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Culture is being redefined today, says Terence Lewis

(Photo: terence_here/Instagram)

The ace dancer talks about culture, young artistes and why art makes you appreciate the finer things in life

By Siddhi Jain

March 24, 2020 (IANSlife) Tagging today’s children as ‘global culture’ and the ‘internet generation’, one of India’s leading choreographers and dancers, Terence Lewis, says culture today is not just restricted to geographical boundaries; it is being redefined.

“Today’s kids are born into the internet generation already. They are exposed to a lot more than children a decade ago were exposed to. This has really changed the way children/young adults are looking at talent and art. They are exposed to a phenomenal culture.

“Earlier it was only certain platforms or newspapers, or television could give you access to the world outside. Today, anybody in any remote corner can influence the world by just uploading something on certain sites. This has really opened up a lot of awareness amongst students and therefore it has impacted their understanding of the arts and culture. Seeing is believing, so it is not about hearing from your teachers who is great and about the legends. Everybody knows who they are, what they are, they can see it and therefore they can evaluate for themselves. So, there is less of imagination or taking somebody’s word, but you are being your own authority on what you think is good or not good,” Lewis told IANSlife.

Asked if he agrees that modern forms of dance are gaining feet in India, he answers in the affirmative.

“It is a generation where culture is now completely being redefined. We are beyond the geographical boundaries. We are the internet generation and the other cultures are directly influencing and impacting us. We are directly watching what other people are doing. As much as you know, we are importing other cultures, other cultures are importing ours.”

Along with more cultural greats, the choreographer and dance guru is associated with Young Artiste 2020, a nationwide talent hunt for young artistes.

“Everybody assumes that if you have taken up some kind of art or activity has to become your future/ career or becomes your means of livelihood.” This thought needs to get out, he emphasised.

“You do not practice arts or culture looking at it as a means of livelihood. Yes, some of us have made livelihoods out of it and we are very lucky and fortunate but that was not the ultimate goal or dream. The idea was just to enjoy the crafts and arts and develop a sense of subtlety, a sense of fineness ...I'm happy that people have realised the power of art and culture and how it makes the society much more alive, rich and human. We don’t want to be robots because then what is the point of being a human being.”

About Young Artiste, Lewis said that the show will allow people “who are probably shy about being on television and who feel like TV is not yet for them” to come on board, sign up on the internet and find nurturing and mentoring by the leading exponents of contemporary and classical arts.

 


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Siddhi Jain can be contacted at siddhi.j@ians.in