Marina Hall in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh was packed to the rafters on Friday evening as Arpan, a leading socio-cultural organization in Kuwait, celebrated their 17th Annual Day with a stage show that showcased dances from all over India. The evening's highlight was an electrifying performance by Delhi-based dance troupe ‘MJ5’.
Dubbed India's Moonwalk Magicians, the 5-member, all-male MJ5 troupe came to prominence in 2013 when they won the inaugural season of India's Dancing Superstar, a dance reality show on the Star Plus television channel.
Since then the group has been holding stage performances in cities across India and the globe enthralling audiences everywhere with their creativity, unique style and innovative dance moves.
"MJ5 was formed when we were in college. Although it has just been four years, our passion for dance existed long before. We met during our college cultural activities and this led to the formation of a strong bond which finally gave birth to MJ5,” said Karthik Ramaiah, one of the team members, in an exclusive interview with The Times Kuwait, on the sidelines of the show.
Kartik along with Alexander Dannis Antony, Himanshu Gola, Vishnu Kumar and Rohit Singh are the famous five that make up MJ5. Speaking about their big win in India’s Dancing Superstar, the group admitted that their win was totally unexpected and they were overjoyed with the recognition. Their life has not been the same ever since, with busy dance schedules all over the world. Besides performing in India, they have had stage shows in the UAE, Muscat, New Zealand, Thailand and China among others.
Inspired by the legendary Michael Jackson, MJ5 are known for their animation dance style. “We love his style and try to incorporate some of his moves in our dance," says Karthik.
In response to how relevant their rendering of Michael Jackson's dances were to young audiences today, Karthik said, “Michael Jackson was a legend and the art he created in the form of music and dance will always be alive. I doubt if there is any dancer who does not consider him an idol. We have watched MJ’s dance style so many times on screen and practiced his every move so often that it now comes to us quite naturally. But our dance is not just an imitation of MJ, we have added our own improvisations and blended in our unique styles.”
While many dance troupes claim that they adhere to a strict dance practice schedule, MJ5 appears to be more relaxed on that score. “We practice based on upcoming shows; sometimes it might be just for two hours, or it could go on all night, depending on how long it took us to get it perfect,” revealed Karthik.
Speaking about their future plans, he said that they were planning on starting their own MJ5 Dance Academy in Mumbai next year where they plan on training aspiring young dancers.
Asked what advice he would give to young people looking to take up dancing, Karthik said, “Watch and learn from your favorite dancers, but do not blindly copy their style. Once you have the basics right, start incorporating your own style and rhythm to it.”
He went on to note that Star Plus and other television channels were really doing a great job in promoting the growth of young artistic talent in India. “A few years back, when reality dance shows were not very popular, aspiring dancers did not have a chance to prove their capabilities. But today there are many channels holding such shows and this helps to boost young talent in the country.”
Karthik concluded by congratulating Arpan Kuwait on their 17th Annual Day and added, “Indian socio-cultural organization such as Arpan, play a big role in supporting and encouraging the talent of youngsters abroad and this is really great. I would also like to thank them for hosting us and giving us the opportunity to perform before a great audience in Kuwait. We look forward to coming back here.”