Ever wondered why your heart tickles and grins when you watch that slightly tipsy, always serious uncle do those ridiculous snake dance steps at a cousin’s wedding, or when that bunch of street side Romeos go berserk to the lezim during the Ganpati Utsav processions or when your bestie aces the Kathak chakkars with perfection? Ever wondered why their energy gets so contagious? Simple! Cause they’re dancing their hearts out!
To dance is to liberate! So when was the last time you let yourself go? Well I have! To none other than the ever elegant, sensuous, sexy non desi dance form -the Latin dance! I conducted a ‘mini survey’ among my peers to understand how often they feel sensuous about themselves. Turns out not very often. And that’s too bad because feeling comfortable in one’s skin is an absolute must! And what better way than to sign up for these Latin dance classes, eh? For starters, they bring forth a great sense of poise and boost one’s confidence. The curvy moves, hot looks, making new friends for dance partners, it’s all simply wonderful!
Thanks to channels like Star World, AXN and shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Indian dance shows too have conjured promising Latin dance routines (remember the first season of Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa? yep, that’s where it all started) While they may all seem very similar, they’re not and most cities in the country are brimming with dance studios offering a variety of Latin dance classes.
This uber sensual style is fancied by a majority of Indians. It has its roots in the earlier Latin dance styles, such as Cha-Cha and Mambo and was also influenced by other swing dance styles. Graced with gorgeous twirls and intricate body movements, it was a matter of time before Salsa took our nation by storm.
Thanks to its fun, light cardio approach, today almost every fitness studio in the country boasts of Zumba classes. This dance fitness program was created by Colombian dance Alberto Perez, but the desi version which is incorporated with Indian moves to Bollywood songs and bhangra is what sells more. You’re so busy focusing on getting the moves right and enjoying the music that you forget that you are working out.
I think Indians love Latin dances because they’ve got so much to do with hip movements, much like our desi matkhe – jhatke, only more subtle. Bachata too has a lot of Cuban styled hip movement and slight tapping of the foot. It originated in Dominican Republic but has a great following among Indian practitioners.
Rumba, Kizomba, Jive
Have you ever seen a Goan perform jive? Happiest thing ever! There are many more Latin dances that are gaining popularity in India. Festivals like Goa International Latin Festival, Latin Festival Madras and competitions like India International Dance Championship have only helped cement Latin dance popularity.