MJ5: Immortalising the King of Pop

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MJ5 is a boy dance group, best known for their unique dance style, inspired by Michael Jackson. And after their triumph on 2013’s India’s Dancing Superstar, they have been soaring ever since. A shared idolization for the King of Pop brought together college friends, R Kartik, Himanshu Gola, Rohit Singh, Vishnu Kumar and Dennis Anthony, to form the incredible MJ5. MJ5 has an enormous fan following, and it includes the likes of some of the biggest names in Bollywood. In the middle of their ever-busy schedule, the group chats with us about their journey, and a special upcoming project –

How did you all come together to form MJ5?

We all came together through Delhi University dance competitions. We all had a similar dancing style. We always wanted to choose dance as a career, so we decided to give auditions for India’s dancing superstar. We started practicing 10 days prior to the audition, and then we actually won the competition. And that’s how MJ5 came to be.We all shared the same love for Michael Jackson as an artist. We would watch all the possible videos of his dance performances. When we got to know that we all had similar thought process, we decide to model ourselves after Michael Jackson, as well as include our own unique style.

What makes your dancing style unique?

We all look very similar dancing together, like five bodies in unison. In order to do so,we have to have a lot of practise, make the perfect song choice, and perfect the visual elements in our performance, song choice. Brainstorming is a challenge, as is making sure our bodies and moves are perfectly synched. Also, we end our performance with a moon walk – over the last four years we have done 26 different types of moonwalks. Each moonwalk is different from the other. We have our mentors and prop team to bring our ideas to life.We all put our ideas together, and work them out as a team because a single idea implemented isn’t as magical.

What are your favourite moments on stage?

In Dance Champions, Remo D’souza (ace Indian choreographer) took off his shoes for the first time, for us. In the dance culture, giving shoes is like giving respect. We also performed in front of Sachin Tendulkar. There was this one time where Shahrukh Khan came onstage and did the moonwalk with us, and even planted a kiss on our cheeks! Even Akshay Kumar did the moonwalk with us, and was mesmerized with our dancing. Ritesh Deshmukh even commented that wherever Michael Jackson is, he will be very happy watching us.

What are the challenges you’ve faced along the way?

Individually, it had to be convincing people that dance is a career option, especially our parents. We had to convince people that it is more than just a hobby. When it comes to dancing, keeping up with new trends in the dance culture, and coming up with our own unique style is a challenges. We are not restricted, but we have to come up with something new every day, and live up to what people expect of us. In India, we’ve had a lot of reality shows with people of all ages and backgrounds. As a career, situations are not as difficult as it was 6-7 years ago.

Tell us about YouTube Series & the awareness you hope to generate from it.

People tell us that we are very entertaining and that they want to watch us put more of our stuff out there. It gives us a push to put in that much more effort. We are coming up with a YouTube series where we want to involve other dancers and dance styles from the community. It is going to have a lot of emotions, and a story-line, giving people an insight into who we are as individuals. Today, nothing is impossible. We want dancers to realise that it’s not just dancing you can focus on. You can get into choreography, or help with visual assignments. We hope to broaden their vision through this series. And with YouTube becoming one of the most popular and commonly used platforms today, it’s the perfect fit.

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