During this year’s Fall Talent Show, sophomore Mehraab Azhar attached broken car lights to his hands, chest and feet and danced in complete darkness. He synced his movements, a combination of dubstep, hip-hop and trance dance styles, to his own dubstep remix of the soundtrack to “Iron Man” and “Transformers.”
Azhar is almost completely self-taught.
In 2006, Azhar happened upon a YouTube video of Markquese Scott, a dubstep dancer who popularized the style of isolated, robotic movement to dubstep music, and whose videos now have over 100 million views.
Inspired by the videos, Azhar began copying Scott’s fluid movements, practicing in front of the bathroom mirror and performing for friends and family. A fan of Iron Man, he later began incorporating special effects into his routine, which includes lights and dry ice.
“I was obsessed with Iron Man. I just loved him when I was a kid. My dad bought these car lights and I put them on my hands. I just started off doing Iron Man things, and then I just collaborated with that and just put dance into it, so that it was robotic, dubstep, and something like Iron Man.”
He performed the “Iron Man” dance for his high school talent show with a crew that included three other students. At Knox, Azhar has improved the routine, performing at the talent shows and I-Fair.
“Every time I perform, I’m not looking at the audience. Every time, I’m like in my own trance. All I’m waiting for is to hear the audience scream. It makes me happy, because they’re happy,” said Azhar.
At Knox, Azhar has also performed with Pandora’s Box, which is more hip-hop based, and is now working on starting a new dance club called “The Movement.” The club plans on performing regularly every term, learning routines choreographed by Azhar. Next term, they hope to receive funding from Student Senate to plan trips to Chicago and participate in college dance competitions.
As President of “The Movement,” Azhar is dealing with the minor frustrations of coordinating rehearsals, teaching his dancers how to work with props and keeping them focused on the routines. He hopes to see the club reach the same popularity as Pandora’s Box and Terpischore, and that students will see it as a platform to experiment with dance and perform more on campus.