“Since dance is my passion, I enjoy every bit of it, whether dancing or teaching. Also, it doesn’t matter how old my student is. I indulge them as per their age and conceive the steps as their body demands,” says Ravi Rastogi, a choreographer from Broadway Dance Center, New York, and fitness coach.
Inspired to make dancing a way of life and use it as a means to attain physical fitness and emotional stability, Rastogi, who is also the Founder and Creative Director of Moving Souls, one of the famous dance academies in Delhi since 2010, says, “To my mind, dance completes one’s life. I would recommend that everyone should try it and feel the difference irrespective of their age and circumstances.”
Happy about the growing awareness of “different styles of dance”, the 34-year-old concurs that reality dance shows have added to the dance culture in India. Which is why, there has been a rise in dance fitness.
His top five picks would be: Zumba which is a mix of dance and exercise that helps break the routine, Jazz, since it has floor and bar techniques which balances the body, Hip-Hop for its freestyle street dance with B-boying which gives strength to the body, Ballet for its flexibility and Contemporary dance like dance-drama for better body postures and mental relaxation.
How did it all start?
To pursue his passion for dance, Bareilly-born Rastogi moved to Delhi at the age of 15. Despite the initial struggle and very little support from his father, with the help of his late elder brother, he trained himself in various dance forms including Salsa, Bachata, Cha Cha Cha, Merengue, Jazz, Hip-Hop and Bollywood. He is also a certified Zumba and Aqua Zumba instructor from the Aqua Zumba Convention in Orlando, USA.
He learnt Salsa from world-renowned teachers, Eddie Torres and Frankie Martinez, and also got an opportunity to train in jazz from Broadway Dance Centre in New York in 2013. “I came to know about Broadway Dance Centre from the movie ‘Center Stage’. I have been wanting to go there since then and when I actually got the opportunity, the experience was terrific in terms of the artistic elements,” he recalls.
Today, the choreographer who has students in the age group of six to sixty years tailors dance moves according to his students. For instance, for individuals over 60 years, he slows down the rhythm. “The trick is to start at their level and build their confidence. For that, I edit the music to a slower rhythm, then tweak a few technicalities and see them enjoy the dance form — the happiness, I guess, reflects in their energy level. I make it a point to include isolation techniques, where one body part is moving while others remain still,” says Rastogi.
On May 6, his students are gearing up for the annual showcase ‘Dance Fiesta 2019’ at M L Bhartia Auditorium, Alliance Francaise, New Delhi, where scintillating dance styles including Salsa, Zumba, Bollywood and Jazz will be presented from 7 pm to 9 pm.