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In conversation with Ryan Martyr: Venky alumnus, contestant on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’

DU Beat recently got a chance to interact with television’s new dance sensation and a DU alumnus, Ryan Martyr, who is currently showcasing his dance moves on the dance reality show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. A contemporary dancer by profession, he wants to build a tree house and organise a buffet for dogs if he wins the dance reality show. Excerpts:

DUB: As an alumnus of a popular DU College like Sri Venkateswara, is there any anecdote you’d like to share with us that you can recall from your days as a member of Verve, the Western Dance Society of Venky? What is your take on DU’s dance circuit in general? 

Ryan Martyr (RM): I earlier wanted to become a footballer. But when I got into college, I “just for fun” auditioned for the western dance society. Surprisingly, everyone loved me and instantly started to believe that I had the potential to be a professional dancer. That’s how I began dancing. My take on DU’s dance circuit is that I feel it gives a budding artist multiple opportunities to showcase his/her potential. The competition and the whole vibe pushes you to grow exponentially. Its absolutely wonderful.

DUB: As a member of a dance society, you must have attended quite a lot of fests at DU. Which college was your favourite to perform at during fests and why?

RM: My favourite college to perform in was Venky itself. The reason being that performing in front of your own college and home crowd gives you a high like none other. The cheering before and after the performance makes you want to push for greatness and definitely brings out the best in you.

DUB: Looking at your immense experience at such a young age, who is that one person/personality that keeps you motivated or whom you admire the most and why?

RM: The one dancer who inspires me a lot is Travis wall from So You Think You Can Dance, America. He began as a dancer on the show, then moved on to being a choreographer, then to a judge on the same show and now he is an Emmy winning choreographer. And in fact, I received a shoutout from Travis wall in my first round on SYTYCD India which was definitely one of the happiest moments of my life till date.

 

DUB: How did the idea of entering a dance reality show crop up in your mind? What is the larger goal you wish to achieve by performing at a platform of such a mammoth nature? 

RM: Honestly, I never wanted to enter any reality show. I just did because So You Think You Can Dance was the only reason I began dancing and as a young dancer, I always wanted to become a dancer of the same quality and so since the opportunity came knocking, I had to answer it. My larger purpose is to inspire people to follow their dreams and live life whole-heartedly. Hopefully, by dancing my heart out on this show I can achieve this.

DUB: Today the youth is driven by money, fame and the limelight that reality TV has in store. What is your take on the increasing commercial interest that has penetrated a creative industry like dance? Do you think this hampers true talent from coming to the forefront?

RM: I believe that before exposing yourself to fame & money, its very important to develop your art first. There is no point in selling stale art. Once your art is ready there is no harm in exposing it to the world. In fact by doing so, you can inspire millions.

 

“I believe that before exposing yourself to fame & money, its very important to develop your art first. There is no point in selling stale art.” 

DUB: To choose dance as a career option definitely mustn’t have been a smooth sailing for you, given the larger societal scepticism surrounding it in India. What did it take you to convince your parents and family to let you choose your passion as your career?
 
RM: Choosing dance was easy. I just had to follow my calling. I knew it the day I felt it, that Dance was for me. Convincing my parents was easy because I was convinced and was showing positive results from day one. I was so dedicated to dance that my parents never felt the need to question my decision. But yes, I have gone through many ups and downs which has just made me stronger.
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DUB: Apart from Contemporary, which other dance forms do you enjoy performing?

RM: I love doing hip hop and dancehall. Like honestly, at times I feel I am a better club dancer!

DUB: You have participated at the prestigious Britain’s Got Talent too. How was the experience there different from your experience performing on the Indian National Television? 

RM: I got selected for Britain’s Got Talent too, yes, but I could not participate on the show because I was on a tourist visa. But yes, to showcase my raw soul in a country like England where every dancer is so perfect was quite special.

DUB: Would you like to share something about your ‘guru’? Any memories of any college faculty leaving an impact on you in any way?

RM: I honestly have no guru. I learn and get inspired from almost everyone I meet. I am learning every minute. Wherever I am, I find someone or the other to get inspired from.

DUB: You have become a very exemplary figure among the youngsters as is evident from your growing online support. Any message or mantra you would want to convey to the students who wish to pursue a career in dance?

RM: Keep it simple. Keep it true. Make sure everything you do is full of yourself. Live life like you would never ever live it again. And love yourself!

DUB: If you do win the show, what do you intend to do post your big victory? Any specific goals?

RM: If I do win the show, I want to build myself a tree house. And use some money to publish my book, and definitely make a few songs. Probably have a buffet for all street dogs! I just want everyone to believe that Dreams Do Come True. Just work for it. Live a life people would love to read about.

“I want to build myself a tree house. And use some money to publish my book, and definitely make a few songs. Probably have a buffet for all street dogs!”

Image credits: Allan Martyr and Sandeep Chhabra

Interviewed by Riya Chhibber for DU Beat

riyac@dubeat.com



riyac@dubeat.com ; An avid debater, singer and horoscope freak, she is an eccentric Aquarian who loves two things: food and sarcasm. Studying Journalism at Kamala Nehru College, her interest in political debates and international affairs is immense. A cricket lover, she thinks her rebellious modus operandi can change the world! You can reach her at riyac@dubeat.com


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