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METRO WORKOUT

Latkas and jatkas, too much!

NIKHIL VARMA goes to a Bollywood dance class and finds that he has two left feet

Photo: Murali Kumar K.

AGILE BODIES The movements are quick and the dances are so perfectly synchronised

“The key to good dancing is agility, speed and flexibility” yells Arun, an instructor at the Bollywood dance classes conducted at the Alliance Francaise. The entire class contains a smattering of foreign nationals from across the planet. Arun boasts: “I can claim that I teach Bollywood dance to the world.” He says that the latkas and jatkas, a standard procedure in most dance sequences are strenuous exercises. “Bollywood dances exercises all parts of your body.”

As the session began, I make efforts to get my clumsy frame to move in tandem with the music and the other students who are dancing beautifully in perfect synchronisation to Kannada and Hindi film songs. Seeing me battle my slow reflexes, Arun remarks: “Don’t remain stiff. Relax and make your body flexible. Concentrate on the steps and try to move in tandem with the rest of us,” even as he attempts them in style.

The dance form has been pioneered by Arun himself.

He says: “It provides a great deal of entertainment and also exercises the entire body, right from head to toe. It makes you sweat profusely and provides a good workout to your muscles and is also helpful in dealing with heart-related ailments. It has been very popular among the expatriates, who feel the urge to embrace certain aspects of Indian popular culture. They mostly serve in India for a couple of years and in many cases, they manage to induct more students into my classes when they leave.”

On my rather inept dancing skills, he consoles me and says, “Though it seems to be very simple, it is not always the case. It takes at least a month to learn the dance steps of even the simple songs, leave alone the tough ones.” The hour long workout begins with a small aerobics session, followed by nearly four gruelling dance sequences that involves moving and gyrating almost all parts of the body. The movements are quick and the dances are so perfectly synchronised that you actually feel amazed that most dancers did not have much of an idea about the language and the dance form earlier.

As Arun has pointed out, the dance session, in spite of all my clumsiness and initial worries, I did enjoy the session. Those interested in shaking a leg contact Arun at 98804 36862. The classes are held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. at the Alliance Francaise at Vasant Nagar.

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