Foreign flavour for dance show

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When Maksim Chmerkovskiy was growing up in the erstwhile USSR, the only kind of entertainment that he — and most citizens of the former Soviet Union — had was watching Bollywood films.


“The only accepted form of cinematography that we had access to was from Bollywood,” recalls the Ukrainian choreographer and Latin ballroom dance champion. But he never imagined then that he would one day be rubbing shoulders with Bollywood celebrities in Mumbai.


Maksim landed here a few days ago at the invitation of Colors channel, which has roped him in as the fourth judge for its popular Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa dance show. The other judges are Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Karan Johar and Remo D’Souza. “I am indeed privileged to be in the company of such personalities,” Maksim told this correspondent.


This is his first visit to India and he’s fascinated by Mumbai and Bollywood. “I have not yet seen any cows on the streets,” laughs Maksim, when asked for his first impressions about India. “Perception can be very different from reality.”


The Ukrainian began dancing at the age of four and now, at 30, is an international celebrity. Maksim performed with Jennifer Lopez in November at the American Music awards function and was recently rumoured to be dating her. However, just before she took to the stage to perform at the Fifa 2014 opening ceremony in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Jennifer twittered denying that she was dating anyone. “Rumours not true,” she tweeted her fans.


Maksim was crowned winner of Dancing with the Stars, season 18, last month, along with his celebrity partner Meryl Davis. He already has nearly a dozen international dance titles under his belt.


Asked about the performers of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, Maksim says they are incredible. He is also impressed with the combination of Indian and Bollywood dance styles with international ones. The Ukrainian will judge the technique and precision with which the contestants and choreographers approach international dance forms at the show.


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