HYDERABAD: Dance is all about expressing oneself. It can be a great stress buster and the easiest way to ease those tense muscles. But are you shy to shake a leg at social gatherings? Do you love to and only jive when in known and comfortable company or when are alone? This piece is for you, my friend.
Introducing dance socials — these are events where people can not only socialise but also dance their heart out, under the guidance of an instructor. The best part — no one’s judging you. Dance socials are gaining popularity in Hyderabad, with many hangouts in the city hosting them. The idea is to drop all inhibitions and hit the dance floor. Tango, salsa, belly dancing — name it and you will find a dance social of your choice happening somewhere or the other in the city.
Vaibhav Kumar Modi, a Kathak dancer and co-founder of the Hyderabad Dance Festival, explains how the trend caught on in the city. “I have attended multiple socials. I come from a classical genre of dance which have baithaks. These are informal meetings where artistes perform and learn from each other. These were the creative outlets for understanding and learning from each other’s experiences. The concept of dance socials is not new — it has got a new name with time,” he says.
Socials, according to Vaibhav, play an important role in the pro-creation of creative talent. “Working together and sharing takes your art forward. With the current hustle-bustle of life, we definitely need spaces that host socials, where you can learn and chill out at the same time. There is a filter created that the art is only for the elite, that filter needs to be broken and art needs to be brought into public places. Dance socials is a step towards this,” says Vaibahv, who has participated in belly dancing socials.
Reeja Karrai, a Bharatanatyam dancer with foundational training in Kathak, Salsa, Jazz and belly dancing, was the first to start the belly dance social community in Hyderabad. “Belly dancing started here about three years ago. We have a half-lead circle, where one person dances in the centre and the others follow. One thing with belly dancing is that, it’s taboo for many. So, I thought why not open a school here (Rustology) and shed this stigma around this dance form?” she says.
Originated in Egypt, belly dancing is a dance of solidarity and community, and the circle symbolises just that. “Through these socials, we want to erase these judgments about belly dancing. Today, there are a lot of dance forms which are structured with international trainers and that’s also why socials are trending in Hyderabad,” says Reeja.
Sandeep Rawat, a network engineer with Microsoft, a Tango dancer and trainer, talks about how the dance form has entered the socials circuit. “It has been more than 10 years since this has started. We have a dance studio, Curole, and this is a platform that showcases different forms of dance, including salsa. These are social dances where people get together and dance. It has many reasons to trend and one of them is the music. I am part of the Hyderabad Tango Club. We all learned dance here and are holding a social. Everyone needs these socials so that people can open up,” he says. In tango, it is called Meelanga, which means a place where people come together to dance. People dance with complete strangers and get better with their moves.
Bhoomika Perti, the social media marketing manager of Sacred Earth Café in Madhapur, talks about why this popular hangout started dance socials. “Dance socials are dance get-togethers, there are different kinds of dance socials and the ones we are doing are Afro-Latin. This includes zumba, salsa, bechata and raxo. People dance under the guidance of international trainers and Jegatha Muralidharan, popularly known as Jags. We have a beautiful terrace where we host these events. Also, this is a safe space for women to dance, which is the motto of our café. Not a lot of people give space for dance and Sacred Earth gives the platform to people who love to dance,” she says. The cafe hosts the socials on Tuesdays and charge Rs 200 per head.
Dance socials are gaining popularity in Hyderabad, with many hangouts hosting them. The idea is to drop all inhibitions and hit the dance floor. Tango, salsa, belly dancing — name it and you will find a dance social of your choice happening somewhere or the other in the city