Holidays are over and schools and colleges have all started, many people travel to various destinations in India and abroad for vacations. It is a great time to bond with family and friends leaving work and all the home worries aside and see and experience a new place and what it offers. But what happens to our passion of dance does that also take a vacation? I hope not, because dance is one passion that can never be on a break, a break for a day to relax I do understand but a true dance lover will never take a long hiatus from their passion for dance. This week when all my dance classes opened post vacation period, I asked my students what did they do during their holidays and what all new forms did they learn or polish some old moves. To my surprise none of them danced or learned dance during this summer break.
I then decided to do this story for all dance lovers. Next time you are on holiday do not feel bad about not dancing, there are ways to dance even on a holiday. Remember you don’t have to take tango to Tim Ferriss’ level to enjoy a tango class, it is a holiday so enjoy the light dancing moments.
I believe one must fit in a dance class for fun and fitness is the best way to begin it on a vacation, I remember in my dance college days we would go on student exchange programs to different countries meet the original folk dancers and musicians to understand the dance better and know it closely.
I recollect when I went to Argentina, my German roommate I had for the summer months decided he always wanted to take Argentine tango class, a dance lot different from International ballroom tango. So he made inquiries and before I knew it, he was ‘Ocho’ing down the hall!
Last week, Jesse and I were invited by my favourite designer Deepak Shah of More Mischief for his first international outlet opening at Jumeira Emirates Towers in Dubai. Both of us were excited not just about Deepakji’s launch but also that we were in the land of Belly dancing. It was almost a short three days holiday for us. But dance is something that does not go on a holiday away from us. We went and saw a great belly dance show and even took few belly dance classes for fun and to understand the culture of the UAE.
Although you don’t have to do the whole “pick up and live there” part, incorporating dance or dance classes into your vacation is a fun way to get exercise, make new friends, learn new skills or expand your repertoire. And, no matter where you travel, there are dances that are indigenous to the place you are visiting that you might not be able to try at home. I have had a great time taking hula in Hawaii, Thangta in Manipur, Kunbi in Goa, Texas Two Steppin’ in San Antonio and even belly dancing in Dubai. And I did not know any of these dances before I went.
So here are some tips if you want to add a little spice to your vacation through dance:
- Before you go, think about what you might want to do. Do you simply want to catch a Zumba class or two to maintain the exercise you do at home, or do you want to try a new dance that’s part of the culture you’re visiting?
- Decide whether you want to take a private class, do a drop-in at a studio (usually better if you’re familiar with the dance in advance), or go to a club or studio where they offer a beginner class as part of a social event so you can practice after the class is over and enjoy the ambiance.
- Be sure to pack appropriate shoes and some comfortable clothes that would work for the dance you intend to learn.
- The world has come closer because of the internet, do a little advance research on the internet to identify where you might take classes. Chances are, the front desk folks at the hotel might be able to offer great insights on a club or restaurant where they offer an introductory class as part of the evening or a place to take exercise-based dance such as Zumba, but they might not know the best place to go for private lessons or drop-in classes. Although at one place I stayed in Hawaii, one man who worked at the new age resort not only did massages – that were the best ever but he also gave amazing hula lessons!
- Make a reservation and/or schedule the class into your week, to make sure they happen! It’s all too easy to get caught up in other activities, especially if you are with your family. Before you know it, the whole vacation will pass and you will be leaving without having any new dance steps under your belt.
- If you are there with your partner, kids, parents or spouse, why not invite them to join too?! The more, the merrier, and you are less likely to feel awkward when you make mistakes. Although you should not anyway as making mistakes is a part of learning new dances!
- If you decide to take a new dance you have not done or learnt before, buy some music so you can listen to it for inspiration and practice the dance after you return home as well.
Expand your repertoire with classes from a new instructor. Remember, you do not have to be an expert or even a dancer at all to enjoy incorporating dance into your vacation! All you need is a sense of fun, adventure, humour and a willingness to try something exciting and new!
As final inspiration, I am sharing a picture with you when I was blessed by my favourite dancer Padma Vibhushan Dr. Sonal Mansingh who has taken Indian classical dance to a whole new level by showing that dance can be fun cum educational, at the same time anyone can dance if they have the power from soul to sole and that dance transcends language, culture, stereotypes, politics, gender and just about anything else.