Exclusive Interview – Cecille Lee Rodrigues

“The toughest part would be to smile through my agonies during the performances. DID Super Mom was a very painful and stressful experience for me”

“DID Super Mom” Cecille Lee Rodrigues’ Exclusive tête-à-tête with GoaChronicle.com 

GC: Tell us about yourself, where were you born? Where did you grow up? Do you have any siblings? What was little Cecile like?
CR: I was born and brought up in Baina in Vasco, I have no siblings, was the only child and hence I was quite a brat. I continue to still be the same, very stubborn, tomboyish and adventurous. As a kid, every evening when my folks came home, I would still be playing with my friends irrespective of how late it was. I was extremely naughty, audacious and energetic.

GC: How and when did you realize you were cut out for Dance and what form of dance did you start with?
CR: At the age of 12, we formed an all girls dance group called “Scorpions” and we would compete in all schools and colleges. There was no free style dance form in those days, so whatever the music came our way, we would go with the flow. We never did any jazz, locking n popping, hip-hop, etc.

GC: How did Dance India Dance (DID) Super Mom happen?
CR: When DID Season 1 happened, I dreamt to be a part of it. It was a potentially popular platform for aspiring dancers to prove their talent and so I decided to participate in DID Season 2, but was out in the third round. Four years later, and a baby, DID Super Mom auditions were announced and I couldn’t believe my ears! Seemed too good to be true then, I decided to give it a shot immediately and the rest is history.

GC: What were the initial hiccups on a personal and professional level you experienced when you got on board DID?
CR: Well, I am rather lucky that my parents supported my dream and so I had no hiccups on the personal front, except that my son Jake was barely a year old and it was very difficult to live without him. On the professional front, the drawbacks I faced were that I was not a trained dancer, as I only had very basic knowledge of Latin dance forms. My lack of knowledge and the platform that was going to challenge me with different dance forms and concepts scared me and I was mentally prepared to be out in the first three rounds only. However, I wanted to work hard after which I didn’t mind getting out after having given it my best shot.

GC: What is your fitness Mantra? Do you have a personal trainer?
CR: Nah, I have no personal trainer, Zumba classes keep me fit, where we have something called “Dancercise”, which entails a half an hour dance work out, 15 minutes of flexibility and 15 minutes of core training.

GC: What is your philosophy on diet?
CR: I honestly do not believe in diet, we live just once and must explore and enjoy all the food that comes in our way, just ensure to consume appropriate portions, eat small and at regular intervals.

GC: How did you handle the stress of it all; the DID journey, did you face any pitfalls with the exhausting, strenuous and demanding schedule?
CR: Gosh, it was a nightmare, every night I would cry. I had never stayed away from home for 8 months. I was a new mum and Jake was barely 2.5 years old. I so hated it, we used to put in 15 hours of practice every day with just 2 hours of sleep. I lived through it with bruises, blood clots and injuries, cleverly hidden by makeup. The toughest part would be to smile through this agony during my performances. It was a very stressful experience for me and the thought of giving up came to my mind often.

GC:  Who was your driving force through the Competition?
CR: God of course has been my guiding force and then it was I, Me and Myself. I was not there to compete with other Mums, but to prove to myself what I could do. I wanted to know how far I could go and how much I could push myself.

GC: Your strong bond with your Mother-In-Law was beautifully aired on the show, is she also the encouragement factor in your life?
CR: My parents are the main factors of encouragement in my life, the rest of the family members respect my decision.

GC: What was your most memorable moment on DID Super Mom?
CR: Oh many, actually! One was the champagne act that was a great success and then when my husband Joe invited on stage to Jive with me and so also my son was called on stage for the first time. All of those moments were memorable for me on DID.

GC: Any holiday eating tips?
CR: I follow the same mantra, eat everything, but eat in small portions and burn.

GC: What do you wish you had known before you participated in DID?
CR: That it was one hell of toiling and hard work! It looks all so rosy when you watch it on TV, a three minutes act, but what no one knows is that it comes with hours and hours of rehearsals, injuries and stress. I was so fed up! I had a 102deg fever during the Finale, so one can imagine how distressing agonising it was for me.

GC: Looking back on what you have accomplished so far, what is one thing you would change if you could, knowing what you do now?
CR: If I had the opportunity I would have learnt more dance forms and would have been a stronger contender. But otherwise, I am the same person, and I haven’t changed.

GC: Who was your favourite Judge on DID and who supported and advised you most?
CR: Farah was very supportive through my DID journey, she would advice me to improve and applauded me when I did well.

GC: Any behind-the-scenes anecdotes you would like to share?
CR: The Champagne Act where I slip into the glass was an accidental concept which “just happened” during our practice sessions. I was petrified when the Choreographers asked me to incorporate the step into the dance ‘for real’ as I had a back issue and feared a serious injury. However, they convinced me to do it and it never came out right during the rehearsals due to my health fears. But, I surprised myself and everyone around, when I did the act flawlessly on the day of the shoot! God has definitely been kind and watchful!

GC: What do you have to say about your partner Jai?
CR: Jai is an amazing dancer, innovative and always up for challenges. What I liked about him was that he was very passionate about dance and always thrived to take it to the next level. Being a stunt man, there was nothing that stopped him from being creative. And no, nothing as such about him drove me crazy. He was a pleasure to work with.

GC: Who was your favourite co-contestant/s?
CR: My favourite co-contestants were Divya, Shivangi and Manpreet.

GC: Are you proud of your achievements till date? Any personal ambitions yet unattained?
CR: Very much, God has been very kind and I have achieved all that I wanted to.

GC: Do you have any future Bollywood aspirations? What are your future plans?
CR: No, not really. I have started a Dance Education Program for all schools and where we train the teachers. This is something that is in the initial stages at the moment, but by the end of this year I am hoping this dream is realized, and through this program, more parents will encourage their children to enrol into dancing at a very young age.

GC: What is your favourite healthy meal? Do you fancy Goan food?
CR: When I was in DID, we were only given vegetarian food and I would miss home the most for this reason. Yes, I love Goan food, from crabs, to beef, chicken, and fish and all the goodness that the Goan platter has to bring to a palate that comes with being home.

GC: What would you advice our Goan dancing aspirants if they wish to acquire heights that you have?
CR: My advice to the Goan dancing aspirants would be to attend any workshops that take place, and participate in the dance opportunities that come your way. This will help you grow in dancing. Make the best of it and be versatile in all forms. Do not limit yourself.

GC: You are an inspiration to many, any message for our readers and your fans?
CR: I always say this, you live once, and I believe that you should live it to the fullest. When Opportunities come, grab them, you never know what bigger opportunities will come your way with it.

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