Dance: NO limits, NO rules, NO fear
'In spite of our differences, we all dance on the same beat'. Nothing could be a much better elucidate of what Eshan Hilal want the people to know...
'In spite of our differences, we all dance on the same beat'. Nothing could be a much better elucidate of what Eshan Hilal want the people to know about when it comes to a male Kalaakar.
Eshan is the first male belly dancer who has performed on the National Television. Eshan who is a trained Kathak dancer was seen in various shows like Dance + season 3 in Star Plus, Big celebrity challenge in Zee Telugu, Munna Michael in Zee Tv and High Fever in MTv.
He conducts various dance workshops and workshops about gender role and educating people about the art form. For him, it was never in his mind to take belly dancing as his profession.
He shares, "I never planned this because we live in a country where even now we do not see belly dancing as a profession. It was very uncertain, i just wanted to become a dancer and a choreographer, and my family didn't support me in this when I told them I wanted to do this as I come from a very conservative Muslim family.
So i had to think of another profession if not dancing and apart from dancing my other interest was towards fashion so i did fashion designing."
Meanwhile, with Fashion designing, he gradually kept on following dancing and was very fond of belly dancing from the very beginning.
He adds, "As i have seen a lot of international male as well as female belly dancers perform whom i use to look up to and started doing it. I never realised it will become my profession i was just doing it as my hobby then i got into it professionally."
Eshan shares that irrespective of our religion or gender or the community, we always have this thought that dancing shouldn't be a profession or a career goal it's either doctor or engineers or something else.
"It was always there where my family use to question this decision of mine as according to them this wasn't a concrete profession, second challenge was to convince my family why belly dancing.
If a girl is doing some masculine thing she is appreciated always but on the other hand if a guy is doing something feminine we never appreciate it we always criticize him in some way or another which is very wrong and i have faced it from the very beginning for many things.
Belly dance form was always perceived as very vulgar and uncultured; people use to think its all about pleasing men and a source of entertainment which is absolutely wrong because people don't have enough knowledge about this. It is a proper art form like any other dance form we see it's just that people here in India don't understand that," shares Eshan.
The Journey of dancing
Eshan has been dancing since a very young age with all the ethics and standards.
He adds, " As far as I remember i was in 9th class when I danced in kathak style on stage. I have trained myself into kathak lucknow gharana as well."
He has always had a huge fascination towards Kathak and also has always been a huge admirer of the Bollywood's dancing diva Madhuri Dixit. It was in 2015, when he professionally performed belly dancing on the stage.
Before Eshan, there were many other boys who were trying to do this who were into belly dancing but due to the gender stereotype who were doing this art form but they were practicing it as a male while performing they use to cross dress themselves as females.
He shares, "When they approached me for the reality shows, I have told them very specifically that I hate your format set up for the male belly dancers. I am a dancer I am a male belly dancer people associate belly dancing with females.
I am the first one on Indian national television who portrayed belly dancing as male belly dancing the rest of them came as cross dressers."
The Stereotype associated with belly dancing
There is really a need of setting up good example in the society so that people perceive you. You have to accept what you are and you have to maintain some dignity for yourself and your work or profession and that is when people will perceive you.
Eshan shares, "The majority of people follow me are supporters and i do get more support but back when I started it there was literally nobody as a support but the hate is everywhere and it happens sometimes here and there though it is very less. I made little tiny conscious efforts and now people are supporting me.
I would focus on my likes on my YouTube rather that the dislikes. It depends on how one perceives the comment be it in a positive way or a negative way. Now when I have a little name in the society, people do come and appreciate and they were the same who told my parents your son is doing something shame for you."
Sharing about a similar incident that Eshan encountered while scrolling his posts, he found a comment where a guy commented that he had to make a fake account in order to just see Eshan's posts. He further adds, "I was going through some comment section in one of his post and found a comment from a guy who commented that 'you are so lucky that u r doing what u want to do in your life.
We are so suppressed and so discreet in cage that he had to make a fake account in order to see my videos.' We haven't given the freedom, as a society as a parent as a human being we are failing by not providing equality of what That comment stuck in my heart thinking that just to watch my video he had to fake account People would make fun of him if they got to know he is watching my video."
Eshan shares that the viewers after reading his interview would think that he dislikes his parents for not letting him follow his passion.
He shares, "I do not hate or disrespect them all I want to say them is that I point out what I felt wrong. Anyone can go wrong at any point of their lives and it doesn't matter if you're a guardian or parent and you cannot go wrong.
We are all humans. They grew up in an era which was a very different era which was not their fault. It was their upbringing, surrounding they grew up in. Now I understand since I have seen things.
My parents wanted to do what was good for me. They did not want people to call me 'Nachanias' to that matter or a unstable career. Understand parents and parents also need to understand not to look at their children from their era lenses the world and time is changing."
He says that he is not doing anything out of the box. He is just following his heart and also believes the moment he started following his heart his life changed.
"When people say 'mere ek ke karne se kya hoga' you don't have to change how people think or perceive but how you do and change yourself.
Accept yourself the way you are. If u don't accept yourself how will the people accept you. Give yourself the love and the respect which is the basic need.
Give yourself some time nothing happens soon everything happens through a process. Believe in yourself and believe in your dream it will come true, just have patience," ends the gender fluid model.