n today’s modern technological world, we see Indian not just in India but all over the world, from Great Britain to United States of American, people of Indian origin are almost everywhere. If London has an area called South Hall and Wembley where most Indian community lives then in the United States of America, they are surely New Jersey and San Francisco Bay Area.
It’s believed that the Indian community that moved to the USA many decades back, still lives in the same old-fashioned manner, some even make humour out of it by saying that Indians in India are more modern than Indians in the United States. Well, I believe each to his own, setting one’s roots in another country and bringing up children is not an easy task when one is away from their motherland especially when one’s culture, traditions are different.
Indians in New Jersey who lived a very traditional life recently experienced a new dance revelation and it was all thank to a woman with great vision Ms Varsha Naik of Navrang Dance Academy, who organised ‘The Grand Magical Night’ – a huge vintage ballroom party at the prestigious and very famous Royal Albert’s Palace. This gala celebration of dance was attended by hundreds of couples who came with great excitement and enthusiasm with their loved ones to experience the old world charm of Ballroom Dancing.
I feel humbled to say that for this romance-filled night I was invited all the way from India to choreograph and teach. This one of its kind night was very unique and different, it was more of a grand family event where couple ditched their traditional Indian wear, men got into their sharp tuxedos and suits and ladies in their long flowing gowns with high heels, all ready to dance the classic ballroom moves.
This magnificent evening held at the palatial ballroom opened with an elegant and graceful dance by dancers from Navrang Dance Academy dancing to the 1990’s romantic hit song “Oh Mere Sapno Ke Saudagar” from the film ‘Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahi’.
After the dance performances, the most classic ballroom dance of all times ‘The Waltz’ was taught to all the guests present. In an hour and a half long dance workshop, all the traditional steps of The Waltz – Closed change (Box Waltz), Chasse, Impetus, Natural Spin turn, Double Reverse Spin turns, Corner whirls, Telemark, Whisk Wing, Lockstep, etc. were taught. I was happy to see the eagerness and enthusiasm of the so-called traditional Indian community of New Jersey. I was also glad that I could share my knowledge of classic ballroom dancing with all the dance lovers and also talk about the changing phase of dance as an art form in India.
After the wonderful Ballroom dance session, it was the time for a Scavenger hunt dance titled “Cinderella Dancing Shoe”. It was a very interesting dancing game, where men while dancing around were to find clues that would lead them to the Cinderella’s dancing shoe and then waltz their way to their dancing partner and present the same to her. This fun-filled game was won by Pratibha Nichakawade as her dancing partner was the fasted to dance away and find the Cinderella Show for her.
To attract more people to the show and the workshop Navrang Dance Academy had called for few international celebrities too. At the workshop dancing way and showing off their romantic moves was popular French actor-director Jacques Roybin, Hollywood Actress and American Super Model Ekaterina Hanssens, Mr India United Nations Prakash Patil, CEO and Chairman of TV America Hemant Kaushik, Global VP of TV 5 Vani Aida and many more.
I realised that this royal-themed dance show cum workshop was much different and grand than any other shows organised in the east coast for the South East Asian community. So, I had a question in my mind for Varsha Naik and as soon as saw her putting her feet up to relax I went up to her to ask her what was running on my mind.
You are living in the most modern and advanced country in the world, so why did you choose Ballroom Dance party for the entire Indian community in the state?
To which super excited Varsha replied “I believe dance creates everlasting bonds and in the age of social media and electronics we don’t get to spend time with our family. We Indian here in New Jersey are very traditional in our approach, but through Ballroom dancing we can connect the two worlds very well and I am glad to see the turnout, it runs into hundreds.” She further added, “I am extremely happy to see that my show brought families together and they could spend quality time dancing, socialising and celebrating life because life is nothing without romance and love and dances like The Waltz teaches us to not dance with each other but to dance for one another.”
It is very true that dance has the power to transcend a dancer and the person who is watching a dance too to another world. With the power of the most classic and traditional of all the ballroom dances – The Waltz, every woman at ‘The Grand Magical Night’ was made to feel like a princess, while every man was the prince charming.
By Sandip Soparrkar
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