A Style called Shiamak : the inspiring journey of a global Dance guru

A Style called Shiamak : the inspiring journey of a global Dance guru

  • Bharat Sharma
  • 22/09/2018

What can you do with two feet? You can walk, you can run, you can climb, you can swim, you can dance…but can you inspire millions with two feet?

That’s what Shiamak Davar has achieved and it hasn’t been a cakewalk (pun intended).

A name synonymous with dance, Shiamak Davar has perfected his craft for over 25 years and has his own story worth knowing.

From facing severe criticism for his love for contemporary dance to struggling for years to find his space in the industry, Shiamak Davar has seen, faced and overcome it all. His journey wasn’t easy but it was exciting nonetheless.

So, how did one boy who had a passion for performing arts became a hobbypreneur by turning his passion into profession?

Read on to learn about Shiamak Davar’s inspiring journey and career story from a dancer to a choreographer, performer, teacher and entertainer –

The Early Years


If you ask Shiamak his mantra, he'd say that there is a link between the 'sole' and the 'soul'. 

Fond of performing arts since his childhood, young Shiamak used to entertain family members and guests with his little ‘acts’ as he sang and perform. Wanting to become an actor, Shiamak went to the John Connon school in Mumbai and further studied at the Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics. He had a pact with his father that once he completed his graduation, he would be free to pursue his interests.

During his formative years as a performer, Shiamak actively participated in various competitions and events, which is where he got noticed by eminent theatre and performing arts personalities.

What’s interesting is that early on in his childhood, young Shiamak wanted to be an actor, not a dancer!

Realizing His Passion


After completing his graduation from Mumbai, at age 20, Shiamak decided to study at the Guildford School of Acting, one of London’s finest schools for performing arts. It was in London where he was exposed to the world of performing arts which shaped his interest and helped him realize his passion for dance.

Be it dance, drama or music – Shiamak Davar always felt a connection with performing arts. During his training at the Pineapple Dance Studio in London, he decided to give it a shot.

According to Shiamak, he felt a unique sense of ‘satisfaction’ while dancing and thus, he decided to teach contemporary dance to others as well.

Dancing with Determination


The Indian society of late 80s wasn’t open to the idea of exploring western dance forms. When Davar started teaching a batch of seven students (most of them were friends or family connections), he faced severe criticism for his choice of dance form.

While most teachers were playing it safe with folk and classical dancing styles, Shiamak decided to do something different with contemporary dance. These dance form were questioned for their values and the general notion that such dancing styles promote nudity, sexuality and western cultural values. Plus, dancing was not considered as a ‘decent’ or respectable profession.

Everyone made fun of me; they said I will never make it. It’s disgusting, you shouldn’t do it.

Despite the backlash, Shiamak took everything in his dancing stride and continued to teach fearlessly. Soon, success followed as more and more students approached him for learning western dance moves.

Foundation of SDIPA (Shiamak Davar’s Institute for the Performing Arts)


It was in 1992 when he laid the foundation of the iconic Shiamak Davar Institute for Performing Arts (SDIPA) with a mission to provide quality dance training for all.

SDIPA’s motto iss based on a simple philosophy – Have Feet, Will Dance.

As Shiamak's popularity grew, SDIPA continued to attract dancer enthusiasts from all over.  It was only a matter of time before SDIPA crowned itself as the pioneering institute in India for learning contemporary jazz, ballet and hip-hop dance styles with a unique blend of indo-western and modern dance movements.

A Step into Bollywood


Back in the day when SDIPA started, one of Shiamak Davar’s students was Gauri Khan, wife of superstar Shah Rukh Khan. One day as SRK came to pick up Gauri after her dance class, he noticed the talent of Shiamak. It was during this time when Shah Rukh got in touch with Shiamak and recommended his name to Yash Chopra, who was looking for a choreographer for his upcoming movie, Dil Toh Pagal Hai.

Did you know that it was Shiamak Davar who introduced the concept of background dancers in Bollywood! With his unique choreography and fresh approach to creative performing arts, he won the National Award for Best Choreographer for his 1st film!

Shiamak’s style was soon noticed by people all around the globe. He eventually went on to choreograph his signature dance moves for Bollywood blockbusters like – Taal, Bunty aur Babli, Dhoom 2 among many others.

Fast forward to today, Shiamak Davar has choreographed and mentored various Indian actors and celebrities including – Shahid Kapoor, Varun Dhawan and Sushant Singh Rajput.

Dancing on a Global Stage


Did you know Shiamak Davar has shared the stage with world-renowned celebrities like – Bryan Adams and Sting. 

Thanks to his passion, talent and never-say-never spirit, Shiamak continued to progress in his pursuit of choreography and was the performance and entertainment designer for both Indian and Global events.

Some of his career highlights include performing at world-class events like 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games ceremonies (in Australia and India), the World Economic Forum (in Davos) as well as entertaining world leaders like Bill Clinton who on his India visit complimented Shiamak by saying - “the world must see you”.

In 2014, Shiamak Davar choreographed Hollywood bigwigs like John Travolta and Kevin Spacey at the IIFA awards. In the same year, Davar was also given the huge task of choreographing the Tom Cruise starrer Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

Dance as Charity


For Shiamak Davar, a fulfilling life doesn't end at the road of fame, fortune and personal success. 

Davar believes that dance is the ultimate form of therapy and meditation and spread his vision, he started the ‘Victory Arts’ foundation (VAF) in 2004 for the underprivileged. VAF is a non-profit organization that aims to take dance to everyone and use it as a therapeutic medium.

It is Shiamak’s way of giving back to the society and making a difference to the world with his talent.

Coming Full Circle



Continuing on his mission to spread joy and happiness through dance as a medium, Shiamak Davar was recognized and honored for his immense contributions. 

In 2011 at age 49, he received the honorary doctorate from University of Middlesex in London for his contributions to the world of entertainment. This was a special feeling and career highlight for Davar as both his father and grandfather were also PhD holders!

Speaking of his achievement, Shiamak said “I started my journey in performing arts from London and receiving this award certainly completes the circle.”

From dance guru to doctorate, who knew Shiamak Davar would make himself and the country proud with his art!

What can you learn from Shiamak Davar's inspiring journey?


They say success comes to those who strive long enough to wait for it. Shiamak’s journey is an inspirational story for all of us who want to achieve success.

Shiamak dared to dream different and fight against the odds for what he loved doing. This was only possible because for Shiamak, dancing wasn’t just an art form. For him, dance was spirituality, a medium for expression and above all, dance was freedom.

Shiamak proved that to be successful and live your dreams, it is important to listen to your inner voice first. Yes, the world might call you crazy, but if you truly believe in yourself, you can become a bigger force than anyone who criticizes or discourages you.

His motto of “Have Feet, Will Dance” is a testament to his rock-solid faith in self and his undying passion for dance. And as everyone knows, he is India’s most successful choreographer and even the world is now dancing to his tunes!

To know more about him, visit his official website here.





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