As the light went off, dancers entered the frame with grace and agility. At the end of 90 minutes contemporary abstract titles Agni, choreographed by Ashley Lobo and his troupe beamed brightly as a crowd broke into cheers.
“Agni” is the Vedic God of Fire. It is a symbol of light and darkness, destruction and purification, beginnings and endings, sacrifice and knowledge. The choreographer used Prana Paint (a unique sensitizing approach that explores movement through connectivity, yoga, breath, and touch) technique for this performance.
Ashley Lobo, who is an Indian-Australian choreographer is an inspiration for many. Trained in Australia at the Bodenweiser Dance Centre, Ashley goes candid and talks about his journey and international dance trend in India.“I did not choose to dance. I think dance chose me. As a young Christian boy in Mumbai, you learn to jive at parties with your sister at a very young age. I enjoyed that very much. But never thought of dance as a career,” Ashley said.
“It was more a social thing. I accidentally happened to dance on stage in an amateur public production, my mother was directing, at the age of 15 and after that one thing led to another and I got into dance. Even after that, I was in and out. The actual decision to go to Australia and study dance professionally and go professional was at the age 20,” he shares.
Talking about his journey, especially spreading awareness about International Dance in India, Ashley said, “As a youngster growing up in India with my background at the time was difficult. I was raised with an awareness of international music and dance but there was nothing here. I decided to go to Australia to study dance and work there professionally.”
It was a big risk and a lot of pressure on a young 20-year-old Ashley, to which he further added, “I always thought one day I would come back and look to change things so no one else has to experience that. That’s why I came back to India.”
According to Ashley, India’s international dance scene is at a very starting stage. It’s in a euphoric stage of growth. “The real growth will happen when real information is being promoted. With all the reality shows, dancing in India is being seen as a possible vocation and is gaining popularity. That is good. But there is also a lot of ignorance and misinformation and that gets propelled by reality shows too and that slows down its real growth, so that is negative,” he shares.