World at our feet: In 2006, I started my crew by watching The Philippine All Stars, who performed on the world hip hop stage and I used to imitate their choreography. Then after six or seven years in 2012, I got a chance to compete with them one-to-one on the same stage, when we represented our country for the first time at the world hip hop dance championship and beat them. So, it was very memorable for me because I got to beat the group that inspired me to start my own team.
Movie magic: The magical moment of beating The Philippine All Stars was turned into the movie ABCD 2 and Varun Dhawan played the character inspired by me, so it was a big thing for me. I was just 24 when this film was in the making and 25 when it released. So, seeing my own journey on the big screen at that young age was a dream I never thought would come true.
Rise of the kings: When my team got separated, I formed a new team, Kings United India, with some of the members from the old one. Things became very tough and I had to start again. So, we planned to go back to the same stage from where the story started and represent India again at the world hip hop championship in 2015. For the first time in history, in the genre of dance, India won bronze. It was a very proud moment for us because for the first time, the Indian flag waved on an international stage in the genre of dance.
Competing: Being able to compete with the world’s best dancers is always a big moment. It was particularly memorable when the world hip hop championship opened up for all dance forms, including crews, solos, duets and groups competing on one stage. So being in that moment and getting a chance to compete against brilliant dancers across the world is one of the best moments of my life.
Dance dream: The winning moment! I remember a few minutes before the results were announced, my dancers and I reminisced about all the struggles across a journey of 10-12 years to reach this platform, where we were on stage waiting for the results. Then we got 100 out of 100! I still get goosebumps thinking of it because no one gets 100 out of 100, and we were the first to achieve it. We made history with the winning score and for getting India to win a world dance title for the first time. World champions are remembered for years and for this, I’m very proud of myself and my team.
Emmy Award nomination: I was never nominated as an individual choreographer and all of a sudden, my first ever nomination was at the Emmy’s. I was startled, happy and proud because no choreographer from India had this honour at the Emmy’s and I was the first. I cannot express how much that moment and walking on the red carpet meant to me. It was the first time I was nominated for such a big international award show and against the world’s best choreographers. I didn’t win, but that nomination itself was one of the greatest achievements of my life.
Idol appreciation: I started my dance career by watching Hrithik Roshan when I was 12 years old. After winning a world dance championship, something happened on Twitter that touched my heart. I saw a tweet from Hrithik Roshan for my team and it made me so happy because he inspired me to start dancing. I always follow his style and am a big fan of his. After 19 years, the same person who I looked up to and inspired me to dance appreciating my achievement was a very proud moment for me.
Special speechlessness: The world famous Napitap (Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo) are very popular hip hop choreographers. They saw our performance the first time we went to rehearse on the world hip hop stage and were startled. Their shocked reaction and them going crazy for our talent was amazing. They see so many hip hop crews globally and all of a sudden, an Indian crew left them speechless, which is a big thing for us. They said we did genius choreography and appreciated us a lot.
J-Lo love: Another big moment for me was Jennifer Lopez commenting that the choreographer of Kings United is a genius, that she loves my work, and my choreography is out of the box. So, getting that kind of appreciation from world famous star Jennifer Lopez is something I never expected in my life. When she told me these things, I felt so happy! Great people like her across the world recognising me and appreciating my work is one of the best things in my life.
United passion: We, as Kings United India, are hoping to create more magic moments. We have three dance studios in Mumbai and a franchise in Muscat. The vision is to take myself and my dance ahead, but also to create new things in dance and teach others. I always wanted to have institutions like Shiamak Davar’s globally and we have started working hard towards that. I want to see my dance studios all over the world, and I want people to learn from us.
Emmy nominated dancer and choreographer Suresh Mukund is the founder of Kings United India dance group and was also one of the captains of Dance Plus 5. Visit Instagram: @suresh_kingsunited & @kings_united_India and www.kingsunitedIndia.com