Who started Afro-dance in India?

Introduction

In recent years, Afro-dancing 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 Who Started Afro-dance in India in this article.

What is Afro dance?

We must understand what Afro-dance is. before diving into Who Started Afro-dance in India. The intense and rhythmic movements of Afro-dance, with its roots in Africa, are what give it its name. It is a mix of modern art forms. like hip-hop, house, jazz, and dancehall funk with traditional African dancing.
 

The Indian Origins of Afro-Dance

Afro-dance became popular in India in the early 2000s. when a group of African immigrants started to perform in nightclubs and celebrations in important cities. like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, and Chennai. Young Indians were soon attracted to the distinctive dance and music these performers brought with them.
 

Who Started Afro Dance in India?

Following this people started Afro-dance in India. the Afrontal Group, Divya Jenifer in South India. Jatin Jok Mehta, Shreya Shetty in West India, and Itishree Behera in North India. they have a great contribution to make in spreading Afro dance in India.
They learned from different international Afro-dance artists. by doing solo dance performances, collaboration dance performances, and group performances, traveling all over India, accepting dance challenges from world-famous Afro-dancers, making videos, and learning from their dances.

 

let’s understand these people in detail:-

Afrontal -South India

Introduction

Afrontal, founded by Maryann Vincent.  a big contribution of this group to start afro-dance in India. this is the first Afro-Caribbean dance crew in India. Since 2016, Afrontal has been at the forefront of spreading the joy and knowledge from Afro dances and dancehall. also across the country through their workshop tour and social events. They have taught workshops in Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Thrissur, Goa and Kolkata. Their first show was with Reggae Rajahs as an opening act for Major Lazer. They were also the first winners of the crew vs. crew dancehall. this battle organized by the Smash Dem crew at Everything Dancehall 2020 in Goa.
 

About crew

Maryan Vincent, from Chennai, has traveled to countries. like the UK, Kenya, Uganda, and Japan to learn and train in 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 underground 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. she also trained at the Afreeka Best Dance camp and Mad Vibe Dance camp in Europe with artists like Homebros UK and Petit Afro.
 

Achievements

Afrontal has also been in the headlines of many newspaper articles and social media features. They have hosted 3 big events for 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

Introduction

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.

Training Process

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 and kept training.

In 2018, Divya traveled to Finland, where she met and trained with Septzilla (Afro House Dancer ) and Cori D Lionne (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 has also taught an Afro workshop in New Zealand.

Achievements

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 to the semi-finals. Divya and her Crew have 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

Introduction

Jatin Jok Mehta is the First Indian solo boy who started Doing Afro dance in early 2016. he His contribution has also been immense to start Afro-dance in Inia. He is based in Surat in Gujarat state. he belongs to a Brahmin family where Satsang is sung every day. Jatin came 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 Afro-music.

Let’s Know Him in Detail:-

Before Start Afro Dance

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 on YouTube and Facebook. 

Then one day Melvin Tim Tim posted a video on Facebook on the 26th of January 2016. in the video young African boys were 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.

Learning Process

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 if there was any problem with his dance. what next to do. the names of the steps. Where this style come from, by doing that he took the knowledge of basic theory and started putting it into practice.

from International Artists

Then with time, Afro dancers came to India from abroad to teach Afro dance, and 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 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.

Viral Things

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 Africa started putting it in the report and story on the main page of Afrodance. like World of Africa TV NweA Star, Chopdaily, world afro dance,  Africa tv,  King Tunde ednut. all these people made this video very viral with a big caption. 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 knowing

After people got to know him, jatin was called for workshops from different places in the country. 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.

Crew Process

Along with this, Jatin also created an Afro dance group which consisted of all boys and named the group Kathiawadi Boyz. 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 the top 80 positions in the famous show Dance Plus 5 of Star Plus in 2019. made people aware of 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

Introduction

Shreya Shetty is well known as an Afrogirl Indian from Mumbai. Shreya Shetty has also helped a lot in spreading Afro-dance in India. Shreya has been dancing and training for 12 years. she has learned and trained as many as 15 dance styles. She started her journey of Afro dance back in 2016.

Learning Process

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 Shreya stayed with local Artists and people where her passion and love for this culture and style grew much 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 one-of-a-kind event along with her friend Sipen Chedda Named ‘AfroMicasa’. which means Africa My Home. as an initiative to build an Afro Dance/Music Community in Mumbai and India. along with building an Army of young dancers who she’s training and calls her ‘AfroArmy’.

 

Itishree Behera – North India

Introduction

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

Introduction

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 What

After that He Became Aware of Afro Dance. 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.

Recent Things

Adhish has been in U.K. since 2021. he 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

Introduction

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 companyCrew Futurejis in 2017.

What Next

After Moving to London in 2019, Elsa discovered Denisa Mrvova’s classes. she 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.

After That

In August’22, Elsa became a part of this family called “WE ARE AFROQUEENS”. this is 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 she 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.

In the recent times, Adhish and Elsa have contributed a lot to spread Afro dance in India.

Future of Afro dance in India

So all the above mentioned names who have started Afro-dance in India and taken forward. 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.

FAQs

Q :-Who Introduced 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.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Manish

    It’s great nd helpful now 👌🏻

  2. Sayee Kalyani

    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.

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