I hurt my knee hours before the performance...

Irisha Poonawala and Awadhesh Pratap Singh Chauhan who got the opportunity to participate in LA Salsa Congress as the first Indian Professional Couple are now all set to make their mark at India International Dance Congress at Bengaluru.

Irisha Poonawala

1. Tell us about LA Salsa Congress, were you all prepared to participate in it?
My partner Awadhesh Pratap Singh Chauhan and I were training under John Narvaez for many days. John is an undoubted Salsa exponent and is very famous in the world of Latin dance. It was a great opportunity for us to master our techniques under his tutelage. John’s troupe was to perform at Salsa Congress.

A day earlier to their performance John suggested we perform too. It was jaw dropping moment for us. All this while we were social dancers and lacked the insane practice sessions that John’s troupe was putting in. Hours before the actual performance, I had a knee cap dislocation. A nurse who was present among the participants helped me fix the knee cap. The pain did not subside even then but I did not want to loose the opportunity and we performed on stage.

2. What made you take up Salsa?
During my college days, I used to play the role of a Jive dancer in a play, I was training under Revati Salunkhe in a contemporary dancing workshop. Soon I was offered a trainee instructor’s job. But among all the dance forms, I found Salsa more interesting.

The Afro Spanish flavour, music and steps makes it truly global. In addition, Salsa is a great stress buster and gives a sense of confidence to those who perform it. It was during my course of training where I met my dance partner Awadhesh, who is an Engineer by profession. We are still saving money to train under Salsa Masters to improve our techniques and authenticity.

3. What is your dream as far as Salsa is concerned?
We run a small studio at my residence on weekends. Our target is to emerge aong the top two at All India Salsa Congress, training our students to compete at National level is also our dream. Our students are college students, doctors, engineers, teachers, It’s not just about the class but we make new friends. We are saving money to be able to travel to learn techniques from Salsa Masters from all over the world. We want to make India’s mark on the world map when it comes to Salsa.

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