Everyone should try dance irrespective of their age: Broadway Dance Center choreographer Ravi Rastogi

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.

“Since dance is my passion, I enjoy every bit of it, whether dancing or teaching. Also, it doesn’t matter to me 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 a fitness coach.

His students, in the age group of six to sixty years, are gearing up for the annual showcase ‘Dance Fiesta 2019’ today 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.

But isn’t dance forms like Zumba too energetic for someone over 60? “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, who is also a certified Zumba and Aqua Zumba instructor from the Aqua Zumba Convention in Orlando, USA.

Inspired by the belief to make dancing an innate way to lead a “beautiful life”, 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”.

To pursue his passion for dance, Bareilly-born Rastogi moved to Delhi at the age of 15. Despite the initial struggles and negligible 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 learnt Salsa from world-renowned teachers, Eddie Torres and Frankie Martinez, and through one of his elder students, 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 2000-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, and just being in New York City where street dancing is so much popular,” he recalls.

For many, dance is the source of joy where the foot begins to tap automatically to the rhythm of music. Which is why, there has been rise in the dance being seen as a way of fitness. “Yes, to some extent, its right but not fully as some of the western dances are used as club and social dances,” points out Rastogi.

His top five dance picks for fitness would comprise Zumba (mix of dance and exercise helps break the routine), Jazz (it has floor and bar technique which balances the body), Hip-Hop (its freestyle street dance with B-boying gives strength to the body), Ballet (the classical style of dancing gives balance and extension to the body) and Contemporary (like dance-drama which is a mix of many western style of dancing, resulting in better body postures and mental relaxation).

Happy about the growing awareness about “different styles of dance”, the 34-year-old, concurs that reality dance shows have added to the dance culture in India. “It is true because people have become aware about the different dance styles,” he says.

For novices, Rastogi shares that dance is a sustainable career, if one is “focused and thoroughly professional”. “Hard work, determination and capability to face the challenges is the mantra” he says.

Rastogi, who wants to open up a “Western Dance Institute of a World class standard”, says one of his desires is to shape up some of the western dance forms with the mix of folk dances.

Keeping his passion for dance in mind, ask him, what does he do when he is not on the dance floor? “That’s the most boring time of my day when I am not dancing. But then, I do choreography. Also, I start planning expansion, and creating shows,” he says.

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