Located a little further down a quiet bylane off the hustling and bustling,popularly referred to as the ‘Burger King’ junction off East Street is Talwalkar’s Gym in Camp. As one approaches the dance studio on the second floor of this gym,the vibe of the music,owing to Dance-a-thon,a 12-hour-long dance session,makes them want to run up the steps faster and in rhythm with the music.
After the initial warm-up (running up the steps) we entered the dance studio and wait for the on-going salsa session to wrap up. Just after the group of dance enthusiasts take their final bow,the floor is cleared for the next dance session,Belly Dancing hosted by Essa Duhaime,a belly dance instructor from Diva Belly Dance Academy.
There were twelve eager-to-learn participants who had gathered at the centre of the dance studio for the belly dance session as Essa addressed the group on the holistic benefits of belly dancing. She explained how the dance form is designed to suit every body type of women and how the muscles of a woman’s body quickly gets accustomed to the movements involved in the dance form.
The session started with the participants rummaging through a heap of hip scarves and picking out what suits them best. Ready with the hip scarves fastened around their waists,the participants got into three rows facing Essa,who demonstrated the Shasay,one of the basic steps of belly dancing. Starting off with the easiest step,the participants got comfortable with the new genre and were ready for the complicated hip circles and shimmies that followed.
Essa broke the steps up into their basic steps. The participants were asked to start spot walking slowly and increase their speed gradually,swaying their hips at all times. This ended up in a Shakira-shimmy that the participants never thought they could pick up in an hour-long belly dance session. The fascination and pride that they could do what they watched Shakira do on television,was glowing on their faces.
A number of unfamiliar Arabian songs played while the session continued,the participants were almost unaware that the songs even changed until a familiar tune was heard Khaled’s 1994 hit N’ssi N’ssi– which pumped in more enthusiasm into the participants.
By the end of the session,the group had learnt a variety of basic belly dancing steps,which were synchronised into a quick two minute choreography. The ladies,happy with new techniques and tricks of the dance form learnt through the session,took their final bow with grace and poise and made room for the floor for the next dance session of bachata,a Latin Dance style.