A sixteen year old reflects upon a recent salsa workshop.
Vasanthi (left foreground) practicing with Monica
Everybody has a love for something – a passion, an interest – which one seeks to develop. It is even more exciting to pursue this passion with the help and guidance of professionals. For a young girl interested in dance, there is nothing more wonderful than having the opportunity to learn from expert teachers.
When I received an email that two famous salsa dancers from Europe , Pedro Gomez and Nadia Boccatonda, would come to Auroville to give a 10-day workshop of salsa, I immediately signed up. In exchange for the dance lessons, each student would show them around and share with them the uniqueness of this place. Some students also took them home for dinner or showed them some aspects of India , such as the Ganesh temple in Pondicherry .
The salsa intensive has been one of the most enriching experiences I've ever had. I learned delightfully fun steps, understood how partner-dancing really works, and came to appreciate the rhythms and sounds of Latin music. All of us were very happy and tried to learn as much as possible in that short time. As we practiced to improve our dancing, invented new steps, met outside the classes to chat and got to know each other and discuss our future dance plans, we became a dance family. Together, we were bonded by our shared love for the dance.
This salsa workshop also showed me that when dance is one's passion, it is most enriching to learn more than one dance style.
Recently I have taken up Bharatanatyam again, a South Indian classical dance form, which I had started learning when I was seven while living in Chennai. I find it very valuable to relate to many types of dance as it helps develop a wide range of techniques. I find it also leads to a deeper understanding of each dance's history and significance, and an appreciation of the similarities and differences between Western and Indian dance.
For me, learning salsa and bharatanatyam has brought an identification with the spirit of dance within, and I feel it helps me to dance more wholly.
Photo: courtesy Stephanie