Tutankhamun, AKA King Tut – ancient Egyptian pharaoh, international phenomenon, the most important archaeological find of the modern era. Oh, and inspiration for a famous street dance form; don’t forget that one!
The legendary king has inspired ‘tutting’, which is based on the peculiar movements and poses present in artwork from ancient Egypt. And finger tutting is a natural progression from there – it utilises the same principles, with one crucial difference. The only parts of you doing the dancing are your hands and fingers. While other forms of hip-hop dance have found pockets of practitioners and followers across the country, finger-tutting is a relatively new entry on the Indian hip-hop scene, but a quickly-growing one.
To find out more about India’s growing finger-tutting community, #QueMag spoke to 21-year-old Shubham Gharge (AKA Silver Head), the founder of Tutting India, a dance collective with a current roster of 12 artistes whose prerogative is to popularise finger-tutting through YouTube videos, free workshops and upcoming collaborations with NGOs.
Giving The World The Finger… Tut
While it may sound simple, finger-tutting is a complex form with plenty of variations and one that requires long hours of practise to perfect. It first came to prominence after dancer and choreographer Julian Daniels (AKA JayFunk) performed in what was most likely the first-ever viral smartphone commercial for Samsung. The ad, called Unleash Your Fingers, captured the imagination of people across the world.
Another famous practitioner of the form is John Hunt (AKA Pnut) who rose to fame after his finger-tutting videos went viral and has since been featured prominently in Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, which led to a further rise in finger-tutting’s popularity.
We Could Be Seeing It Everywhere Very Soon
“There is a lot of scope for finger-tutting to be used in advertisements,” says Shubham. “It’s being used abroad extensively and now some Indian brands are also expressing interest,” he adds.
Lenovo India has already featured the dance in an ad, so once more major brands feature finger-tutting in their television advertisements, it’s only a matter of time before the new dance form becomes all the rage here, too.
Anybody Can Do It
All you need to begin finger-tutting are your fingers and the will to get good at it. The dance form is perfect for people who might not be able to try more traditional forms due to certain physical limitations. Shubham himself is a perfect example of this. He says, “A few years ago, I was hit by serious condition called Slipped Epiphyson Femerol (a rare bone condition that results in slippage of the femur, causing extreme pain in the knees and thighs as well as a decreased range of motion). I used to be into B-boying before, but had to stop due to this. But I was determined to keep dancing and that’s when I discovered finger-tutting!”
Today, Shubham and his crew from Tutting India are among the leading practitioners of the form in the country. He adds that he hopes the dance form he loves finds traction and continues growing until it enters the mainstream dance community.
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Cover Image Courtesy: YouTube screengrab