Dance to win

Published: Sep 14, 2012, 08:05 IST | Surekha S

Watch over a hundred couples put forth their best moves as they compete in different categories of Western dance, at the 4th Annual Maharashtra State Championships

From Latin, Cha Cha and Rumba to Samba, Ballroom Waltz, Bachata and Argentine Tango, over a hundred couples showcasing one of these dance forms will put their best foot forward in the 4th Annual Maharashtra State Championship, to be held this Saturday at the NCPA.

Four years back, Dr Priti Gupta and her partner Shannon Benjamin started a dance academy called DanceSport India, where they have been teaching different styles of Western dance. Having represented India at the DanceSport championships abroad, they realised that there is no forum for dance sport in the country.

Dr Priti Gupta and Shannon Benjamin, founders of DanceSport India


DanceSport is a team sport that has drawn people in over 84 countries on all six continents into its spell. It made its debut in the 2010 Asian Games and is bidding to be included in the Olympics as well. “We realised that in India there was no forum where competitive dancing was taught and we decided to start DanceSport here,” explains Gupta.

They also became founder members of DanceSport Association of Maharashtra and the first DanceSport Championship took place in 2009. “The first year, we had 30 competing couples. But there was a huge crowd and it was a huge success. After that edition, the number of participants seemed to have doubled every year.

This year, we have close to 120 couples participating,” informs Gupta adding, “There are different categories, and we have people of all age groups participating. We have beginners, intermediate, masters, junior, youth and even a teacher-student category. Our youngest participant is five while our oldest this year, is 78.” The championship will also witness people from different parts of the country as it also includes categories that are open to participants outside Maharashtra.
The categories were also fewer in the initial years.

This year, they have included styles like Argentine Tango and Bachata to the championship. There will be about 40 to 50 rounds and in the initial rounds, many couples will take on the stage together to showcase their talent. The winners will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 15,000. There will also be medals, trophies and certificates that will be given out to participants. There are also six full passes to be won for the World Bachata Festival to be held in Malaysia in October 2012.

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