All that jazz
If the long flight of stairs leading to the dance hall on the terrace does not tire you, an hour and 15 minutes of this dance class will. It began with warm-up exercises, including yoga. All very gentle until you start dancing. In the beginners’ session, students learn the basic moves—the jazz walk, the flat back, jazz hands, the pencil turn. The dance requires spontaneity, energy and agility. There are jumps, twirls and a great deal of flailing about with your hands.
The Danceworx Performing Arts Academy. Quarterly fee, Rs3,300. Contact Vivek Singh (40520111, firstname.lastname@example.org) or log on to ‘www.thedanceworx.com’ for more information. (Janice Pariat)
Hoppity hoppity hip
Pradeep Adwani’s Institute for the Performing Arts (Paipa) has three large wooden-floored dance studios. The class started with a few warm-up exercises, with some embarrassing pelvic movements and arm-toggling. Then Adwani led us through hip-hop techniques. “What I teach here,” he says, “are certain breakdance actions that come under hip-hop.” After showing us how to scuba-hop, which involves moving the lower half of the body sideways, he proceeded to basic footwork—such as “slip and slide” and foot-drag. It took an hour to realize hip-hop is not as easy as it looks. It is, in fact, a terrific aerobic exercise.
Perfect moves: A Jazz class at Bluebells school.
Paipa, C-140, Dayanand Colony, Lajpat Nagar-IV (9891872690, 9811390306). One month (eight classes), Rs2,000. E-mail, email@example.com for more information. (Ishanee Sarkar)
A sober Sunday afternoon found me in the midst of people aged 16-60. The sight of some senior citizens shaking a leg did ease the butterflies in my stomach. This Salsa class teaches “salsa on2”—as opposed to “Salsa on1”, instructor Amit Mongia says. Mongia, who learnt his Salsa in London and runs Illusions Dance with three partners, explained that on2 is considered a “musician’s dance”, where the movement starts on the second and sixth beats of an eight-beat cycle. In Salsa on1, the accents fall on the first and fifth beats. Clear? Relax—once you try it, you’ll realize that instinct and a feel for the music are enough.
Illusions Dance (9953672572). Rs1,200 for four 1-hour classes. Log on to ‘www.illusionsdance.com’ for more. (Kingshuk Niyogy)
Do the Tango
At Stina Almroth’s Tango class, my co-dancers included a lawyer who had learnt flamenco, a young chartered accountant who was also a Jazz dancer, a manager in a multinational company, a young graduate taking a year off to figure out what to do next and a pair of young men dressed in army fatigues who run a dance and fitness institute in Dwarka.
“Tango is a lot of walking,” declared Almroth, and set us off around the room. I began a little self-consciously, avoiding eye contact with the mirrored wall, but soon I was swinging my arms, even daring to do a little twirl. Then it was time to pair off. Although women are always followers in tango and men lead, Almroth made us perform both roles. This helped us understand just how much pressure one needs to give to lead or how to recognize a shift in body weight as a sign to follow.
DelhiTango (9810521347, 9810003712). (Samina Mishra)
The cha-cha can be a little monotonous to begin with because of its repetitive nature, which is why it’s imperative that the instructor (Lucky) keeps the flock in Ai Caramba mode. When you’re going to be dancing in a manner that resembles a workout on an exercise stepper, comfort is key. The cha-cha, fun as it may be, is a sneaky boot camp. Why? These harmless looking steps, when repeated non-stop for an entire number, creep up on your hamstrings.
Ballatino Dance Studio. Call Lucky, 9999909639, or log on to ‘www.ballatinodancestudios.com’. Rs1,500 for four classes. (Ambika Muttoo)
Hips don’t lie
Meher Malik, the instructor, started the all-girls beginners’ class with simple breathing and stretching exercises. The 2-hour class was not tiring—everything was slow and thorough rather than fast and aerobic. It must have been a very good stretch workout though, because I felt sore in odd places the next day.
Salsa India, E-5, Greater Kailash-II Enclave. Visit, ‘www.salsa-india.com’ or call Jyoti (9811222186). One month (four 2-hour classes), Rs1,500. (Sonal Shah)