A dance revelation in New Jersey for Indians

 A dance revelation in New Jersey for Indians

In today’s modern technological world, we see Indians not just in India but all over the world — from Great Britain to United States of America. People of Indian Origin are almost everywhere. If London has an area called Southall and Wembley where Indian community resides then it is New Jersey and San Francisco Bay Area in the US.

It is believed the Indian community which moved to USA decades back still lives in the same old-fashioned manner and some even make humor out of it by saying 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 easy when one is away from their Motherland, especially when one’s culture and traditions are different.

Indians in New Jersey, who have lived a traditional life till recently, experienced a new dance revelation, all thanks to a woman with great vision, Varsha Naik of Navrang Dance Academy who organised The Grand Magical Night — a huge vintage ballroom party at the prestigious and famous Royal Albert’s Palace. This gala celebration of dance was attended by hundreds of couples who came there with great excitement and enthusiasm with their loved ones to experience the old world charm of ballroom dancing.

I feel humbled to say that I was invited all the way from India to choreograph and teach for this romance-filled night. This one-of-its-kind night was unique and different. It was more of a grand family event where couples ditched traditional Indian wear — men got into sharp tuxedos and suits and women dressed in 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 who danced to the 1990’s romantic hit song Oh Mere Sapno ke Saudagar from Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahin.

After the dance performance, the most classic ballroom dance of all times, the Waltz was taught to all the guests. 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, Lock Step 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 to all the dance lovers and also talk about the changing phase of dance as an art form in India.

After the wonderful dance session, it was 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 fastest to dance away and find the Cinderella shoe 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 away and showing off their romantic moves was popular French actor director Jacques Roybin, Hollywood actress and American supermodel 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 this royal themed dance show-cum-workshop was much different and grand than any other show 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?

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 Indians here in New Jersey are very traditional in our approach but through ballroom dancing, we can connect the two worlds well. I am glad to see the turnout, it runs into hundreds. I am extremely happy to see 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.

Sandip Soparrkar is a well-known Latin and 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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