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Zumba gets a desi twist

City girl attempts to add bharanatayam moves to popular Latin dance-fitness workout

india Updated: Sep 20, 2011 16:26 IST
Megha Mahindru
Megha Mahindru
Hindustan Times

Last month, Zumba instructor Anusha Sachdeva decided to change her moves and headhunt for Indian classical dancers. The goal was to participate in an international competition organised by the creators of the patented workout, who invited entries from Zumba addicts, one of which will be featured in hip-hop artiste Pitbull’s upcoming video, ‘Pause…’.

What emerged was a home video showing Anusha match her steps with four bharatanatyam dancers, dressed in all their finery.

“The idea was to improvise on the dance exercise form, so I decided to give it an Indian angle since mine was the only entry from India,” says Anusha, who conducts classes at Vibration in Bandra.

A decade since the immense success of Sarina Jain’s calorie-burning Masala Bhangra, many international workouts have gone through an Indian induction. At Anusha’s class, besides performing samba, salsa and mambo steps to Latino and Merengue music, the certified Zumba instructor also includes a few Bollywood chartbusters to get the adrenaline rushing. “Zumba is a fun workout, an exercise in disguise. With its dance-based format, you end up having a ball and burning as many as 1,000 calories,” she adds.

Another example is Ritu Shah, who combines bhangra music with the martial art of Muay Thai Boxing for her Bhangra kickboxing class at Vile Parle’s Xersize. “The best way to add fun to a workout is to get the music right. People respond better when they workout to music they like,” feels Shah.

And though Anusha is unsure if her West meets East act will make it to music channels world-over, she’s satisfied with the response it’s garnered so far. “The day I uploaded the video, I managed to get over 700 views. I even got a word of appreciation from the previous winners. So it’s an achievement for me, whether I win or not.” Ask her if she plans to start Indian classical Zumba at her fitness centre, and she laughs, “It will be difficult, but why not? Zumba is a certified programme, so unless the association approves, I can’t think of practising it,” she says, adding that she plans to start multiple zumba classes in the city from November.

First Published: Sep 20, 2011 16:24 IST