“I had a dream in 2009, when I was in the 11th standard that I was competing in the World Finals of a Dance Battle representing my country and in 2018, I lived that dream. I still remember every moment of it. From when I landed in Montreal to when I was on the stage till the last moment, when I left.
I competed at the event, crossed the preliminary round and got selected into the top 16, going up against dancers all over the world. My first opponent was a battle guest at the event from Montreal itself. I was nervous and my confidence took a toll because I wasn’t sure how I would be able to win against her. She was someone who had a lot of experience and was very skilled. But, I flew all the way to Canada for this, there was no backing out. The battle started and my heart was thumping. I could hear the muffled cheers of the audience in the background. The only sound that was loud enough was my heartbeat, while my hands and body flowed to the rhythm of the music. My body was on autopilot, I didn’t need to think, it just happened. I let the music control me. It was a close call and I won my first battle by one vote. After I won, when I went to shake my opponent’s hand, she was dismissive but I was too thrilled about having won. Post the event, she even called me out to have another battle to settle scores because she didn’t like the fact that she lost on her home turf in front of her crew and her friends to some random guy from India who she never even heard of.
I got selected in the top 8 and for the Quarter Finals, I was up against a World Champion. I mean, what are the odds! There were two rounds in this battle. The first round went decently well. But the second round had a section that blew everyone’s mind away! I danced my best. There was this moment in the last 20 seconds where I felt the audience’s energy sweep my feet off the floor and make me dance without me voluntarily moving my body. Oh, it was surreal.
I lost the battle but what I felt at the end of it all, was worth it. I was out of breath, the entire crowd was cheering for me, the adrenaline in my body was shooting through the roof and I think that was as close to euphoria as I can ever get. I left from there knowing my worth, knowing how good I am and having left my mark on that stage representating my country and my style. For someone who has trained himself from a zillion youtube videos and travelled across the country to learn from different faculties at workshops, without ever being formally trained in dance through a degree, this was a huge achievement.
Today, I am a well known dancer from Hyderabad, competing nationally and internationally while I also teach, perform and choreograph. I never knew this is where I would be today, when I started out 11 years ago. But as they say, life always has a plan for you, doesn’t it?”
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