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Getting into the groove in Goa

The fourth edition of the Goa International Dance Congress will bring out more colourful flavours to social dances like Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba as participants from across India will be dancing to these beats in Goa. The three-day dance event has been gaining momentum over the last few years, with more Indians showing more interest in Latin dances. This year, the festival will be held from October 5 to 7, 2018 at different venues starting off with a meet and greet at Cohiba, Sinquerim.

Rocky Poonawala, Founder and Director of Rocky Poonawala’s Entertainment Pvt Ltd, has been in the dance industry in India for many years, keeping a keen eye on which dance forms are gaining popularity. “I have been a fan of Goa since I was a kid. This is the fourth time we are organising the Goa International Dance Congress in Goa and it is one of the best feelings to come down to Goa. It is an awesome experience and I am very excited about the festival. There are a lot of festivals that have been taking place throughout the year that give participants options to choose from. We are expecting around 100-150 dance enthusiasts for GIDC,” says Rocky Poonawala, who started his own dance school in 1995.

“We have people coming from Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Pune, Hyderabad and Ludhiana. It’s a gathering of dancers from different parts of India and also Goa. Darryl D’Souza from Goa will be a dance instructor for the festival, while other dancers like Dr Martin D’Costa of Dance Illusions, Abhisekh Soman and Amit Rajput will be coming either for the workshops, parties and events,” says Rocky.

Speaking about how Latin dances are gaining more popularity in India in comparison to ballroom dancing, Rocky says, “Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba are Latin dances but also social dance forms that are quick to learn and get on the floor. We also have a group of 45 dancers from Ludhiana, who will be teaching Masala bhangra frequency by Gautam and a pool party with Bollywood dancing for the participants, which makes it five dance forms in three days.”

The event will begin at Cohiba on Friday night, which is the biggest night in Goa. This will be followed by an event on Saturday at Kamaki, Baga and Sunday at Montego Bay, Morjim with an after party at Soro, Assagao. “Friday will be the meet and greet Salsa night at Cohiba. On Saturday, we will start with the workshops from 11am to 5pm, focussing on footwork, partner work and technicality; on Sunday, the dance workshops will continue with social dancing.

Besides GIDC, Rocky has also been busy choreographing for commercials, films in Hindi and Marathi and short films. “I directed and choreographed Jaspal and Savita Bhatti in ‘Nach Baliye 4’, and Punjabi film ‘Power Cut’. Recently, I did a small Hindi film ‘Simmi’ with the late Tom Alter. I worked on three art films including ‘Epang Opang Jhapang’ for Horlicks, symphony water heater with Mughda Godse and Everyuth and a music video with Amit Sana and a Marathi film which had a salsa dance performance,” he adds.

Rocky is also the man behind the longest running dance school In India, Rocky Poonawala Dance School, which has been around for 18 years. “It is an amazing experience and we have five annual events, various shows and a fitness brand. The school is running in three locations in Pune and we will be expanding the franchise to 7-8 places by next year. On October 14, 2018, we will be having a show in Dubai – ‘When Salsa meets Bollywood’ – where participants will be taught to dance in six hours and they will be performing on the grand stage,” says Rocky optimistically about the dance culture spreading its wings beyond India. [H]

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