Interview: Dancer Mokshda Jailkhani talks about the growing urban dance scene in India
Mokshada Jailkhani is known for her crazy moves on stage. The Srinagar-born was always passionate about dance and believes it is a simple way to express your feelings by syncing your self to music. The 25-year-old has been touring around the country to share all that she is as a dancer by a series of workshops called Untamed India Tour. The dancer is one of the ambassadors of Budweiser's Be A King Movement.
Your point of contact with fans is through social media, which can be a festering ground for hate. How does a “King” in your case deal with that and stay positive?
Earlier, I felt like I owe an explanation to everyone since I’m some sort of a mini public figure. But lately, I’ve thankfully realised that despite being wherever I am professional, I am also a person like anyone else. I have the right to my choices, my decisions, my body and how much I want to make myself available socially for someone. This realization has given me the sense to only indulge a fan when I know they genuinely mean what they say and the comment or message is coming from a good, positive place. Otherwise, all you need to know is that you own your life. Someone’s hate is their problem, not yours.
How is the stage compared to the street for you?
I’ve always been a stage person, to be honest. I’ve seen some street battles and have a lot of friends and teachers who belong to the underground scene. I feel more free, strong and safe at the same time when I’m on stage. I’m not a very competitive person, so the street is something I don’t see myself competing at. But being an audience and screaming my lungs out for those competing? Hell yes!
In what ways has your struggle made you a better dancer? And how does Budweiser's campaign contribute to it?
Any kind of struggle, whether it was hate for weight gain despite it being hormonal, whether it is for making certain choices people don’t approve of, or simply not being as good as I want to on a certain day, all these have one solution. Waking up each day and knowing that I am the only one who’s in charge of me and I am the only one who can make me the best version of me. And working on it while being yourself. And not because someone wants you to be a certain way, but because you matter to you!
How do you think urban dance as a form doing in India?
Amazing. Lately with some awesome teachers spreading this fresh culture through dance camps, classes etc. And exposure to YouTube etc., urban is finding the right expression, reaching the right dancers and making it huge. We are adding our own Indian twists to urban and making it our own. A recent win by the amazing ‘The Kings’ team at the world of dance is proof of this and I’m so happy! Now I see it as my job to keep India no.1 on the dance map!
What advice would you give to budding performers starting off their journey with dance?
1. Practice, but don’t torture yourself
3. Respect each and everyone as you want to be respected yourself
4. Dance to live a life during those moments, not to show off