November 3, 2016
There would have been a time in everyone’s life, where one has imagined themselves in Hrithik Roshan's flimsy t-shirt, bulging biceps, tight abs, dancing to the tunes of "Ek Pal ka Jeena". Well, I had. Looking at him groove and move would transport me to another world, where nothing but dancing mattered. I still do imagine myself as a great dancer, being fully aware of the fact that my dancing skills are no better than Sunny Deol's. That is the power of the dancing and good dancers. Good dancers have the ability to mesmerize the audience with their fluid movements and make you wish you were in their shoes. Well, on my recent to visit to one of the functions in Mangaluru, I met one such dancer - Leonel Sequeira.
As soon as he finished his performance, which had the guests want more of his fluid moves, I had a chat with him to dig in deeper into his talent. I realized then that he and two of his friends - Nicky Pinto and Gavin Rodrigues are a part of the dancing trio NOSTALGIA, which had recently been a part of the national prime time hit show DANCE PLUS season 2. Well, I always believed there is a goldmine of talent in Mangaluru and the vicinity, waiting to burst into the mainstream Bollywood. There is Vocal Rush, an all girls band who are making waves of their own, there is Esther Noronha, the lass who is creating ripples in the film industry, K L Rahul, touted by many to replace the next Great Wall of Indian batting, Karen D’Mello, an up-and-coming theatre director from Katha Siyah and the band Rhapsody Out Loud which carved a niche at India's Got Talent. There would be many more youngsters who don't get enough media exposure, which I believe is an important motivating factor in the development of talent. Anyway, I am glad to have a conversation with these three guys who are surely going to make it big in near future.
Here are the excerpts from my conversation with them:
Q: First of all, Congratulation on being at the show DANCE PLUS season 2. You must be really proud of yourselves?
Leonel: Yeah. We had our auditions at Bengaluru and from there we were selected to perform at Mumbai. We may have lost this year, but we are determined to make it to the TV finals next year.
Q: Why the name Nostalgia? You guys don't seem to be so old to have nostalgic moments.
Gavin: Actually our friendship dates back to our pre-university days. Currently I am in third year BHM, Leonel in final BCom and Nicky is our junior - 2nd year BCom (laughs). Back then, we used to compete in various dance competitions and win most of them. We did not have a name then. Gradually, we became more confident and began doing shows for events. But when we got to know about the Dance Plus show, we had to christen our group. We tried our initials and the names weren't great. Finally Leonel came up with the name NOSTALGIA. Nostalgia for us means the three of us Leonel, myself and Nicky to be a part of our audiences’ nostalgic moments. Our dance should bring some delightful memories of their past and that is how we want ourselves to be remembered.
Q: That's is something different. What's Nostalgia's speciality?
Nostalgia: We specialize in new style HIP HOP.
Q: Is that different from others?
Nostalgia: This is a new style with its roots in the traditional Hip Hop. But in this new style the dancer makes a step look really cool and classy. Expressions play an important role wherein the dancer displays the cool character or swag.
Q: Wow. Tell me how did you end up at Dance Plus?
Nicky: We had actually thought that the Dance Plus auditions were over, but two days before the actual auditions one of our dance instructors told us that the auditions will happen in a couple of days at Bengaluru. We were elated and were also dreaming about working with Remo sir. We practiced a few steps and worked late into the night and the next night set out to Bengaluru. We reached the audition centre at 10 to 7 in the morning. Everything was in a jiffy from there. We were asked to dress and a few minutes later asked to perform. The production team liked our performance and asked us to wait. We were really nervous. They called all the contestants to the gate and our happiness knew no bounds when they called out Nostalgia. We were selected for the third round to be held at Mumbai. We returned to Mangaluru. That dream of working with Remo sir was a step closer now.
Gavin continued: We did not have much time and had to work our backs off to do well in Mumbai. We used to practice at each other's homes. We went to Mumbai better prepared. Auditions this time was in front of 15 production members and they really liked our moves. They interviewed us and told us that they would get back to us in a couple of days. We returned to Mangaluru. The call did not arrive for 4 days. Those were the longest days of my life. Finally on the 4th day, we received a call and we were selected for the 4th round and had to go to Mumbai immediately.
Q: Wow. That was an eventful journey.
Leonel: It is just getting interesting. Ha Ha. ( Nicky and Gavin too had a hearty laugh and I was more curious than ever). Well, this time we were given pleasant rooms to stay, but 2 days before the 4 th round, we ran into copyright issues with one of our songs and were asked to change.. We had worked very hard with this particular song and now in a span of two days had to select another song, choreograph and then perform. The problem was the room we were in, was a shared accommodation with two other people and we were not able to practice. Nickys kind hearted relatives arranged for a hall and also allowed us to stay there. We managed to choreograph and also practiced. The 4th round was held at Filmistan studios and we were very excited and nervous. We were in Shakti's team and had to perform in front of her and the production team. We performed, but unfortunately did not get selected to the TV round.
Q: No worries. You can always try again.
Nostalgia: Yeah. Next year, we will make it to the finals.
Q: That is the spirit. Any rituals you have before your performance?
Nicky: Yeah. Gavin usually leads us in a small prayer before we perform. That has kept us strong and also helped us become more closer.
Q: I was always wondering why are there no girls in your group. (Everyone laughs)
Leonel: Well, as Nicky said, the bond is strong enough and we weren't that fortunate to attract girls into the group.
Q: What are your future plans?
Nostalgia: Well first, we need to make it to the finals of Dance Plus next year and win it. In the meantime, study and do well in academics as well. We don't have a farfetched plan right now. Well in the short term we want to balance our dancing and studies.
Q: Will you still continue doing shows?
Nostalgia: Of course.
Q: Are your parents supportive? Usually I have seen parents force their children into professional course and give more emphasize on them securing a salaried job. They allow their kids to shine till college and then suddenly put brakes into their desires and talents.
Nostalgia: True. But our parents are extremely supportive. How did you think we managed to go to Dance Plus in such a short notice? We are grateful to them and are sure to make them proud one day.
Q: There are people who have made it big in this industry. Dance academies are also doing well. Do you guys have any plans for such an academy here in Mangaluru.
Nostalgia: Currently we do summer camps and also teach. We haven't thought about it right now. But yes definitely, we would want to convert our our passion for dancing into a career.
Q: Passion into a career. Well said. No job can be as rewarding if one makes a career out of his/her interest/passion. Well, guys, it was a pleasure speaking to you all. I wish you all the best and Hope you guys make Mangaluru proud next year. I wish you all the best.
Before I left, Nostalgia performed a small dance and also taught me a couple of their signature steps, which are eluding me and I taught them my signature "LIGHT BULB" step, which i hope will catch the attention of Dance Plus next year.
Professional dancing is a tough task and I wish NOSTALGIA only the best for the future.
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