He makes magic with his moves on the floor. He makes his own decisions irrespective of social norms. He believes in following his own heart. Sandip Soparrkar is India’s first ballroom dance teacher, an international choreographer and a lover of mythology, as his latest dance drama “Death Conqueror – Karna” tells us. The recipient of four National Awards, Sandip decided to become a single father and adopted Arjun when the little one was two. Cut to 2019. Arjun is 14, and is making his Papa proud in more ways than one.

Excerpts from a conversation

For acclaimed dancer-choreographer Sandip Soparrkar, the best part about playing single dad to Arjun, whom he adopted when the child was two years old, is that he has his son all to himself.
As an adoptive parent, do you remember the first time you met Arjun?

When I met my son for the first time, and he walked into the room, I smiled at him and said “Hello”. He had a dinky car in his hand, and he held it out, offering it to me. That was it. We played with the car and post that, I realised that I was with a caring, friendly soul who did not even shy away from sharing his belongings with a stranger. I knew he would grow up into a confident, caring person. After our game, I asked him to kiss me. And Arjun did, joyfully. That melted my heart.

How is he as a teenager?

He wants less of me around (bursts into laughter). These days, children think we parents are fools. And that they know everything (laughs).

Are you saying he is too busy with the screen, like most other kids?

No. I have not given him a smartphone. He has a regular mobile phone, nothing fancy. But luckily he is not too fond of screens, even the television. He loves strumming his guitar, playing with the dog, going out with friends, swimming…Of course, now he does not want Papa around. He wants to do his own thing.

Do you involve him in your work?

He isn’t fond of dancing, and I am fine with that. But he does attend my rehearsals and give his expert comments (laughs).

Like?

I am working on this new dance drama centred around the historical character Karna, from Mahabharata. Sometimes I forget my lines, and then he gives the cues. I get a viewer’s perspective from him, too. He comments on how forgetful I am and I tell him that I am growing old.

How do you react?

Well, there is a line in the drama when I have to say “Arjunaaaa…!” rather theatrically. I employ that (laughs). But you know what, I am enjoying this phase too when he is going through his teens. It is fun.

Shilpi Madan for Indian Express

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