09 July 2011

Dance is Meditation

Dancing to us is sacred.  In different cultures across the world, dancing is instrumental in creating; sustaining and nurturing a vast majority of people .For example the indigenous dance form like the folk dances of a culture are links to the past traditions and also functions as a healing group therapy of sorts. Dance movements are gateways to freedom from pain and when they are practised with a pure intention it takes the person to a higher level of consciousness and spending time in such an endearing atmosphere can be enriching and refreshing experience for anyone of any age.

Dance can be therapeutic as certain movements slows down our brain processes and calms a person minimising anxiety and pain, and heals one emotionally as well as keeps us physically fit ,On the other hand certain movements makes us livelier and  upbeat and the person begets a state of being happy about oneself. As there is an endorphin release which makes the person absolutely positive about life. However it is very important to also realise that movements and music also have varying effects on people .So it is important to choose the right dance form according to what one requires and his present state of mind.

At the  workshops we tend to use music and some movements which are unfamiliar to the learners as it expands their thought process .On the physical level the body starts to at times first rebel then acclimatize to a new series of movements suited to the person’s needs .There is  tremendous need to be more psychological in ones approach to the learners and that’s what actually works for them .One can notice that though the present generation is one that seems to have moved away from spirituality and concepts of higher consciousness  and seems to have shifted away from their natural states in alignment, soothing and healing movements from other cultures do have a profound effect no matter ,and they are far more accepting and keen for a global perspective.

So it’s a given that one’s imbibed knowledge is to be shared as much as possible and not kept under lock and key as sharing of knowledge opens up the endless possibilities for both sides. At Dance Concepts workshops the aim is to be positive about learning, sharing and realizing the joy of rhythms in music and movement because ultimately it’s all about the rhythm that is present in everything around us whatever our cultural differences.For eg ;There are dances which are akin to a wakeup call for the soul  like the samba rhythms  or the jive beats make a dull person active , takes away built up tensions and warms and energizes  a person with feel good positivity  .Likewise the dances like the waltz known for its timeless  elegance and grace improves balance ,stability composure and poise  .  This is what we are striving to achieve with our mixed bag of dance workshops which can take a person through a journey into time, different cultures and traditions and genres of music.



29 June 2011


Dancing is the rhythm of life which is primarily a motion based on a thought that a movement could simply express what could be a volume of words. Every time the creative spurts are awakened through artistic activity there is rebirth of energy moving to unfold itself in a unique way, justifying the quest to the depths of the art form. 

 As dancers perfect their skills they become aware of the economy of movement along with its ergonomics. The road is tiresome, winding, the journey full of discipline although it builds the strength of character required to dance beyond oneself. This dedication is necessary and must never be taken for granted. Likewise as the dancers take on the mantle of a teacher the focus must be on sharing the knowledge than teaching, their aim must be simply to rekindle and stimulate the learner’s mind, towards a journey of self discoveries, realization and finally awakening! 

A good teacher is so much than just about credentials and certificates and awards. A teacher must make every student feel respected and communicated to fostering a positive self image with responsibility and punctuality amongst students . Practicing whatever one learns  is important to both the student and teacher at every level of learning. As a dancer becomes more and more poised and surefooted its naturally going to bring about many wonderful and positive changes in life , both  in the physical body  and mental attitudes.

 Dancing with a partner for example  teaches empathy, compassion and awareness of the body and mind along with teamwork. In today's world that seems so focused on self aggrandizement  it definitely would be good  idea then to  learn to sustain  this learning in other spheres of ones life  and  share this knowledge with  others too ...

Joy of Dancing Naturally

Here I am learning to embrace life in its myriad forms, from the joy of movement to the serenity of silence as well as the journey of silence to movement. In this lies the entire universe and the answer to almost all human endeavors .Along the way have discovered that I love to introduce people to the joys of dancing naturally, as much as my  favored  Latin & Ballroom dancing styles.I share my love for these art forms with all those keen to learn and enjoy these simple pleasures of life whatever their age.

Every dance form is an assimilation of the hopes, aspirations, trials and tribulations of the culture it originates from, so to truly understand the dance one must go back to where and when it all began. For instance travel the journey back in time and realize that a dance form from say Dominican Republic like their national dance Merengue,which seems so much, an expression of exhilaration of life, has more to do with the original pitiable living conditions of the African Slaves of the plantation  masters. These slaves lived a life of subjugation, cruelty and domination being shackled with heavy chains lest the escape. And their very love for life and the need to live the moment happily, comes from their testing living conditions. One can’t help but appreciate the tenacity of the human mind to survive against all odds...

This knowledge of the history of the dance is of good use to the keen student as it becomes very easy to imbibe the attitude of that dance form with even just a reflection of that culture.Taking the students through a journey of movement, pertaining to Latin and ballroom styles, techniques and partner connections and then enthusing in them an appreciation of the art form is something  I have been doing through my Latin &Ballroom Dance Workshops.

 Currently the Dance For Wellness Workshops  is on every Sunday at a couple of  locations in  Mumbai & Thane . If you would like to register yourself for the workshop you can  email danceconcepts@rediffmail.com for further details. 


20 June 2011

The Student and the Teacher: A Dance of Symbiosis!

 Every learning is a two way process. There is the imparter of knowledge, skill and wisdom of truth and the factual, who could be called a guru, teacher, facilitator…. Then there is the one who receives, assimilates, processes, synthesizes and is then convinced about his or her interpretation of assimilation of truth enough to be called the student, shishya, disciple etc.  Now as learning is a never ending process of growth and realization all the seekers of knowledge should have the channels of thoughts words and deeds open for correction, improvement and also be able to retain and sustain the available information to the best of their abilities.
 The interpretation of knowledge may happen with respect to the personal state of mind and matter of the receiver no matter whether he is the student or a teacher. Both are only human and they are bound to the imperfections of human nature. The sheer physical or mental magnetism a teacher or student exudes or otherwise must not undermine the purpose. So certain restraint in conduct, both in the physical and mental sense must be in place for a mutually symbiotic relationship to take place. It’s very important for this realization to be clear and apparent enough between both of them before they can begin a journey of refinement that knowledge brings forth. In a situation of misplaced judgement it is important for the other to coach and coax the unwilling and astray mule in the mind of the erring person, back on to the road, whoever they are, student or teacher. As learning is a two way street. The learning will at times make the student a teacher and the teacher a student in the journey of realization.
Many a times the temptation of thoughts will bring even the most dedicated of students or teachers to testing the real purpose of their efforts and practice. At this juncture the control of mind and body actions must be exercised. This if left unchecked could leave room for unnecessary situations which could harm the beautiful synthesis and symbiotic nature of the student teacher relationship. . The boundaries of mind are easily even more difficult to fathom and clarify. It is simple and wise to let the mind be grounded, focused and steadfast in its purpose enough to be clear about the distinction and distance to be maintained while the learning relationship is taking place. As a single stray thought, or action could cause confusion enough to completely toss the relationship boundaries to levels which may be difficult to tilt back to states of equilibrium that needs to be maintained. The teacher must make it clear to himself or herself and to the students that he is there for the purpose of teaching and sharing the knowledge that he has been privy to, probably because of his own levels of ability, understanding, karma, dedication or steadfastness and discipline in acquiring the related skill.  This act itself clears the ground for proper acceptance of a teacher’s education The thought and senses need to be checked before every movement such that there is respect enough for the student towards the teachers’ knowledge and in doing so the teacher manages to gain the required acceptance from the student and learning resumes. 

But this is only one side of the coin the student too has certain modes of conduct which must be observed and never crossed. It is very important to understand neither first of all that neither a teachers time must not be taken for granted nor his teachings. They will be there for you as you need it and thus trust enough to understand that you cannot learn more or less of anything than what is required for you at that time. Secondly it is important that both accept and follow the principles of conduct in which learning is taking place  which is ideally laid down by the form or subject to ensure that both do not stray beyond the boundaries and go off track .
 The purpose of learning is absolutely free flowing and spills over to life and its situations and circumstances so this association of thought must not be confused with favoritism and partiality of any kind between both of them. In some learning the personal space both physical and mental greatly narrows down between the teacher and student putting them in a quandary especially if both are seeing a reflection of thoughts and actions in each other. This is definitely a situation to exercise caution enough to circumvent the spill over of knowledge beyond the cup of the mind. Finally there is the need to assimilate and interpret an information and only then act upon it , not get taken by impulse so much that you don’t give  the other side the benefit of doubt.
 The realization that experiences necessary for your learning and growth come to you must be clear but at the same time you must realise that no student or teacher can exercise and influence you to the degree that you do not want to be.


15 June 2011

For The love of Samba!

Samba is a lively energetic and fun dance which fits in with much of today’s popular music. The samba word refers to pray or invoke the patron saint . The Samba dance history is a rich cultural one
 With beginnings in Brazil in the 19th century,the origins can be traced to African slaves brought to Brazil in the 16th and 17th century. The local Portuguese settlers imbibed their music and beats and infused it with their sensibilities and brought about the Brazilian urban couple dance the Maxixe pronounced (ma shi sh). 
Samba dances are done to samba music, and like there are many types of samba music, there are many types of samba dances. The Samba per se however has had so many variations in forms to the point that what we now consider as the Ballroom Samba is totally different in form to the Brazilian Samba which is danced at their local festivals to the layman although it does share  some close connections to the keen observer.
 The Samba beat and dance characterised by a rhythmic bounce capture’s the heart of all those who have chanced upon it. . The rhythm is fast and full of energy, so the music encourages people to really get up and dance. Whether one gets up to do a solo samba or to dance a samba with a partner, the music will move you to the dance floor. Samba music is infectious almost to the point of the beat cutting through barriers of race culture traditions and time that when you hear the Samba music the beat makes you move your body from your heart. It’s earthy sensual and surprisingly very grounding. The dance moments too have the same appeal naturally, and it’s almost as if you energize by pushing onto the very ground and imploring the connection to strengthen you as you dance to its mesmerizing beats.
The dance is vivacious and definitely keeps you in the now. How can you possibly be thinking of anything that’s gone by and what lies ahead if you are truly connected and moving with your Samba beats The rhythm moves you from within compelling you to enjoy this present moment and making you live this moment in life in its fullest glory and we learn to enjoy and appreciate the many many bounties that life has to offer and realise through every step of life the freedom that comes from within.
‘Practice dancing mindfully and see the difference it brings to your life’ 


23 February 2011

Changing Nature of Social Dancing in India

  A perspective on  Social Partner Dancing in India:

 Social dancing is more liberal  now compared to the past decades or so . More and more people are going the Latin and Ballroom dance way. Gradually its very evident that dancing  socially is not taboo and even  dancing  in close hold  need not be scorned on  and that it might be perfectly alright if  the two people dancing fabulously on the dance floor are not even a couple or friends  , probably just acquaintances or even complete strangers  to one another.

Dancing has become a popular hobby in India of late with more and more people attending various classes in order to stay in good shape and be healthy too.Earlier Ballroom dancing was mostly
non choreographed with  a leader and a follower, nowadays people seem to relate to the competitive style of Ballroom and Latin dancing , which are more rigorous in terms of training and routines which are performance and show based. Romance, passion and having a good time are the other reasons than fitness , which draws many to learn all these partner dance forms . 

For instance one gets hooked by the sleek, seductive passionate movements in a dance like the Tango , whether you are just viewing or dancing it.  The striking costumes and sharp and staccato  movements make it all the more alluring and fascinating enough to tempt  anyone to learning it whatever the age.  Actually a  few good lessons is all it takes to realize the feeling of moving in perfect opposition and yet in total sync with each other.

 If you are interested in learning to dance any of these international dance forms  you must start by zeroing in on a style that would suit you and your attitude. It would be a good idea to buy some comfortable and  stretchy  clothes  that you feel comfortable  enough to be amongst people , invest in clothes which give freedom of movement. In case of Ballroom and Latin Dances it would be a good idea to check with your instructor as to the kind of shoe to wear as some teachers recommend a special kind of shoe for the particular style they are teaching. These are necessary as they are specifically designed to work best for the corresponding dance forms movement mechanics.

Personally after an overdose of media exposure of the dance styles in possibly every form and crowd pulling antics by the performers and the organizers, I have at many a times  wondered if it was a partner dance or a circus show or even acrobatics with so many dangerous  lifts  thrown in  that  I  feel I would prefer to watch a social dancer dancing impromptu with may be a perfect stranger and yet be able to relate , communicate and innovate  beautifully through the non verbal language of  dance ! This is after all the ultimate test for any dancer to create an artistic  piece of work  that draws out every nuance of  learning and puts it to good use.
Social Dancing is actually is a fun way to bring together like minded people displaying artistically creative moves in the spur of the moment . After all excellence in dancing is  the art of making it work for you the way you want it to when you want it to….. 

 Savvy Raj