“He’s a born dancer”, is a common phrase we’ve heard for someone like Terence Lewis. Truth be told, it’s the result of a lot of hard work, effort and fighting for his dream. He was a graduate in microbiology and hotel management (both fields that stand far from dance). Dance came into his life when he started taking dance tuitions to earn his daily pocket money. Despite of receiving an offer from a reputed hotel post his graduation, he decided to take up dance full time since he realized his passion truly belonged there.
A career in dance was a natural progression rather than a premeditated choice, an outcome of the need to be noticed and appreciated. “In spite of being scholastically and academically inclined, life seemed to constantly draw me towards arts. I never wanted to become a dancer as a kid though I enjoyed it from time to time. In School I began to enjoy the attention very early in my life. The Stage became my home and dance my second language. Hungry for attention in a home where no one had time for me, I preferred to be in school becoming the best in whatever I do. During my time, dance was not an obvious career choice for boys. As a kid I wanted to see the world and decided naively that I would become a rock star or an Actor as both these careers still had some respect and recognition but dance was not the first choice,” said Terence.
At thirteen, he was spotted by his first teacher Pervez Shetty in a dance competition who berated him by saying that the only reason he was used to winning was because he was the best amongst the worst. Curious to know what he had missed, she took him under her wings and offered to train him for three months in Jazz Ballet. It was his first dance class ever and had no idea that one needs to train. He was blown away with just the warm-up, across the floor and techniques that were alien to him. He was hooked. Training became his mantra.
After choosing dance as a career option, he began to realize that people are still not open to dance, especially to western forms. As a result of which the opportunities were limited. That’s when he decided to undergo a training at Talwalkars for fitness to be able to reach out to an audience. He incorporated dance moves and routines to peppy English and Hindi tracks. His students were soon hooked. Everyone from Gauri Khan to Madhuri Dixit loved it and very soon fitness centres everywhere started calling him to take classes. He landed up teaching some of the biggest names at very reputed places like The Club, Idea Gym, and the YMCA. Pro Tip: There are going to be different routes that meet your end destination, find them to make it happen.
Soon after, he transitioned into being a choreographer as well. Although, his big break was when he became a judge at ‘Dance India Dance’, and his name penetrated in the households of the country. While his entire journey so far sounds like a dream, his struggle hasn’t been easy. “I hail from a middle class family of 8 siblings, so family pressure came early on when I chose to dance, they wanted me to have a 9 to 5 job. Since I hold degree a in Microbiology and Hotel Management, so the most challenging part was to decide to stand my ground. It wasn’t easy to be honest, but is definitely worth it,” he said.
If you’re a budding dancer or choreographer, all he can say is “Learn to take a chance, learn to be flexible, learn to be persistent and learn to relive work for excellence. Just ensure that when you are working towards excellence. Your whole passion is about doing your job well, and then the rest will follow.”
His charming spirit and personality definitely translates for a feast to watch him shake a leg.
This weekend, let us shake a leg or two?
Find him at: Instagram