Dance athletes make India proud

 Dance athletes make India proud

If you thought dance was a hobby, think again! Dance is not just a hobby anymore. There are a number of people who have started taking it seriously and many more for whom dance is not just passion nor profession. For them, dance is a way through which they make our country proud.

A few days back, famous El Latino DanceSport Championship 2017 was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka where 54 dance athletes from all over Asia took part in the Latin and Ballroom dance competition. And guess what? I feel proud that Indian dance athletes came back with a bronze medal. And the couple who made our country proud is Anuj Bhargava and Ankita Dolawat.

This dynamic couple is very stylish and graceful. They look so gorgeous together that one feels proud our country had them as our representatives. I met the duo, who happen to be my students too, minutes after their return to India, holding certificates and wearing medals with pride.

The couple took part in four dance category where they had to perform Rumba, Samba, Cha Cha Cha and Jive. These four dances belong to the Latin American category and had almost all Asian countries taking part.

We sat to celebrate their victory and I asked them some questions about their journey from being students of dance to bringing a medal for our nation.

I asked them about their dancing journey to which Ankita replied that she was preparing for her IAS exams and she took up dance as a break. She never knew that this “break” will take her ahead in life. Today, she feels that she was destined to make her country proud not by being an IAS officer but a ballroom dancer. Anuj added that he moved from Delhi to Mumbai for work. He is a banker by profession. Wanting to relax himself from a nine-seven job schedule, he joined dance class as a hobby to distress and soon became a dance instructor. But he wanted to challenge himself and the best way was to take part in a competition. He feels proud having won a bronze and says he will try to do better next time.

I asked them as to what it took to prepare for the competition to which Ankita replied, “I was low on stamina so had to work hard to get in place. In an international competition, a dance athlete is supposed to do all dances one after the other. As we were in four dance category, I lost stamina during preparations. So my diet and workout were important for which I took help of internationally acclaimed fitness expert Shalini Bhargava.” She is glad she could reach to a great level of fitness based on the training Shalini and her team at JG’s Fitness Centre gave her.

I then asked them as to what did they feel when they were about to step up on the dance floor. To which the confident Ankita replied that she was wearing this gorgeous two piece dress designed by award winning designer Rohit K Verma. Backstage when she removed her jacket, all the dancers turned to her and started to admire her six pack abs. Their confidence in her looks gave her the confidence that she could do it. Just before stepping up on stage, she remembered the words of her guru, “Don’t dance for each other but for one another.” And that gave her the attitude to put her best body language forward. Anuj said he was nervous because it was the first time on an international dance floor. But he believed that nervousness is good because it gave him a new sense of responsibility. He explained how he took a deep breath, thanked god and told himself that he was the Indian representative, and come what may he will make his country proud. And this just made all the nervousness disappear.

So when India was called out as the bronze medallists, what was running in their heads? Ankita said she was overwhelmed and could not believe their names were called out. She almost had tears of joy in her eyes as finally all the hard work had paid off. She immediately called everyone who had been a part of this journey. Winning a medal for India is an incredible feeling, something I just cannot explain, she said. Anuj, on the other hand, said he could not control his excitement. He held Ankita’s hand and almost dragged her to the floor. Having the medal around his neck was the moment of pride for him he said. “Finally, I made my country proud,” he told himself.

What next? Anuj said he is keen to represent India at the Ballroom Dancing Championship at the Indoor Asian Games next year and he will start preparing for it. He agreed it is not going to be a cakewalk because Indoor Asian Games is a very big platform and for that he will have to work doubly hard. Ankita added that dance is life for her and she was incomplete without it. Dance has given her confidence and made her who she is today. Whatever happens, she will never stop dancing.

Post my conversation with the winning couple, I spoke to their fitness trainer Shalini Bhargava. She said, “Ankita was put through yoga, pilates and body conditioning sessions and Anuj, on the other hand, needed tips on his diet and workout. I was thrilled when I heard that they won a medal for our country.”

Anuj and Ankita are role models for many who want to do things but somewhere hesitate to do it because of reasons better known to them. I would like to wish this stunning couple success and may they both bring back many more glorious moments such as these for our country.

Sandip Soparrkar is a well known Ballroom dancer, a World Book of Records holder and a Bollywood choreographer who has been honoured with National Achievement Award and National Excellence Award by the Govt of India. He can be contacted on [email protected]


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