The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Simply salsa

You can fall in love while doing salsa. If I have a girlfriend, she has to learn salsa. That is my way of communicating,” says salsa expert Kaytee Namgyal. Kaytee should know, having lived and breathed salsa for the past eight years.

Dance has always fascinated him. “I had learnt jazz and hip-hop. But it was in 2000, while on a visit to Japan that I was initiated in to salsa. I just fell for the music,” says Kaytee simply. A passion which has led him to teach stars including Viveik Oberoi, Kangana Ranaut and Sunita Rao.

Why salsa? “Every other dance, be it jazz or hip hop or anything at all, is very individualistic, you do your own thing. Salsa, on the other hand, is a very interactive dance. You have to communicate with your partner,” he explains.

This, he stresses, is the enduring appeal of the Latin form, one which has helped him grow and interact, and has enhanced his confidence.

After his own training, Kaytee chose to come back to India and spread the salsa fever here. Salsa is Kaytee’s mission. “I want to improve people’s minds through salsa,” he says. To achieve this end, he has devised a form that he calls Karma Salsa. “It’s more funky. It’s your body’s response to the rhythm of the instruments,” he explains.

Kaytee counts the ability to respond to the music as one of the most important things to become a good salsa dancer. “It’s not so important to know the language and understand the lyrics to dance well. But you need to have a sense of musicality. It’s important to feel and respond to the rhythms. You restrict yourself if you dance to the lyrics. I don’t understand Spanish,” he says.

Celebs don’t impress Kaytee much. “I treat them like any other student. I don’t go to their place to teach them. And if any other student gapes or fawns over them, either the student or the celeb has to go,” says Kaytee firmly. “The problem with them is that they have such hectic schedules that they can’t be very regular with the classes. Sunita, though, has become an addict. My favourite is Sophie (Choudry). She has also danced as my partner a few times.”

The dancer who has won wide-spread fame for his skills in salsa and founded Salsa India Productions, the salsa school with studios in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and Pune, has a dream beyond the dance floor. “I have a vision. To spread the joy of salsa,” he signs off.

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