Across the clutter of reality shows currently on Indian Television, Terence Lewis remains one of the most renowned and recognized judges of any show. If clothes are a reflection of one’s personality, Terence surely takes the cake for his creativity. Currently judging the third season of India’s most popular dance show, Dance India Dance Season 3, Master Terence Lewis has come a long way in his career. Today, he is almost synonymous with the term – Contemporary Dance. He is internationally trained and specializes in contemporary and neo-classical dance forms. Apart from being a celebrity choreographer in a number of films and musicals, he also has many international stage shows, Broadway Westend musicals, several popular music videos and advertisements to his credit. He is the first Indian to receive the prestigious Dance WEB Scholarship, representing India in Vienna, Austria. Terence represented Asia at the International Choreographers’ Meet at the TANZ platform, Stuttgart, Germany and also taught Bollywood and Indian contemporary dance at the Impulstanz Festival at Vienna, Austria.
Q. So how does it feel to be back on DID season 3?
It’s great to return on Dance India Dance with Remo and Geeta. We three, along with the creative minds from Zee TV and the production house (FRAMES Production Company) make a great team together. And the output of our effort is out there for everybody to see. Since the time DID Season 3 was offered to me. I have been involved with it completely because I consider DID as my show and no show compares to it in terms of talent! Yes, I have been working since the last 16 years, but it is the last three years of being a part of DID that has brought me into the limelight. But at the same time, I cannot call it my success, because success for me lies in the smallest things that I do. But yes, DID has indeed given me fame and recognition beyond my wildest dreams.
Q. Shakti from Terence Ki Toli was the winner of DID Season 2. Do you think history will repeat itself?
Ans. I have hundred percent faith in my Toli. Each one of them have the potential to win the Sunehri Taqdeer Ki Topi. Pradeep Gurung from Guwahati is a powerhouse of energy and can master any form of dance in record time. Varun has his basics right and is extremely hardworking. Sneha G is a surprise package, usually quiet but a bombshell on stage. Piyali is a combination of good looks and talent, making her a deadly opponent for any dancer. Every dancer in Terence Ki Toli is special their own way and I am sure they will make me proud. And now I’m extremely hopeful that Raghav- the Crockroaz will make an entry into the show through Wild Card. Then there’s Neerav Bavlecha, my assistant, who Mithun Da had kept as a stand by contestant. If these two contestant make a comeback, we’ll be the strongest team and I can assure you, there’s nothing that can stop Terence ki Toli from winning!
Q. A lot of your students are today choreographers on different shows… How do you feel?
Ans. I feel so proud when I see my students exploring different avenues beyond a defined confine. I have been influenced by many teachers who have taught me not to focus on money or fame and this is what I tell my students too. Shakti is the only student/ contestant who has kept in touch with me and promises to explore more within the confines of dance. She has the looks and the grace which makes her a world class performer. She was a part of a dance fiction show, which she recently quit to pursue further studies in dance abroad.
Q. Do you think people today want to learn everything quickly to achieve fame?
Ans. The only grudge against the kids that come to learn from me is that they do not love dance. They are here for the fame. If a film comes in their way, they will leave dance. Dance is not their focus and that is what hurts me the most. Today even parents have really become smart in this case. And kids want to learn everything quickly. People want to reach the finishing line but they do not want to go through the process.
Q. What is your dance philosophy?
Ans – One of my students said that the way I dance…it’s only the dance that remains and the dancer is not around. It’s the Japanese equivalent of Satori, where you become one. That’s how I look at dance. It’s a very amazing tool to connect with people. It’s so powerful that, without words, you can have an exchange. It uplifts my spirit and connects me to my higher self. Having a classical dance background, it is important to give a ‘modern twist’ to help generate interest among people in reviving classical dance forms. If people go beyond the classical dance, keeping its purity intact, and give it a new twist, it connects well with the audience and youth.
Q. How do you judge the contestants?
Ans. This is a dance show, not a masala potboiler where emotions play a critical role. It is really irritating when people show their weak side, etc. Everybody has their own troubles but that should never be used as a means to get into a competition. I am human and feel sorry for their condition but I am here to judge their dancing skills and not their emotional quotient. Hence, if I feel that a contestant’s dancing is not upto the mark, I have no qualms in calling a spade a spade. My judgment is solely based on technique, skill and justice to choreography.
Q. Are there any Bollywood projects that you are concentrating on?
Ans. Honestly, after doing the first two seasons of DID, I got many offers from big directors but I did not do anything eventually. I don’t do films. In fact, I don’t enjoy doing films. I don’t want to teach an artist one… two… three… on the spot and make him look like ‘wow’ with the help of camera angles and great costumes. I really love dance and I want to see good dancing. So, if tomorrow somebody comes and tells me, like the olden days, you have to set long shots and make an artist dance with no cuts, no glitz and if it is someone like Hrithik Roshan, Madhuri Dixit or Aishwarya Rai, I will do it.
Q, How has your life changed after DID?
Ans. After ‘Dance India Dance, the level has become so high that whenever I see artists dancing on the sets I feel ‘anybody can do this’. I ask myself, am I doing this for money? I have to run my house? No!!! I already have a company, I already have a business, I am working very well, I don’t need to do this for money. I’m doing this just for the love of dance. I want to see good dance, I want to teach good choreography and I want to popularize dance as an art form and I think we have managed that beautifully through Dance India Dance. The DID journey so far has been one In cherish the most!