Manish is captivated by ballet’s athleticism but doesn’t tell his hardworking parents that he has dropped out of business school and used the tuition to pay for dance classes.
70-year-old Israeli-American Yehuda Ma’or arrived in India to teach ballet at an inner-city dance school. He had a renowned career as a dancer and had been a teacher to ballet’s greatest stars, like Rudolf Nureyev. Teaching at an inner-city dance school in Mumbai is not what Yehuda is used to – but it’s a job.
There is a lot of catching up to do – and the odds are further stacked against him because of his background. India has no ballet tradition, and Manish faces constant pressure to earn money to support his family. His father is a taxi driver barely able to make ends meet.
“Dancing is a hobby for rich kids,” his father tells him.
The extended family criticizes his parents, shaming them because Manish isn’t employed or even married.
Call Me Dancer is a story of hope, heartache, and hard work. Together, Manish and Yehuda transform each other’s lives, searching to uncover who and what they are. Yehuda seeks a purpose and a place to call home. Manish dreams of dancing on the world-stage but struggles to break free from the confines of his own economic and social circumstances.
Director’s Statement of Intent
I wish to convey the passion and inner joy that dancers feel and that allows them to push past pain to become as good as they can be. I want audiences around the world to be moved by the telling of this story and to appreciate the enormous potential of dance – and the arts in general – to bring people together.