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The Salsa Congress Shakes ‘Em Up!

Pachanga

WHAT: With cultural origins in Cuba, pachanga is a vibrant and happy-go-lucky dance form. The music is peppy and you focus on shifting your body weight from one foot to the other. “The three basic things learners should keep in mind are music, quality of your movements and lots and lots of practice,” said Alex Diaz (in picture above).

Student speak: “This was my introduction to pachanga and I managed to pick up quite a few steps without much trouble,” smiled Soumyashree Giri.

SALSA BEGINNERS

WHAT: Around 40 men and women turned up to surrender themselves to salsa on Saturday morning. “This is a dance where men lead and women allow themselves to follow. Yes I know, women are never the followers but give your partner the chance to feel empowered on the dance floor at least!” laughed Pune-based dance instructor Irisha (in picture above). The workshop was simple and fun, exploring the timeless and sensual Latin American dance.

“It is like walking with rhythm to an eight-beat count and it has an element of mystery — you never know what your partner will lead you to do next,” she explained. At the end of the workshop, you felt like you were gliding on the floor!

STUDENT SPEAK: “With such a fun beginner’s lesson, we might sign up for full-fledged classes,” smiled Nishant Bhalotia and Preeti Singhania.

BELLYWOOD

WHAT: While we are all too familiar with those exaggerated Bollywood steps and most of us have discovered the belly dancer in us after a few drinks, a little lesson in Bellywood never hurt anyone! A mix of the classical Bollywood steps with a belly-dancing twist, Delhi girl Meher Malik (in picture right) rocked the workshop. “The aesthetic may be Bollywood but the technique is belly dancing. It’s more graceful, sensuous and done with a level of class,” said Meher.

We agree! We heart!

STUDENT SPEAK: “I have seen her on TV and learning from her has been simply outstanding! None of us can move like her but learning has been an experience. The dance is fun, the steps are crisp and you really need energy!” said Rachana Mehta.

KIZOMBA

WHAT: It’s something like Zouk Love but not as sensual. Kizomba originates from Angola and is a popular genre of dance orchestrated by R&B-style music. “Kizomba was created when there was no form of music, people would dance to the beats of drums and chains. There are no counts. It is also called the African tango,” said instructor Kaytee (in picture above). Simple, relaxing and beautiful, this dance is not about trying hard or looking good. “It is all about discovering yourself and your own comfort level,” Kaytee signed off.

STUDENT SPEAK: “I loved kizomba. It’s soothing, soft and sensual, said Kritika Saraf.

Rumba & Afro

The action jumped several notches higher as Maykel Fonts (clapping up a beat in picture right) of StreetDance 2 fame took the stage by storm. Attended by amateur dancers as well as pros, “look and follow” was the first piece of advice from Maykel. He began by making the students feel the music by clapping rhythmically. Men and women were divided into two groups — chest movement for the guys and hip movement for the girls. “Relaxing is important in rumba, feel the music,” said Maykel, choreographing fast and slow dance steps like a dream.

Student speak: “It was brilliant. Maykel Fonts is famous for his isolations and this dance form is very rooted to his culture. The rhythm and feel was crazy,” said Bindu Prasanna.

K-style Bachata

“K-style bachata is my interpretation of musicality and it is for people who are creative and different,” said Kaytee (in picture left), introducing the dance form. Bachata songs are romantic, so feeling the music is vital. Also, you have to dance from your heart and not from your mind. “Think out of the box, don’t think only about bachata dance or music or else you will restrict yourself,” added Kaytee.

Student speak: “K-style bachata is awesome, it’s more stylish than regular bachata,” said Shalini Sen.

ZOUK LOVE

Slow-tempo music accompanied this sultry, sexy and sensual dance. Originating from the French Islands, the dance of seductive hip movements and the accompanying lyrics are all about love and sentimental problems! “Zouk Love is more like making love on the dance floor but not to your partner — to the music!” smiled Mumbai-based instructors Suman and Santosh (in picture below).

STUDENT SPEAK: “Workshops here are all about bachata, zumba and salsa, so it was great to experience this. Here’s to more new dance forms in the city,” said Shruti Gupta.