Evolution for a dancer never stops - In conversation with Rohit Jethwani (JuniorJethu)

We just love talking to folks who have followed their passions. Their enticing tales, the falls and the rises, so much to take inspiration from. One such gem is Rohit Jethwani, a Pune based dancer, choreographer and entrepreneur. It is only recently that we got an opportunity to interact with Rohit or we should call him JuniorJethu, the name that he goes by on his Instagram handle. Must say the energy that he puts in his dances moves quite resonated through his words too. So here is how our conversation flowed away - 

The start of a journey of an India based dancer and choreographer

First things first, how did you learn to dance so well?

Since childhood I have always loved the idea of performance. Started training at the age of 4 and never stopped :) 

How would you define your style of dancing?

Raw, energetic, authentic and full of life. Bollywood is forte.

What do you think are the most important traits a dancer should have?

Always keep learning and growing. The more you work on your craft, the longer you will sustain in the field of entertainment.

How do you ensure you stay strong and fit enough to keep your performances so power-packed? Any specific workout/ form of exercises?

This is a huge challenge for me — I am trying to maintain a balanced lifestyle where I can focus on my fitness, eat healthy food and keep up with my irregular shoot schedule. I aim to work out 3 times a week and eat healthy food regularly.

Which moment was it when you decided to take up dancing as a full time profession?

The day I quit my first job is the day I decided to make dance my full time profession. Coincidently, when I was going through a rough patch at my first job, the first dance video I uploaded on instagram went viral. The power of social media made me believe that dance could be a full time financially sustainable career. 

What was your most challenging dance routine? What impact did it have on you? 

My most challenging routine was a semi-classical piece to Taare Zameen Par. This was created in collaboration with a beautiful Kathak dancer: Rachana Ghaisas. I have minimal knowledge in Kathak and trying a style completely out of my comfort zone was extremely challenging for me. Usually I spend about 2 rehearsals before a shoot but here I spent 4 rehearsals before we shot. 

I realized that there’s so much to learn and grow as a dancer/performer. The video made me realize that no matter where I am in my dancer journey, I need to keep working hard, keep reinventing and keep reaching new heights. 

What do you do when the road gets tough?

Honestly, take a break. Being in a creative space can be very mentally taxing. I realized it’s important to stay mentally healthy to constantly breath creatively. I take breaks to rejuvenate, get re-inspired, learn new things before kicking off on the ground again. 

Which all self-made Indian and international dancers do you look up to?

Nora Fatehi — I absolutely love her and what she stands for.

If you could go back in time, what advice and lessons learned would you have given your ‘younger self’?

Never feel like you are the best in the room — stay humble and keep out doing yourself.

How favourable do you think is the current scenario in the country for young dancers? Has anything changed from when you had started and now?

More people have started to choose dance as a career because of what social media has done for artists. Social media has opened up opportunities for so many budding artists who could build a brand name for themselves without having industry connections or struggling your way up the ladder.

A message for the next generation of dancers in the country.

Be so good at what you do, that people would want to network with you :)

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