Times of India Film Awards rehearsals feature more than 70 local dancers going hard (with video)

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

More than 70 local dancers are working full days and into the wee hours of the morning preparing for their extravagant performance at the Times of India Film Awards April 4 to 6.

Members of the Shiamak Davar Dance Team — from Vancouver and other cities — as well as more than 40 local dancers who auditioned to take part, were up until 3 a.m. Wednesday morning rehearsing. Starting next week those rehearsals will ramp up to a 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. schedule.

But they couldn’t be happier.

A number of them rolled into the North Vancouver Academy of Dancing late Wednesday afternoon to get back to the grind and although they walked in with tired eyes — they were still bright and shining.

“You can see my eyes — I really can’t keep them open,” said Atul Mehtani, a Shiamak dance team member from Toronto.

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For members like Mehtani and Suragini Ravindran, part of the Vancouver team, the rehearsals aren’t out of the ordinary, having performed in many global events like the IIFA awards.

But for many local dancers, this is “definitely a once in a lifetime” opportunity, said Ravindran.

And Mehtani couldn’t be more impressed by their dedication.

“They all are working brilliantly hard,” he said. “They are amazing,”

While 15-year-old Sierra Sandhu from Richmond has been dancing with Shiamak for almost 10 years, this is her first big-time performance.

“I’ve watched all the movies with all these big stars and I know them and I look up to them so much and now getting to dance with them — it’s a really good opportunity,” she said at Wednesday’s rehearsal. “It’s exciting … (but) it’s a little nerve racking.”

Yet her face can’t help but light up as she talks about her upcoming performance.

“They’re really, really excited to be part of something so huge,” said Ravindran. “How often would someone think of actually being able to rub shoulders with Shah Rukh Khan, or Abhishek Bachchan, or Aishwarya Rai Bachchan?”

“For people to even think that they could be on that same platform and share the same stage with these big legends –- it means a lot to people.”

TOIFA also added to the list of legends as they announced that Bollywood trio Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Boman Irani will be hosting the April 6 awards show at B.C. Place. They also officially confirmed Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan will be making their big return to the stage after having their first child with their performance at B.C. Place April 6 – which broke on Vancouver Desi last week.

lcahute@theprovince.com
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