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Dance

As the countdown for Kolkata International Salsa Congress, to be held in association with t2 on January 4-6, gathers momentum, things are hotting up on the dance floor. On Sunday, Plush at The Astor will witness a “precursor party” from 8.30pm.

“This is a warm-up to the salsa congress where one of the major focuses is the evening parties and socials. There will be social dancing every evening during the three-day Latin dance festival,” say Aditya and Shaneel from Vive la Salsa, the driving force behind KISC (for details log on to kisc.co.in). Over to the dancing duo on all things salsa party...

Why a ‘salsa party’ is called so:

Most Latin dance parties are called salsa parties usually because salsa is the genre of music most played and, therefore, most danced. Bachata, Mambo, Cha Cha, Zouk Lambada and Merengue are other popular dances at these parties. Social dancing, in relation to the Latin scene, is essentially dancing with a partner, or in a group.

How is a salsa party different from a regular party:

These parties have an etiquette of their own.

At a salsa party it is okay to go up to strangers and ask them for a dance.

Cutting across the dance floor is a no-no. Walk around the dance floor to get to the other side to avoid any injury.

Find a spot on the dance floor and try to dance along the ‘same line’ (direction). This reduces chances of collision.

Lifts and tricks are best avoided on a crowded dance floor. Feel free to move around when the floor is empty.

Deodorant, mouth-freshners or chewing gum, a hand towel and a change of shirts are must-haves for dancers.

Do not assume familiarity and dance too close to someone you do not know well. Make your partner feel comfortable.

Enjoying the dance together is way more important than instructing your partner on the floor.

Finally, pay attention to your partner rather than look around to seewho is watching you dance!

Dress code: Nothing in particular, though considering the number of turns and spins, girls may want to avoid wearing dresses or skirts that flare up. Shoes really matter. Dancers usually carry their shoes to a party. For non-dancers or beginners, it is best to wear comfortable shoes that have an ankle grip (slip-on shoes do not work well). If one is not used to wearing heels, these are best avoided.

Can non-salsa dancers have a ball too:The regular Vive la Salsa parties at Plush (Astor Hotel) on Sundays and Maaya (Swissotel) on one Friday every month usually start with a free beginner’s workshop. Our senior students are often seen dancing with non-dancers to teach them a few steps and involve them in the party. Every party has a Zumba animation session (where people just follow the steps of the instructor in front without instruction). This does not involve partner dancing or need dance experience of any sort.

How has the salsa scene in Calcutta changed since VLS’s first party in 2005:The most important change is that now more men are dancing, so all the VLS lady instructors can now stick to dancing the ladies’ part! These parties have become popular and the proof of it is the regular salsa nights being held in nightclubs and lounges across the city.