'Audiences will see history in the making'
New York-based choreographer Rujuta Vaidya, who has worked on the television hit film Cheetah Girls 3 -- One World and whose Bollywood-inspired dance steps energized Britney Spears on her international Circus Tour, is collaborating with A R Rahman once again.
She has choreographed several dance items for Rahman's Jai Ho Concert: The Journey Home World Tour, which kicked off its multi-city tour in New York on June 11.
Last year she teamed up with Hollywood choreographer Fatima Robinson (who has worked with Michael Jackson, Prince, Fergie and Rihanna) in designing the dance movements for Rahman's Oscar-winning songs at the Academy Award ceremony.
We interviewed her between rehearsals for the Rahman concert:
Image: Rujuta Vaidya and A R Rahman
'We all know how amazing the end product is going to be'
How excited are you about this show?
Tears come to my eyes when I think about how blessed I am.
The one and only A R Rahman is on stage rehearsing his piece, just after Hariharan left the stage with eight amazing singers. Twelve dancers continue to trudge through all the choreography they have to perfect in the next 10 days, with dance styles [that alternate between] modern, jazz, hip-hop, bhangra, Bharata Natyam, and Kathak, amongst many others.
I am lucky to be one of the fortunate few who got an opportunity to be a part of this amazing journey. I have had an opportunity to work alongside the extremely talented Amy Tinkham.
Rehearsals are quite intense, because there is so much to be done in so little time. Each day flies by and seems to be too short for every department involved in the tour.
We all only wish we had a few more hours in the day to complete what we need to get done. But we all know how amazing the end product is going to be. This show is a pleasure to work on because I am surrounded by immensely talented people. Choreographing such professional dancers is actually quite exhilarating!
At times it seems as if the possibilities are endless with the lot of dancers that I have been given to work with. I mean, if you tell some of them to stand on their head and do a couple of dance moves and then flip over and do a few more, shockingly enough, they CAN!
Hopefully, all the choreographers on this tour, including myself, will be able to bring some very entertaining pieces to South Asians and anyone who loves Indian music and dance, all across the US.
Image: Rujuta Vaidya
'People going to this concert have no idea of what's in store for them'
What was it like working with Rahman for the first time?
[The Academy Awards] was the first time I had worked with such a humble artist. He was so easy-going and calm. There is a certain peaceful aura that surrounds him that he also brings to the working environment, which had made the whole Oscar experience that much more enjoyable.
There was also a sort of camaraderie that was happening during that time, because that performance was a first for almost all of us involved.
It was amazing to be able to share that experience first hand with A R Rahman.
The promoters of the show and Rahman feel the Jai Ho concert 2010 is going to be unique.
This event is going to be an experience of a lifetime for some. Most Bollywood tours that come to the US haven't had American-based production companies.
This tour is formatted like a mainstream pop concert. Many South Asians in this country, who are of my parents' generation or older, have never been exposed to these types of concerts.
I am almost certain most of the people going to this concert have no idea of what's in store for them. With that said, I don't want to reveal too much. The audiences will just have to come and see for themselves, history in the making.
Image: Rujuta Vaidya