KARACHI: Eight Ambassadors were chosen from around the world to represent their countries in hip hop by the US State Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’s Cultural Visitors program. The individuals were selected on the basis of the social change they have brought in their respective nations. Hasan Rizvi talks to The Express Tribune about his experience, BodyBeat and future plans.
Tell us a little about BodyBeat. Why is the emphasis on dance alone and not on any other performing arts activities?
BodyBeat is about what you make it to be; to some it’s a dance class, to others it is recreational. To me, BodyBeat is and always was a lifestyle! Although our primary focus has never been weight loss, many of my clients continue for months and reduce weight but I, personally focus more on the artistic side of dance.
As for why dance alone; my father always told me to always lead with your best quality and I think at some unconscious level that’s what I did. I come from a family of singers, painters, photographers, actors and models so I will never confine myself to any one art form but I want to revolutionise Pakistan even more with dance.
How has it been being the Hip Hop Ambassador and representing Pakistan in this way?
The highlight of my trip was standing in front of hundreds if not thousands of Americans holding a microphone in my hand and saying, “My name is Hasan Rizvi and I represent Pakistan.” I could hear the crowd roar and I was the only Ambassador who stopped twice during his introductory speech for applause. I will cherish this for a lifetime because the world recognised my country as a nation with artistic people.
Everything has happened so fast that I still haven’t fully digested the magnitude of the situation. I sat, danced and performed with some of the biggest dance school directors, dance legends and choreographers. It’s been an honour to represent Pakistan in an international arena and I would like to thank the US Consulate for all their support.
Your troupe performed in your sister Komal Rizvi’s comeback video “Chahiye”. What was that experience like?
Komal’s super talented and works very hard towards anything she believes in. We both are perfectionists so it gets a little frustrating when we aren’t on the same page. To top it all, the director Amina Khan, is worse than both of us put together.
We all know that Komal can sing but only I knew her dancing capabilities. Amina, Komal and I had a vision to bring about a video that is not only fresh but futuristic and I think the team did very well.
Cinema Live was your brain-child, why has there been a gap of performances in Karachi?
BodyBeat has picked up more rapidly than I expected. We started choreographing for videos, commercials, corporate events, dramas and branched out into a full fledged studio; BodyBeat Recreational Center. Now that you mention it I realise that it’s been a year and half since Cinema Live but with the long working hours it feels like it happened only a few months ago.
What is in the pipeline for the future?
There is always so much in the pipeline but so little that can actually be discussed. It’s hard to know what will materialise even when it’s at the final stage. With the country’s political, social and economic unrest, things change every minute.
Suggestions can be made at the BodyBeat Facebook page or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2010.