The grace in their fall
Pune-based Salsa dance studio Two Left Feet will be representing India at the World Salsa Summit 2019 starting in Miami on Jan 8
Pune-based dance studio Two Left Feet at MultiFit, Kalyani Nagar, is all set to send the best of their best to the World Salsa Summit in Miami, 2019. Founders-instructors Awadhesh Pratap Singh Chauhan and Prajakta Patil have shortlisted two pairs out of 12 couples, to represent India at the summit which starts today (January 8).
Chauhan, who started dancing at the age of 24, says the first dance form he learnt was Salsa. “My friend got me into salsa. I first started dancing at the age of 24 and Salsa was the first form of dance which I was exposed to. With time, I started loving the dance form and my dancing ambition grew towards the same. After finishing a few levels in Pune, I went to Bengaluru because I didn’t want to stay at one place and wanted to get better. In Bengaluru, I trained under a Cuban American dance teacher and then again after a brief period of time, I moved to San Francisco and trained under my mentors John Narvaez, Liz Rojas and Oliver Pineda. So every time I moved to a new place, I had to start from scratch because every trainer has a different technique. It was a fresh start for me every time,” expresses Chauhan.
His partner Patil started dancing at the age of four. She has explored various dance forms — from Bharatanatyam to Belly Dancing. “I have alwyas been a dancer. I learnt Bharatanatyam and post that, started working for Shiamak Davar as a dance instructor. After working there for some time, I started learning Belly Dancing. It was then that I met Awadhesh and we started dating. Since we both were dancers and did two completely different dance styles, we couldn’t really spend much time together. So, I decided to join his Salsamania India and it turned out that I was quite good at Salsa. Therefore, I received a scholarship to go abroad and learn the dance form. When I came back to India after my training, both of us decided to start teaching together and that is how Two Left Feet happened last year,” says Patil.
Patil and Chauhan always wanted to perform at the World Salsa Summit. They were training very hard for it but last year, the couple met with a major accident so they won’t be able to perform at the summit this year. They however did not give up. Instead, they trained their other team members for the summit. “Prajakta and I are taking a year off because she is still recovering, but next year, we are definitely performing at the summit,” says Chauhan.
Talking about the training process, he says, “We stated practising for the summit from October 2017. The training started with 12 couples out of which now we have the two pairs who will be going for to Miami. They practise vigorously because there is no room for mistake there. Before the final performance, we have made them perform at different places so that they can get over any inhibitions that they might have and get stronger and more confident about their craft.”
The two couples, who will be performing at the international platform, come from different backgrounds but all of them have a common love — dancing. Brijendra Gupta, 30-year-old software engineer from Madhya Pradesh, has been a dancer for quite sometime now. His forte was Bollywood until he joined Chauhan to learn Salsa four years back and now he will be representing his country. “To be very honest, I never thought I would be performing at a such big stage. When we started training for the summit, I wasn’t sure if I was good enough and didn’t even expect that I would be one of the top four dancers who would be going to Miami. The credit goes to our instructors. They have been very helpful and patient and that is why I have been able to do this. They made us perform at several events so that we would feel more confident about our craft. I am looking forward to the summit and will make sure that I win it for all of us,” says Gupta.
Gupta’s dance partner Dr Auroshikha Das is originally from Odisha. A dentist by profession, she has been learning from Chauhan since the past two years. “I am crazy about dancing and I am really glad that Two Left Feet is giving me this opportunity to represent my country. Awadhesh and Prajakta know how important Salsa is to me and I am extremely happy that they feel I am prepared to go to Miami. I am going to give my best shot and hopefully win it too,” says Das.
The other city-based dancers going to Miami include Dhwani Bhavsar, a software engineer and Ritika Pandey, a mechanical engineer.
Apart from practising Salsa, the participants have also been sweating it out at the gym. “All the four participants have been thoroughly working out at the gym since the training started. We have been doing a lot of muscle training which is very important in the improvement of dance techniques. Excersises like core conditioning, hand stand practices, calisthenics, etc. All these activities increases upper body strength which is very important in this dance form,” says Chauhan.
Talking about the diet, Chauhan says, “They don’t have a specific diet to follow, but a balanced diet is a must. Whatever they consume should be consumed in appropriate amount, nothing too less or more.”