Shantanu Maheshwari: Dancers should understand that we are no less than athletes

Actor Shantanu Maheshwari who became a household name with Dil Dosti Dance, ensures he stays in touch with his first love-dance. Having competed in Indian and international competitions over the years, Shantanu opens up about what it takes to be a pro!

As a dancer how do you keep yourself fit always. Any particular workout and diet regime that you follow?
While dance is definitely a way of keeping fit for dancers, over the years I realized there is a lot more needed on the fitness front to give dancers the fitness levels that we need. That`s when I took into account my own fitness regime which has helped me shape up a healthy body. From various body weight exercises  / calisthenics (with or without additional weights), adding in some yoga practices, cross fit training and at times elements of Parkour and Gymnastics have all been included in my fitness regime. With time I started realizing how important it is for me to maintain good fitness levels to ensure I can pursue dance for a longer period of time. I even started exploring different elements of training which helped me build an overall better physique and it also helps me to push my boundaries to the best I can.

According to you why does a dancer require a structured fitness regime? 
Dancers need to understand that we are no less than athletes, hence training like one is very important. Infact every dancer in today’s day and age requires a good fitness regime, especially if you are looking at dance as a full-fledged career. You are going to need stamina and high end fitness levels to endure long rehearsal hours, wear and tear of the body when rehearsing for competitions which require rigorous levels of dancing. There has to be equal amounts of importance given to a planned fitness routine with a structured diet in place. Not many people are very aware of this, but the right kind of foods paired with well researched exercises is essential for any dancer to sustain injuries that could take place whilst dancing. 

What advice would you give aspiring dancers who are just starting out? 
To all the young aspiring dancers, all I want to say is that to be able to pursue dance for a long period of time, focussing on a correct diet and fitness routine is essential. Also when you are young, you don`t think of injuries because your body is still exploring movements and it eventually heals pretty quickly. Though at the same time it is very important to keep working towards building strength, so injuries in the future can be avoided to not miss out on the bigger opportunities that come your way. We should also not forget that even to maintain a healthy body that dancers require today, to sustain things like injuries that come as part and parcel of being a dancer we need to be in the best of health. Our bodies need to be strong and fit to endure all of this, and it can only happen when we prioritize our own fitness levels. Even small aspects like wearing knee pads while dancing, wearing shoes at all times while dancing are dance essentials to ensure you are dancing correctly. 




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