Suresh Mukund. Photo credit:
On Season 3 of World of Dance, a new bar was set when it comes to dance crew choreography. The tricks and death-defying feats created by The Kings' choreographer, Suresh Mukund, impressed judges, Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and Ne-Yo, every round.
That creativity was not only rewarded with the million-dollar prize at the end of the season, but Mukund also found himself amongst an impressive group of Emmy nominees in the Outstanding Choreography for Variety or Reality Programming this year.
Mukund submitted three impressive pieces for consideration, "Malhari," "Yeh Raat" and "O Fortuna." The level of difficulty in this hip-hop, Bollywood fusion is hard for the mind to comprehend, but it's a part of The Kings' signature style.
Dance Network will be following Mukund's Emmys journey over the next several weeks.
Dance Network: Where were you when you found out about your Emmy nomination?
Suresh Mukund: I was with family having dinner when I received an email saying "CONGRATULATIONS!" For a while, I was just in shock, but when it finally hit me that I was nominated for an Emmy, I couldn't control my happiness. I shared the news immediately with my family and friends, and most importantly, with my crew members from Kings United, who were also celebrating upon finding out. This is a huge achievement for me and my country as it is the first time a choreographer from India was nominated for an Emmy Award.
DN: Tell us about why you selected "O Fortuna," "Yeh Raat," and "Malhari" for your Emmys reel. What stood out about each of these pieces for you?
Suresh: All of our acts were outstanding on World of Dance, but these three were some of my favorites, which people really loved to watch and also garnered more appreciation from judges and audiences. These acts also received the highest scores in those respective rounds, which also compelled me to select them.
Each of these acts had their variations, like in "Malhari" we portrayed the humor infused with Bollywood. "Yeh Raat" portrayed one of the aggressive characters of our Indian mythology. "O Fortuna" depicted the scenario of warriors, who were on a quest to defeat their opponents and emerge victoriously. Each of these acts was fabulous and they were selected based on the responses we garnered from the people.
DN: Now that you've had time to reflect on your World of Dance experience, what was the most rewarding part of the show? What was the most challenging part of the show?
Suresh: I think being consistent throughout the rounds was the most rewarding part because we were the only contestants who kept on experimenting with variations in each round. We always believed in bringing something new for the judges and they always loved whatever did on stage.
The most challenging part was the injuries we started facing while preparing for the second round. Because our act consisted of flips and tricks along with dancing, our flippers were subjected to injury with the hectic rehearsals. I had to make them rely on painkillers until the end of the show and I also tried to minimize their part. However, with their grit and determination, they have always proven themselves and that is a huge part of what I love about my team. I am immensely proud to have such a wonderful team with me.
DN: Your choreography pushes the limits when it comes to tricks. Can The Kings push the boundaries even further?
Suresh: I have been working with them for the past several years, including during this endeavor, and I am aware of their capabilities when it comes to dancing. They have always pushed themselves whenever I have given them something new to try, and they have proven themselves every time. The best part is that they never say "no," and are as excited to try new things as I am. That is the reason we have been consistent so far and we always keep on trying when it comes to going beyond our limits.
DN: How has life changed for you and the crew since the World of Dance win and Emmy nomination? What does this win mean for the dance industry in India? I imagine you have lots of young kids looking up to you and The Kings.
Suresh: Life has been a complete roller coaster ride for me and my crew after our win on World of Dance. We have been approached with so many opportunities, including huge projects for my team. When we revealed the news that we won World of Dance, it went viral in India and we received millions of messages.
This is a massive achievement for India and we are proud to be the first crew to take India on a global dancing tour. We feel incredibly happy and proud when aspiring dancers of our young generation look up to us as their inspiration. We are helping many young talents from our academy to achieve their dreams by showcasing their talents.
DN: Fans in North America are looking forward to the World of Dance Live Tour. What are your next goals for The Kings?
Suresh: We are excited about this tour! I am so happy people keep on messaging us saying they can't wait to see us perform in their respective cities. I am overwhelmed with the love and appreciation we have been receiving for our achievements from people in America as well. We are excited to make this tour a memorable one with our friends/contestants from World of Dance. Currently, we are quite busy with the amazing projects we are working on, but our long-term plan is to take the brand of The Kings globally and establish it in every part of the country.
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