Mayuresh Wadkar is a dancer, choreographer, and actor, and was a contestant on the dance reality show Dance India Dance on Zee Tv, and Dare 2 Dance on Life Ok. He made his Bollywood debut with ABCD: Any Body Can Dance in 2013. Mayuresh has choreographed a song for the movie Ram Leela, a video album for Disney called Camp Rock, and has conducted a multitude of workshops abroad. He was also the team skipper and choreographer on Dance India Dance – Little Masters on Zee TV, and a judge on the dance reality show Khallas – Dance Ekach Chance on MI Marathi. Mayuresh is a phenomenal dancer who seeks inspiration from Prabhu Deva and Michael Jackson.
Having done great work alongside superstars in big banner productions in both the television and film industries, please tell us about your journey.
From being a salesman, an editor at Balaji, my journey has been full of learnings. My inclination towards dancing was quite obvious ever since I was a child. I feel fortunate that I am getting to work with huge artists and legends like Ganesh Acharya, Prabhudeva, Remo D’ Souza, Terence Lewis, etc. They have already achieved so much in their lives, and I wish to follow in their footsteps. At work, I tend to observe these people that I so admire, and am taken aback by their composure and work ethic. That is my biggest takeaway from working with the stars: to succeed, you must have patience.
Did you ever face problems choreographing movie actors for award shows or otherwise?
Not in the least! In a professional setting, we all follow a stringent code of conduct. Our discussions are mostly pertaining to our work, and everyone I have worked with to date has been very humble. Even when I have been slightly nervous about teaching them, their humility takes the edge off, and we can dive right into it. Since we are all on the clock, I prepare the strategy on how to teach a particular routine beforehand.
Before ABCD’s release, the dancer to actor shift was unheard of, as the general notion was that “a dancer can’t act.” What challenges did you face as you tried to break the stereotype and get into the acting space?
It is a tiring journey from a dancer to an actor. People are still going to think of you as a dancer first, and then an actor. However, I take great pride in being a dancer and choreographer first. It would be remiss on my part not to acknowledge Remo D’Souza sir’s contribution here; he has single-handedly changed the way dancers are viewed in the industry. I would also like to give props to dance-centric shows like Dance India Dance (DID) that provide a platform to hone young talent. The key to success is to wake up every day with a learner’s attitude.
As an “outsider” in the industry, what challenges did you face when you first came to Mumbai?
I believe that If you work on yourself and let your talent shine, you will always get your way. I belong to a non-filmy background and did not have any godfather when I entered the industry. Whatever I am today is only because of my hard work and perseverance. Things did not go smoothly for me at the beginning, but I kept on pushing in the direction I wanted to see myself in the next few years. I started as a freelance dancer, but thanks to my network, I got a job as an editor at Balaji. A few months later, I met Imam Siddiqui sir, who further introduced me to Terence Lewis sir. I later graduated from the Terence Lewis Professional Training Institute (TLPTI), which was an enriching experience. In a nutshell, keep your head down, work hard, have faith, and focus on learning. In the end, it comes down to talent. If you have talent, you will thrive. If not, you will never make it in an industry as competitive as the Hindi film industry.
Any word of advice for our young readers who wish to follow in your footsteps?
First and foremost: have absolute clarity as to what you want to pursue and your area of interest. Being mentally, emotionally, and physically ready is also of utmost importance. You have to be a hungry learner, dedicated to your dreams, and willing to put in the hours. If acting is your calling, join a theatre group. In my opinion, one learns much more in theatre than in acting school. Likewise, if you want to be a dancer, get proper training. There are a plethora of dance academies that have been set up by successful choreographers in Delhi, Bengaluru, etc. In today’s times, you can learn to dance online as well. If you have the resources, you can also go abroad and train.