Art of movement

Aug 05, 2014, 10:30 IST | Kartiki Nitin Lawate

Pune-based dance company, Irisha and Awadhesh (I&A), won six trophies at the recently-concluded Asia Open Championships 2014. the guide spoke to its founder, Irisha Poonawalla, about the competition and more

Irisha Poonawalla
Irisha Poonawalla

Q. What was the experience like participating at the recently concluded Asia Open Championship?
A. The exercise was very different for us as it was the first time that Irisha and Awadesh (I&A) students had participated in a competition. We had to take care of every small detail, from the dress and shoes to the technical steps in the dance while performing on stage. We competed against 286 participants and yet, we won around six grand trophies and titles.

Q. Was it difficult selecting the right candidates for the competition?
A. It was not an easy task, especially since we are not a dance troupe. We teach dance, but we decided to go a step ahead this time. We formed a core team of good dancers, and then taught them the technicalities of the dances. We practiced a lot for it. Apart from Awadhesh and I, there were three core team members whom we selected to participate in the event.

The members of Irisha and Awadhesh dance troupe
The members of Irisha and Awadhesh dance troupe

Q. Who were the toughest competitors at the championship?

A. Dancers from Singapore and Hong Kong were the best and the toughest competitors. They are trained in dance from childhood. Dancers from Singapore are the toughest competitors as they are well-learned and very disciplined. They don’t want to do anything but win.

Q. How big a role does dance play in your life? How did you get into dancing?
A. Dancing means a lot of things to me. It is about being able to dance and at the same time stay in a good shape. It’s a multi-dimensional thing. We need to push more and more to succeed in it, but at the same time it’s about enriching your mind, body and soul. It helps you concentrate on all facets of life. It makes you realise that it’s only when your soul is happy that the body and mind are happy. 

Q. Pune will be hosting a new dance event in 2015. Could you please share some details about it?
A. In 2015, Pune will host the first India International Bachata and Salsa Congress 2015. It’s a first of its kind with a special focus on dance styles such as Bachata, Kizomba and Tango. We want people to come to the Congress to learn and teach the right way of practicing different dance forms.  Irisha and Awadhesh will be one of the organisers along with John Anthony, the organiser of the renowned India International Dance Congress. Interested readers can log on to to participate in the congress.

Q. What tips would you give to those wanting to learn Salsa?
A. Whatever you do, don’t do a copy-paste job. Do your own original thing and have a flow in your steps. Know the techniques well, and have an open mind towards it. Remember that any dance form requires a lot of practice and willingness to learn, and you are learning something new. As for performers, they must first understand the song, it’s only then that your performance will come out well.

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