As an artist, you will always fall in love with every culture that is new to you.

Nicely put.  I like the link back to the cultures that the dances came from. 

You obviously love performing and have been on many stages. Can you tell us a little about your competitions and performances, particularly in Salsa?

I am a full-fledged salsa dancer. I have represented India at World Salsa Championships. In 2015, I ranked third at the World Salsa Championships, in the professional solo category, amongst 16 of the best salsa dancers from across the world. This was held in Hong Kong.  I may compete again this year after a two year break.

Wow! That’s amazing. I know that it takes a lot of dedication and work to perform and compete at such a high level. Very impressive.

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And what got you into Kizomba?

I fell in love with Kizomba when I first attended a Kizomba workshop in 2015 in Dubai. Since then, I have been following and training in this style.

What do you think it is about Kizomba or any of the other dances that you like, that really appeals to you?

Every dance has its own uniqueness.  It takes a lifetime to master even one dance style as one is trying to understand the culture of many generations from the past. I am more attracted to the urban styles of all these dance forms.

I love the way you put that- that it’s not just about learning steps in a dance, but understanding a culture and its past.   

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I remember years ago learning how India- Mumbai in particular- has a great salsa scene. I was really surprised. I guess that was my own ignorance coming through, not realizing how big Latin dancing was in India   What are your thoughts on the dance scenes – particularly the Latin scene- in India? 

Many Latin festivals are being organised in India.  However there is also a lot of scope for improvement in social dancing, competition or performance levels here. Some of the dancers in India are working really hard and making a better mark in the International Market nowadays. I hope to see many such hardworking and talented dancers in the future, those who will make India proud in the Global Market.

FB_IMG_1518498973093What is your role in the dance community? Do you teach, perform, put on workshops, organize events?

I run a dance school in Mumbai called Madmax Academy of Dance, located in Bandra West. I travel regularly for festivals overseas to teach, perform, compete, and conduct bootcamps.  I have been invited to teach and perform at various festivals in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Dubai, Bangkok, Malaysia, Turkey, and Egypt.  I am looking forward to traveling to more countries in the coming years.

That’s great. What a list! And how great to be able to mix your passion for dance with your obvious love of travel and meeting people of different cultures.  

I saw some photos of events and workshops with you and Tony Pirata together. Could you tell us about some of those events and where or when they are held?

FB_IMG_1518499055264The Kizomba Bootcamp with Tony Pirata was held in November of 2016 . Madmax Academy of Dance had organised the bootcamp in Mumbai and Delhi . We had an outstanding response to the event.

Sounds like a great experience. And another example of how art can bring together different cultures. I love that. 

Dance Me Free is dedicated to the power of Dance to inspire, free and heal.  How has dance impacted your life?

Dance has changed my personality and my perception towards the world.  I am always trying to get better as a person and as an artist because of my love for dance.

Dancing, teaching and performing make me feel complete. If I was not dancing. I would have been working as an engineer (as that is the degree I graduated with).  But I am sure I would not have stayed in that field for too long.

I also have my interests in acting and filmmaking, and am working on a few projects in those areas.  I hope to make a mark in these fields as well.

I have always followed my heart in everything I do. There is no point in doing anything if you don’t FEEL for what you do.  So I will continue dancing as long as my heart is there.

Check out Madan performing a solo fusion number at the Singapore International Latin Festival:  

To find out more about Madan, click here:  www.madmaxdance.in

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