Shake a Leg!

It is essential to have a healthy mind and body to be happy. Physical activities have a positive impact on our lifestyle. There are several forms of exercise which people can choose from- gymming, yoga, kickboxing, pilates and even a simple jog at the neighborhood park. India has a rich cultural heritage in the field of dance. However, since the last few years, Indians have been exploring different dance forms, such as jazz, jive, rock and roll and salsa, and have understood the benefits of an effective and enjoyable workout.

Dancing slows down the process of aging of the human body. It benefits our heart, muscles and cardiovascular system. Every minute of dancing roughly burns 5 to 10 calories, depending on speed. Other than these merits, dancing helps combat bad cholesterol, improves our memory and balance, strengthens our bones, it is socially satisfying and leaves us feeling happy by the end of the performance.

However, certain measures must be followed before dancing. It is essential to do some stretching exercises to prepare the body for a rigorous workout. At least half a glass of water should be consumed at regular intervals, in order to prevent dehydration. It is beneficial to begin with slower and simpler dance steps, and slowly build up a faster tempo. This will help avoid the occurrence of a muscle pull. In the event of experiencing discomfort, people must know their limits and take a break, and save oneself from further harm or damage. Over-exertion limits one from enjoying this activity.

Shiamak Davar’s Institute for the Performing Arts (SDIPA) was established in India in 1992. Today, there are a number of SDIPA centers all over the country, witnessing a rapid enrolment of students for each new session. The annual Summer Funk and Winter Funk performances particularly attract people of all age groups. What is unique about dancing is that there is no age limit to perform it. You can be of any age, from 8 to 80 years, there is always going to be a place for you in every class. Children and adults join these dance classes for various reasons- some out of passion, some to exercise and others who wish to become choreographers. But all in all, it is a fun-filled experience for students who usually continue to enroll themselves and dance at higher levels.

The Danceworx Academy of Ashley Lobo was established in Delhi in 1988 to teach students Contemporary Dance, Ballet and Jazz. What began as a class of 100 students has now expanded to 3500 students spread across several studios. Over here too, students of all ages can come and learn how to dance.

Several people have also started taking interest in learning the Salsa dance in the last few years. Salsa India Productions, established by Kaytee Namgyal, is the biggest salsa school in India. It has several institutes in different parts of the country-Kolkata, Delhi, Pune and Bombay. He calls his style the ‘Karma-Salsa’ which basically brings harmony to the mind, body and soul through mastery over dance. Salsa is a dance style that is not just flourishing in India, but also in other parts of the world as well.

Having discussed the benefits of dancing, it is worth noting that there are so many dance styles to choose from, depending from person to person, right from Indian Classical Dance to Ballroom Dancing, Jazz, Salsa, Rock and Roll etc. Choreography is a lucrative career in the film industry, and several instructors of the above mentioned dance schools have participated in regional, national and international shows. However, coming down to people who just wish to stay healthy and fit, this is an easy and enjoyable method to achieve your goals.

Concluding with the motto of SDIPA, in Shiamak Davar’s words-“Have feet, will dance”, one can safely say it doesn’t matter even if you have two left feet!

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Aditi Ghosh