Dance duo takes skill one step up among Dhar­avi kids

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Sang­hami­tra Sengupta sang­hami­tra.sengupta@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Two brothers have joined hands to help chil­dren of Dhar­avi match steps.

Since the age of six Rahul Cha­van, now 24, has thought of noth­ing but dance. His brother Vi­nayak, 18, is no dif­fer­ent.

To­gether, they have formed Sky Run­ners, an academy t hrough which t hey t each dance to around 40 un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren from the slums of Dhar­avi for the past three years.

“We started with four ran­dom chil­dren when we went to the area for some work one fine day. The chil­dren loved it and so did we. What be­gan as a fun ac­tiv­ity has now be­come our pas­sion,” said Rahul.

An av i d da n c e r, Ra h u l is an em p l o ye e wi t h the me­chan­i­cal depart­ment of the Bri­han­mum­bai Elec­tric Sup­ply and Trans­port ( BEST) and works in night shifts.

De­ter­mined to make it big in the world of dance, he prac­tises af­ter re­turn­ing from work and dur­ing the week­ends.

Vi n aya k , wh o has just ap­peared for his HSC ex­ams, too, shares a keen in­ter­est in shak­ing a leg.

Af­ter mov­ing to Nerul two years back, the brothers got the op­por­tu­nity to tu­tor dance pro­fes­sion­ally at a stu­dio in Vashi.

Re­call­ing the past, Rahul said his jour­ney from a slum boy to a pro­fes­sional dancer was not a cake­walk.

“We never got a for­mal train­ing in dance and have learned only through ob­ser­va­tion and in­stinct. It was only dur­ing my col­lege that I got to be part of a group where eight of us par­tic­i­pated and taught our styles to each other,” said Rahul.

De­spite their hec­tic sched­ule, they make sure to head to Dhar­avi thrice a week for the classes.

Rahul said con­vinc­ing the par­ents to send their chil­dren to learn dance has been dif­fi­cult since most of them dis­ap­prove of it think­ing they have to shell out money.

“Since we be­long to a low­er­mid­dle class fam­ily, we know it is not pos­si­ble to pur­sue one’s hobby with­out guid­ance and money,” he said.

“Hence, we teach th­ese kids for free. That’s when they started al­low­ing their kids to come. Some par­ents still dis­ap­prove of it but their chil­dren love to dance and of­ten sneak into the classes with­out telling their par­ent,” added Rahul.

The sib­lings, how­ever, as­serted they do not have a proper place to teach the chil­dren and so they are teach­ing the kids in an open ground nearby.

“The chil­dren do not even have dance shoes but come to the class with­out fail. We hope to get some ba­sic sup­port, which would con­trib­ute to our ef­forts in some way,” said Vi­nayak.

We started with four ran­dom chil­dren when we went to the area for some work one fine day. The chil­dren loved it and so did we. What be­gan as a fun ac­tiv­ity has now be­come our pas­sion.

RAHUL CHA­VAN, 24

BACHCHAN KU­MAR

Rahul and Vi­nayak Cha­van, res­i­dents of Nerul, formed Sky Run­ners, an academy through which they teach dance to un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren of Dhar­avi.

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