Marketing professional Jhilum Jana, a resident of Mayur Vihar I, was too stressed out in her job. "I was looking for ways to unwind when I chanced upon Ballatino Studio. That was two years back, and I haven't missed my date with my dance-mates ever since," she says. Jana visits the Sector 15 A Club in Noida every Sunday to enjoy a session of ballroom dancing. "I forget all my worries when I am dancing, and I have made so many good friends here," she adds.
Ditto for software engineer Pushkin Gupta, who joined the group three months back. "I have a very high-pressure job, and this is a nice way of relaxing both mind and body," he says.
Jana and Gupta are just two of the hundreds of people who are looking at dance as a way of unwinding themselves. And what better than western classical dances that not only keep their body fit but also do not require any prior learning, like Indian classical dance forms. "I just wait for the Sundays when I can enjoy a dance session," puts in Pediatric Dentist Dr Aparajita Singh, who comes from Ghaziabad. "Since the time we started coming here, Sundays have turned into fundays. These dances are very relaxing mentally," says Sector 15 A resident C J Singh, a businessman who comes to learn with his wife Lona. "We have become more open with each other, we connect more," puts in Lona.
"These dances are a great way to de-stress. Most people working in corporate houses are always working with an axe over their head. They often have no physical activity, and a constant mental activity tires their minds and bodies," says Lucky Matlani, the man behind Ballatino Studios. And you got believe him. For, Lucky is an HR professional who runs his own consultancy firm from Monday to Friday, while on Saturday, he transforms into a dance instructor, guiding his students to become experts in ballroom dancing.
"I was working with an MNC. I found the job too demanding. I didn't know how to rejuvenate my mind and body. I tried watching movies on weekends but didn't find the activity exciting enough. That was when I came across a dance school and I joined it just to try it out," he says. "That was in 2003, and I have never been able to leave dancing ever since. Initially I freelanced. But In 2007, I left my job, started my own HR consulting firm and simultaneously launched Ballatino Studio," he adds. "But not alone, I have three of my friends, Damini Grover, Gargi Shanbag and Karan Jain, with me," he says. "We started at Fitness Studio in Lakshmi Nagar, east Delhi in August 2007. But it was closed down due to Delhi Metro starting its operations there," he says. "We then opened our studio in Delhi Gymkhana Club, and there has been no looking back," he adds. Today Lucky runs eight studios in Delhi and NCR, each one having a strength of about 30 people.
"Actually these are not just dances, but a nice way to socialise. It helps you keep fit physically and mentally, exercises your brain, and, for the young, it provides a valuable lesson in self-discipline," he adds. "Anyone from 16 to 60 can learn these dance forms. But I have some over-70 people learning these dances. Mainly, because these dance forms don't require the constant practice and dedication that Indian classical dance forms need. Any person at any age can learn these," says Lucky. "Generally eight classes are enough for a novice to become an expert in a form," he adds studios are at:
Sports and Cultural Club, sector 15A, Noida
Fluid, Mosaic Hotel, Sector 18, Noida
Delhi Gymkhana Club, Delhi
DDA Sports Complex, Saket, Delhi
DDA Sports Complex, Vasant Kunj, Delhi
Reebok Club Xcel, Greater Kailash-I, Delhi
South City I, Gurgaon
Nirwana Club, Gurgaon
The classes are held once a week for an hour-and-a-half. Except for Reebok Club Xcel where classes are held on Wednesdays, at the rest the classes are held either on Saturdays or Sundays.
What you can learn:
Classic Waltz, Jive/Rock and Roll, Swing, Cha Cha, Meringue, Salsa, Lambada, Bachata, Tango, Hustle, and the Viennese Waltz.
And the benefits are..
You burn enough calories to keep your weight under check.
It's a good way to keep physically fit, tones the body, keeps the posture straight.
Being a couple dance, there is a lot of social bonding, so you can make many friends.