For most Bangaloreans, Kirthi Kishore and Sai Raja need no introduction. These internationally recognized Latin dance artists are the founder-directors of Latin Dance India, Bangalore’s premiere dance academy, and a driving force behind the vibrant salsa scene in Bangalore.
In this candid conversation, Kirthi talks about the challenges and rewards of dancing and performing in India.
Tell us a little about yourselves and Latin Dance India
Sai has been dancing for the last 15 years, although he only started salsa around 10 years ago. I (Kirthi) on the other hand, completed college, and then took some salsa classes just to idle away the hours. Before I knew it, I was into it full time.
We launched our dance school “Latin Dance India” in Bangalore in 2009. We have trained thousands of dance enthusiasts since then, and inspired many of our students to make salsa an active part of their lives. We love teaching and performing. Salsa is everything to us.
What is your favorite thing about salsa dancing and performing?
Our favourite part of salsa is ‘social dancing’ as it’s a great experience to dance with people from different walks of life. You are constantly learning, and making new friends.
We also love performing, which is challenging yet thrilling. Sai and I have been recognized for our high energy and fast routines. It gives us a rush!!!
What do you think is the hardest thing about salsa?
Salsa needs time, training, technique and most importantly, patience. One needs to give it at least 3 years to become adequate at the dance form, so you need to have discipline and focus, be regular to classes, practice hard and attend salsa socials to experience the essence of this dance. Sounds challenging, but trust us, the journey is great fun.
What has been the most gratifying factor in teaching at Latin Dance India for you?
It is extremely satisfying to see that we can touch so many lives through teaching salsa. We have trained dancers who have gone on to compete and win competitions. Others have gone on to become instructors themselves. Through salsa, we also teach people how to be social, make friends, how to and how not to behave with the opposite sex, and become more confident through dance.
What do you think about the dance scene in Bangalore in particular, and India in general?
Bangalore is the salsa capital of India. There are a lot of dance schools helping people to take up dancing, not just as a hobby but as career, as well as a lot of good instructors.
India is slowly but surely changing its opinion on dance – for the better. Today, the talent and hard work of dancers is being recognized and showcased. India has a long way to go in terms of taking dance seriously as a career, but we are on our way to do so.
Featured image source: Latin Dance India