2 steps to the left, then tap.
Bailemos, amigos! Which in English translates to Let’s Dance, friends!
When I first heard of the move ‘ABCD’ – the movie, I interpreted it wrongly. The ‘Anybody’ didn’t mean all and sundry. It meant that learning the art of dancing is not confined to gender, class of society, religion, occupation or education. With the right will, determination, passion and ‘flexibility’, anybody can dance.
I had always been very inclined towards dancing. The music, the moves, the style, the culture, the entire process intrigued me. I very vividly remember my first day at a Salsa social. I felt out of place. Not because I didn’t know to dance, but because everyone there did. To my surprise, a little voice in my head seemed super excited and pretty confident that I could do it. So, I did what I do best – Go with the flow. And that has been my motto ever since that day.
The moment I let myself free, I was a puppet in the hands of the very skilled dancers. They moved me so effortlessly, that even I was weirdly amazed. Not at how funny I looked, but at what my body could do! Move and Groove (Smile). When somebody else could move my body (no puns intended there) and make me feel so good about it (no puns here either), imagine how great would it feel if I did it myself?
This got me interested in the different dance forms I had witnessed till date. So, here I am now; taking my first step towards learning them. And the best possible way would be to share it with the world.
First, I’ll start with something familiar. Bhangra.
Bhangra is one of the most popular and energetic dances of India. Bhangra is performed by men folks during Baisakhi. It is among the most energetic and captivating dances of India which has found it place to almost every party I’ve been to. The hallmark step of this dance is putting your arms above your head, lifting your right feet over to left and then hopping. Did you know that this step is inspired by the tandava dance which was performed by Lord Shiva. The music for this dance is primarily strong drum beats/claps and Punjabi folklore.
At the beginning of my speech I mentioned the basic Bachata step. Bachata originated in the rural neighborhoods of Dominican Republic. It has become one of the most popular Latin dances in recent years. Bachata basics consist of 3 steps and a tap. The chasse basic goes "side-together-side-tap" and can be spiced up with a hip motion or a lift of the leg at the "tap" step. Dancers keep their knees bent throughout to promote hip motion. In early days Bachata music was often slow, sad and romantic. These days, Bachata has gotten more upbeat and incorporated electronic sounds.
Dandiya is one of the very popular dances which is mainly performed during Durga Puja. It is a popular folk dance of Rajasthan. Dressed in colorful costumes the performers play skillfully with big sticks in their hands.
Garba is the leading dance of women in Gujarat. The Garba dance is associated with the fertility cult. The Garba dance is performed throughout nine nights of Navaratri, an autumn festival. Women folk come out into the open and with perforated earthen pots, clap and dance a simple, circular dance, in honor of the Goddess Amba.
What Dandiya is to Garba, Salsa is to Bachata. Salsa is more intricate than Bachata because of its syncopated rhythm. Salsa basic consists of 3 steps (2 quicks and 1 slow or a pause). Unlike Bachata, the salsa music is fast-paced, sharp and has exciting turns.
If you ask what is dance for me, it is not giving up, or rather finding a way to do what I love.
Until my next dance gyan session, Hasta la Vista.