Maradona's tango tryst with Madonna's tutor - Dance guru flown down for afternoon date with soccer legend while veteran leader waits

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  • Published 9.12.08

What was Diego Maradona doing while Jyoti Basu was waiting to host him on Sunday afternoon? Getting his tango moves right with girlfriend Veronica, under the tutelage of Madonna’s dance guru!

“I got a call late on Saturday asking me to take the next flight to Calcutta for a private tango lesson for Maradona and his friend. The next thing I knew my tickets were e-mailed to me and I was on my way,” said Sandip Soparrkar, after his three-hour thriller in town.

Who is Sandip Soparrkar? Well, he is the man from Mumbai who tells Beyonce how to shake it and shows Shakira how to get truthful hips. He shares screen space with Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz and choreographs Sophia Loren and Judi Dench for a Rob Marshall film. He also teaches Madonna how to move on stage, performs at the diva’s 50th birthday bash in Wiltshire and responds to her best buddy Gwyneth Paltrow’s SOS to counsel Guy Ritchie-Madonna in a bid to save their marriage.

Soparrkar moved from Madonna to Maradona, one twinkle toes to another, on Sunday afternoon behind the closed doors of suite 1101 at ITC Sonar Calcutta.

The 75-minute tango class left the dance teacher quite impressed. “I honestly didn’t expect much. Sportsmen are not exactly the best dancers but Diego dances very well and has definitely been learning for a long time. His style is aggressive and his foot movements are very precise, intricate and accurate,” said the t2 columnist.

The Soparrkar-Maradona tryst on Sunday afternoon — between the Argentine soccer legend’s visits to Mother House and Indira Bhavan — turned out to be something of a “mutual class”, with notes being shared about dance moves. “Dance has its own language so no interpreter was needed,” said the 32-year-old.

But didn’t Veronica’s left arm in a sling come in the way? Not really, as tango involves more legwork and is a “close hold dance”. He in a faded T-shirt and trousers and she in a long dress danced the afternoon away.

Even for a jet-setter like Soparrkar, the Sunday saga was a bolt from the blue. “Celebrities and hectic travel go hand-in-hand. Dance classes in the hotel suite are often a good way of de-stressing,” he reasoned, before rushing off to catch an evening flight to Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Maradona sure had a reason to de-stress. A reason called Subhas Chakraborty. The felicitation organised by the sports and youth affairs minister at Salt Lake stadium on Saturday evening had ended in a fiasco with the Argentina coach beating a hasty retreat.

“He was so rattled that the very sight of a white hat (Chakraborty’s trademark) was giving him the jitters on Sunday,” confessed a member of Team Maradona.

So, Soparrkar could have been the best thing to happen to Maradona on Sunday.

Next to benefit from the dance guru will be Britney Spears. Soparrkar is off to America at the end of the month to choreograph Britney’s new video Womaniser from her latest album, Circus.