Cinematic and contemporary dance-by Rohan Raj

Rohan Raj is a senior dancer with the Nritarutya. Hailing from the background of cinematic dance, Rohan is here with his journey to contemporary dance.

Hi, through my introduction, you guys know I am Rohan Raj, my people generally call me “Ro”. I am going to share a very special bit of my life with all of you today.

It all happened while I was walking. I was alone one day, had been to a movie then, and felt like a walk later. Walking through the roads of Bangalore, I reached a corner that opened doors to my past. Suddenly, an image interrupted my thoughts and thus my legs stopped moving. I could hear the good old laughter and a loud conversation.

I watched the conversation of past happen as if it were happening in real time. I could see all my old friends in this good old ‘Adda’. I called my friends and spoke to them for some time. Loneliness started playing its games with me, and I started thinking, analysing and comparing my life with that of my friends.
To myself, I said – ‘Ro, all your friends are working in big companies. What about you? What are you doing with yourself? Still dancing eh? Why can’t you join a big company and settle down with something?” I felt very bad about the feelings that occurred inside me and I started asking myself if I were in the wrong place, with the wrong job…
My feelings were mixed, all jumbled and there was a lot of happening in my head.
I had told my friends that I’d take up dance as a profession six years ago. Some had encouraged me; some had said, “No it is just not worth it, haven’t you’ve been doing the same thing for the last 8 years? Aren’t you bored?”
I wasn’t able to fathom my feelings towards dance, which probably was the best possible thing to have happened to me. I felt the need to revisit myself in the past and inspect things over again.

I had belonged to the genre of cinematic dance, having choreographed for the films, and other night shows, it did feel great to be in the lime light, I had had my share of fun, experience and entertainment, but yet I had felt stagnation seep in. Contemporary training and technique have been my answers and cure.
Cinematic and contemporary are related since they come under wider streams of dance, both draw from other dance forms and have niches carved for themselves, but like it is true, that no two movement arts are similar, my mind started analysing what each form contained. Comparing both I found these points.

Coaching and classes:
If anyone were to learn cinematic dance, every locality in Bangalore could have at least one class, while contemporary dance throughout India, would hardly have 200 major classes with 30 established companies. So the ratio is indeed quite comparable.


Training to be a professional:
Cinematic dance, one needs to attend classes, and undergo further training with well known choreographers. Then through auditions one gets into the movies for dancing, where outstanding performers are selected, these selections happen once in two years, and once one gets through the selection, one is required to shell out a million ( around a lakh in Indian rupees) to be a part of that association. It is a set pattern.
While learning and training in contemporary dance is not everyone’s cup of tea. The training involves sincere dedication and perseverance. One needs to be a maverick in one or more forms which complement ones’ style. So a movement background and training in certain contemporary techniques for a good number of years is essential before one actually starts performing on a mainstream level and every level involves a documented technique. Moreover, Indian contemporary dance beautifully blends into itself the rich culture of Indian dancing. Since every contemporary dance company takes its movement inspirations through several classical forms, every company has a unique style calling upon itself.

Being taught Bharatnatyam by Minal Akka
Being taught Bharatnatyam by Minal Akka

Music for the productions:
A cinematic production is quite monochromatic, for you are expected to dance and choreograph to a piece of music that has already been made and produced.
While the choreographer here, does have the liberty to be able to decide the music, that will parallel the performance, enhance the movements, set the right mood, add meaning and hold the definition of the piece.
Niche Profession:
Lights, Camera, Action are the starting and unending parts of Cinema and its choreography.
Working with an Indian contemporary dance company is so different an experience. Home productions, festivals, corporate comprise of the performing part. Classes and workshops make the teaching part of Contemporary dance. Research and administrative work is the part that helps build knowledge and strengthen theories of dance. Learning is never ending a process here.

At London
At London

A dance like contemporary has become a part of my life; it helps me explore my passion further. With training, I have become smarter with space, started pushing my limits, more creative and indeed testing of my spirit. If this is true, then it’s true that I am really lucky to be a where I am today. Nritarutya is a central part of my life and as a part of Nritarutya, I find opportunities to grow by teaching, learning, performing, researching and travelling across the world. All this while old habits die hard; I also take up a fun class with Nritarutya’s dancers’ sometimes as a fun thing.
Over the time I have become more patient and filled with ability to support myself and look at more possibilities to create meaning out of ideas. What I have gotten out of the both worlds of dance is invaluable. In my spirit and life I breathe dance and I can honestly believe and say, “Dance is my entire life.”


  • Geetha

    11th October 2009 at 10:44 pm Reply

    Hey ro… Heart touching excerpt!! Would love to see more coming from your end… All the best…

  • Madhuri

    12th October 2009 at 5:15 am Reply

    Hey Ro, nicely written. I liked the way you have covered all aspects of your career in simple words. Congrats.

  • Ajay Rao Y

    13th October 2009 at 8:27 am Reply

    Ro!!!!!!! I’m really impressed the way u have portrayed Ur self. I pray that u guys have a great success ahead in Ur life. All the very best.

  • Aditya Kavoor

    13th October 2009 at 9:28 pm Reply

    Amazing writeup Rohan. This story would definitely inspire many youngsters who would like to takeup dance as their career.

    Indeed dance is your life. Rock On 🙂

  • Sher Khan

    13th October 2009 at 10:24 pm Reply

    nice one rohan…, ive had the pleasure to dance with you in rehearsals and shows and i must say it is a lot of fun… all the best:-)

  • Rachna

    13th October 2009 at 11:41 pm Reply

    hiee Rohan,
    Very nice article..good to knw, Dance is ur ultimate thing.. everybody wd hv faced confusions in terms of der careers, but once d confusion is sorted out n u knw wat u wanna be in life.. dats like super good news… n so happy for u dat ur pursuin ur passion.. Best of luck wid dat… :):) Hope u go a long way, in the path u have chosen for life.. wish you all the success.. 🙂

  • Raghu Dixit

    15th October 2009 at 9:48 am Reply

    Very sincere and touching! Good one Rohan. God bless…chindi chitranna.

  • Chethan

    17th October 2009 at 1:49 pm Reply

    hello rohan… nice blog.. keep it up an all the best..

  • krishna

    20th October 2009 at 6:49 am Reply

    Mastre, I sow your profile da, its Nice jurney da, First i want to say “NRITARUTYA” is a beutiful name. I know very well your company and company people, your dance is different to filmi dance you & your company people are very hard worker why i am say these means you pople know Filmi Dance, Barathnatya, Westren, Kathak, Salsa, Yoga, Gymnastic, Expression, Drama, Kalaripattu,
    stick skills oooops i am tired da, its AMAZING.
    I am happy you are part of this team da, I wish all the best u & ur team will become No.1 position in India.

    All the Best da, urs KRISH

  • devi

    24th October 2009 at 8:47 am Reply

    very nice 🙂 kinda emotional! 🙂

  • Medini

    25th October 2009 at 7:16 pm Reply

    Your Passion for dance is expressed very well Rohan . Very Happy to know that u went after what u believed in ur heart is true …rest of the world always exists , but u made a difference in ur life with DANCE …congrats .
    Loved ur Blog …makes us think too 🙂
    Cheers !!!

  • Ranjan Mullaratt

    26th October 2009 at 1:19 am Reply

    It is nice to know that you are happy where you are now! I am sure your experience would help the upcoming artists. Wish you all the Best Rohan…..

  • Renuka

    8th November 2009 at 8:54 pm Reply

    Hey Rohan,
    Really amazing one.. Having known you for the past 1 1/2 years, I never imagined that such an inspiring and success story is behind you. You have expressed all the aspects very neatly.Being a dance lover, I would be eager to read and praise anything and everything related to dance..:)Expecting to hear more from your end…
    Best Of luck!!!

  • Renuka Kiran

    8th November 2009 at 10:14 pm Reply

    Hey Rohan..

    Really amazing man.. Having known you for more than a year, i never imagined that such an inspiring success story is behind you… your words are so expressive and motivating anyone who is interested to choose the dance as career..being a great dance lover, I would be eager to read anything and everything about Dance.. Hoping to hear much more from your end..:)

    Have a Great career Ahead..Best Of Luck!!

  • kirthi

    13th November 2009 at 10:50 pm Reply

    realli nyce:)gettin to knw ur experience inspires me more to take up dance as ma profession:)

  • Keerthana Sharath

    25th November 2009 at 9:45 pm Reply

    Rohan,you are a great example of how one should follow what heart says! The best part about you is the passion and perseverance you have towards dance,be it any form.Many of your friends might be in big companies,but am not sure how many of them are satisfied with what they are doing,unlike you!Your journey will surely inspire many youngsters 🙂

  • Pradeep

    9th December 2009 at 7:52 am Reply

    hi this is pradeep ………..rohan is one of ma close fnd.
    i would lik to share few words abt him.
    he is one of gud classical dancer. Actually b4 joining nrutaritya , he was a western dancer, he is perfomrmed in various tv shows.
    last thing is he is very stylish, always he lik to do something different than others.
    i hope u hav gud future in this field, may all ur wishes come true.bye

  • The Town Hall gig « Aditya Kavoor’s Blog

    9th December 2009 at 1:29 pm Reply

    […] a gem of a person at heart, Rohan’s success story has been a long one which you can read it here. And so here is my second dance in Ananda Balaga in two years […]

  • Arun Murthy

    15th December 2009 at 5:41 am Reply

    its good filled with truth and experience and also has a sence of seriousness of life and analatical view of both contemprery and cinimatic dance.keep up ur good work and go ahead

  • Lakshmi das

    18th December 2009 at 4:03 am Reply

    Hi Rohan, at last got to read your blog :-)Thumbane chennagide.. enu helbekunta gottagta illa. Really!!! Nicely said about the contemprery and the cinematic dance. Truly there has to be lots of love,dedication and lots n lots of hard work. And of course You have all .Good work Ro and wish you all the very best.

  • Priya

    5th January 2010 at 4:38 am Reply

    Hi……… RohanRaj…….
    my friend as send me the link to read…….
    I felt like am reading some film story in some website.
    But it’s your article about contemporary and cinematic dance and your life.
    Am very happy to read your blog, after long time, nicely written this article is touched my heart.
    Now I got know “Ro” means “Rock Stare”
    I know every time you follow what your heart says………….
    But in this story your saying “Dance is my entire life.” Is that true………….?
    Then what about you’re “Top 10” goals and your entire life Dreams………???
    I know you hate to remember me… But still……..
    I hope you planning for that also right………….????

  • Get Backlinks

    17th January 2011 at 12:51 pm Reply

    Blog is good!:) Perhaps you learn me blog myself??

  • Rahul MohanChandran

    11th September 2013 at 5:01 am Reply

    Dear Sir,

    I wish to Join your troop. I wish to meet you in person. Kindly grant me a date for personal interview where we could discuss and decide whether we can join hands together.

    Warm regards,

    Rahul Menon
    Mobile :9036332791

    • Mayuri

      13th September 2013 at 3:46 pm Reply

      for auditions to join the company write to She’ll book a slot for you. If you are selected in the audition then we can discuss further.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *