In recent years, afrodancing has grown in popularity not just in Africa but also in other parts of the world, such as India. Many people are still inexperienced with the Afro dance’s origin in India and its growth over the years; however, we are going to dive deeply into the history of the Afro dance in India as well as its cultural evolution in this article.
What is Afro dance?
The Indian Origins of Afro dance
Who Started Afro Dance in India?
lets understand about these people in details :-
Afrontal -South india
Maryan Vincent, from chennai, has travelled to countries like UK, Kenya, Uganda and Japan to learn and train in the dance forms. Nivitha Krishna started her journey learning in Bangalore, and also trained at Urban Dance camp in Germany. Divya Easwaran has been a pioneer in the undergound dance scene in India with knowledge in other forms like Hip Hop, Waacking, Dancehall and House aside from her expertise which is afro. Alisha Ajit began as a ballet dancer and eventually found her love for afro dances, and also trained at the Afreeka Best Dance camp and Mad Vibe Dance camp in Europe with artists like Homebros UK and Petit Afro.
Afrontal has also been in the headlines of many newspaper articles and social media features. They have hosted 3 big events for the purpose of community building in India, by bringing down international artists like Blacka Di Danca (USA) who is a renowned dancehall artist as well as Moto Dancers (Dubai). They also hosted the first afro dance event in India named Lets Kutu Sa with Homebros (UK) where many students from across the country came to Bangalore to learn together. This crew played a huge role in building the afro and dancehall scene in India from the beginning, and will always be in the hearts and minds of people with a lot of love and respect.
Divya Jenifer – South India
Divya Jenifer, afro and dancehall Dancer and Teacher based in Chennai from BFAB Dance Crew. She started her career in dance professionally in 2012 under the guidance of RAVI VARMA. As she couldn’t be a part of the competing team due to personal issues, He introduced Dancehall to Divya and asked her to focus on this style.
In 2016, I attended Bailamos Underground where Divya met Saher Takhlimi who is her first Dancehall teacher.
Initially Divya took a few classes from Maryann and Divya’s and kept training.
In 2018, Divya travelled to Finland, where she met and trained with Septzilla (Afro House Dancer ) and Cori D Lionne (she introduced her to Coupe Decale & Bikutsi). Divya also gained knowledge in Kuduro from Manuel Kanza through online classes.
Divya and Adhish started building a community in Chennai called Afrojunks in 2017.Due to pregnancy and delivery Divya had to take a break from 2018-2020. Divya have also taught an Afro workshop in New Zealand.
and the main thing is she was an Afro choreographer in DANCE VS DANCE season-2 (Tamil Reality Show). Alisha and Navalarasan were her contestants and they went on till semi-finals. Divya and her Crew taken part in lot of battles and Competitions representing Chennai afro scene. Right now Divya focusing in building an Afro crew in Chennai.
Jatin Jok Mehta – West India
Jatin Jok Mehta is the First Indian solo boy who start Doing Afro dance in early 2016, He based in Surat in Gujarat state. he belongs to a Brahmin family where Satsang is sung everyday. Jatin comes to know dance later, but he had a fascination with song since childhood. his Grand Parent (mom’s father) is a Bhajanist his Uncle (mom’s brother) and his mother is also a Bhajanist. so Jatin was first attracted to the afro music.
Lets Know Him in Detail :-
Before Jatin Jok Mehta started dancing Afro, he used to do open style and his main dance style was hip hop. followed Melvin TimTim most in hip hop dance and tried to dance like him, While Jatin used to watch Melvin’s dance videos all day in Youtube and Facebook because no one used Instagram so much at that time .
Then one day Melvin Tim Tim posted a video on Facebook on the 26th of January 2016 , in the video there were young African boys dancing wearing tattered shorts and the area was like a slum But seeing the dance steps of that folk and the song played in the dance, he stopped himself for a moment Jatin did not understand what kind of thing this is, what kind of dance is this, what kind of song is this , he started to enjoy seeing this and he opened this video in YouTube and saw that these Kiddos ,then he saw the name of the group of those kids and it was Triplets Ghetto Kids who are famous all over the world today. And since then Jatin found his happiness in this dance style and African song.
From this day onwards, He started finding the ghetto Kids and other Afro Dancers and Choreographers on YouTube and he copied and practiced the steps of all the Afro Dancers from YouTube. Then after one or two, he contacted all the Afro dancers on Instagram and He used to send his videos to these people and ask them that there is a any problem in his dance, what next to do, the name of steps, Where did this style come from, by doing that he took the knowledge of basic theory and started putting it into practice.
Then with time, Afro dancers came to India from abroad to teach Afro dance, Jatin joined their classes. First, he joined the class of Moto Dancers (Dubai), after learning a lot from them, Helen Okoroji came from Nigeria after learning a lot from her, then Yoofi greene came to India from all the way from China but his main place of residence is Ghana . Jatin stayed in Mumbai for four days with Yoofi and did a lot of training. Then again Moto dancers came, And finally Homebros came to India and Jatin also went to them for training. Along with all this training, learning continued through YouTube and if he did not understand a single thing, He would take the help of all these dancers and ask everything and get the right answer. Sometimes it happens that after all the dancers give different answers, he will collate all the answers and get an answer that is satisfactory to him.
As mentioned above, jatin continued his learning and accepted the challenge of a new song every day, during this time the Kupe song came out by A star in 2018 and all the Afro dancers of the world were dancing to this song and posting it on Instagram, so what did jatin think? The video was made in such a way that the feeling of the village comes over the song and then this video went viral. That day was a memorable day for Indian Afro-Culture. All the people of African started putting it in the repost and story on the main page of Afrodance like World of Africa TV , Nwe , A Star , Chopdaily , world afro dance, Africa tv, King Tunde ednut, all these people made this video very viral with a big caption and from this day Jatin got to know people from India and outside the country.
Then He started thinking in this new way and the Afro dancers of the world started appreciating him.
After people got to know him, jatin was called for workshops from different places of the country and he used to teach all those places, jatin’s first Afro dance workshop was held in Mumbai which was organized by Dynamic dance crew, then he went to Punjab. , Rajasthan, Mohali, Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Lonavala, Delhi etc. made people aware of Afro dance by conducting workshops.
Along with this, Jatin also created an Afro dance group which consisted of all boys and named the group Kathiawadi Boyz and all the dancers of this group are from Surat which currently includes Jatin Mehta, Sam Rajput, Vinayak Barde, Sundar Patel, Ronit Pithadiya, Pritesh Panwala and Mayur Ahuja. And this group of Kathiyawadi boyz has also done a television show to represent Afro dance, they got top 80 position in the famous show Dance Plus 5 of Star Plus in 2019 and made people aware about Afro dance, and since then Kathiawadi boyz The showcase continued to perform at various venues and became India’s first Boys Afro Dance Group.
Jatin’s word :- Satisfaction = Quit . That means if you are satisfied with any kind of training or yourself, you are stuck there, and your growth is also stuck, and this stopping is the same as abandoning or leaving..
Shreya Shetty – West India
Shreya Shetty well known as Afrogirl Indian All the way from Mumbai. Shreya has been dancing and training since 12 years she has learned and training as many as 15 dance style She started her journey of Afro dance back in 2016.
from the little she knew and could understand about this style and culture she had a life changing Spiritual experience in 2017, when she got a chance to travel to Johannesburg , South Africa where she trained in Afro Fusion, Pantsula and stayed with local Artists and people where her passion and love for this culture and style grew much more stronger and deeper. She says “ I never felt this alive in my life, When I returned I was a new person “.
After coming back
After coming back she has relentlessly self trained understanding and learning about not only the popular dances but also their Traditional Styles and pushed beyond her limits to create awareness and spread the love for this style .
In 2022 She founded a production/ curated an one of a kind event along with her friend Sipen Chedda Named ‘AfroMicasa’ which means Africa My Home , as an initiative to build Afro Dance/Music Community in Mumbai and in India along with building an Army of young dancers who she’s training and calls her ‘AfroArmy’ .
Itishree Behera – North India
Itishree Behera is belongs to Odisha , she is in the Dance Field since 9 -10 years. ok the main point is how itishree started Afro dance .
when she started
in 2016 , she did the Urban Dance Camp , she was still doing and learning other dance forms , in Urban dance camp she learned Dancehall style from Laure Courtellemont in 2016 . after Laure’s class, her interest grew in Dancehall style, and while searching she came Across Afro dance style . and then from 2017 she started learning Afro dance style . and then itishree started talking Afro dance training from National and International Afro dance Artists like Moto Dancers , Home bros , Idilsa Tavares , Selma , Karina Palma & Helen Okoroji.
Currently she is Focusing more on Afro House and Ndombolo African dance styles .
International Touch – Adhish Arul
Adhish Arul Based From Chennai, he is the part of India’s best dance Group BFAB dance crew also from Chennai, at that time Adhish was doing Hip Hop. He Joined BFAB group in 2016 , then Adhish meets a Dancehall teacher in this group her name is Divya Jenifer . she is the first Dancehall teacher of Him.
After that He Became Aware of Afro Dance and then Divya Formed a Afro dance group called AfroJunks in 2017, Whose Aim was to create an Afro dance community in Chennai. Adhish is the part of this crew also. Till now Adhish was not that much into Afro dance ,but things changed after Homebros came to India in 2019. after attending Homebros worksohp , he wanted to know more about Afro dance and from then he started more reseach about Afro and started training.
Adhish has been in U.K. since 2021 and has been training there for 2 years from Homebros .and now he is the part from Homefam , this is the matter of pride for the Indian afro dance community.
International Touch – Elsa Roy Gupta
Elsa Roy Gupta was born in Kolkata and brought up in Pune . she is Currently based in London, UK.
she started her Afro-dance journey in India with her dance company “Crew Futurejis” in 2017.
After Moving to London in 2019, Elsa discovered Denisa Mrvova’s classes and had her first ever Afro dance training at the Base Studios in November 2019. And that’s how Elsa’s beautiful journey of becoming an Afro dancer started.
Over the past years, she has trained with Homebros, Selma Mylene, Edgar (Septzilla), Yoofi Greene, Champianrolie, Cori Dlionne, Olu Alatise, and many more. Elsa Forever grateful to Denisa for introducing her to this beautiful world of African dance, community, and art. That being said, Denisa Mrvova is her Afro-mother. They often train and build their crafts together till date.
In August’22, Elsa became a part of this family called “WE ARE AFROQUEENS” a London based dance company. Olu Alatise, the founder of We Are AfroQueens and her current mentor, changed her perspective towards art and people. Elsa quotes that “she is Greatful to Denisa”.
In this journey of learning and growing as a human and as an artist, Elsa discovered, acknowledged, and exchanged her craft with so many other beautiful dancers. All her sisters from Afroqueens, Sammy, Dlonze, Johnny, Leroy, Cruz, Aisha, and Tilly.
Elsa has also worked with Fuse ODG and A- Star Papermaker.
she also teaches workshops, regulars, and privates globally and also respectfully has her own dance platform “Bring into Being” which aims to bring visionary Afro dancers under one roof. Elsa quotes
“Love the art & respect the people, the culture and traditions will come to you.” Trust me.
Future of Afro dance in India
Afro dance has been growing popularity in India over the past few years as more dancers and choreographers adopt the style. Afro dance delivers a novel and exciting experience for dancers and audiences alike with its distinctive rhythms and energetic motions. Incorporating elements of Afro dance into their work, some of India’s most renowned choreographers have already had a huge impact on the country’s dance culture.
With more schools and academies providing instruction in the genre, the future of Afro dance in India is bright. This will provide more dancers a platform to study and experiment with Afro dance and contribute their own distinctive viewpoints to the genre.
In addition, the prevalence of social media and digital media will probably expand the audience for afro dance in India and elsewhere. The visibility and impact of Afro dance are anticipated to increase enormously as dancers and choreographers share their performances and approaches online.
Overall, there is much promise for Afro dance in India, and we can anticipate more fascinating and avant-garde performances from the nation’s thriving dance scene.
Q :-Who Introdused Afro dance to India ?
ANS – African immigrants introduced Afro dance to India in the early 2000s.
Q :-Who popularized Afro dance in India ?
ANS – An Afrontal group, Divya Jenifer, Shreya Shetty, Jatin Jok Mehta and Itishree Popularized Afro dance in India.
Q :- Who is the First Afro dance Group in Female in India ?
ANS – Afrontal is the First Female Afro dance group in India , They are from Chennai and Bangalore.
Q :- Who is the First Afro dance Group in Male in India ?
ANS – Kathiyawadi Boyz is the First Male Afro dance Group in India , They are from Surat in Gujarat state .
Q :- Where can I Learn Afro dance in India ?
ANS – By Attend Afro dance workshops of Indian Afro dance Instructor like Divya Easwaren, Divya Jenifer, Jatin, Itishree, Shreya and Also take online or offline afro classes from Adhish and Elsa.
Q :- Can everyone learn Afro dance ?
Yes, anyone can learn Afro dance regardless of their age or background. With practice and dedication, the steps and movements of Afro dance can be mastered. There are many resources available to learn Afro dance, including online tutorials, classes, workshops, and dance schools.
This Post Has 4 Comments
It’s great nd helpful now 👌🏻
Thankyou for writing this. This helped me to understand the background of Afro dancers in India. And I look forward to learning more about it.