Soonruta Kothadia and Bhavin Shukla are featured in this edition of Dance Spotlight! Soonruta and Bhavin are dance instructors and performers from India and they’re helping to show that the latin dance community in India is alive and flourishing! They were nominated by Carlos Cinta.
Carlos said, “They’re amazing human beings, great dancers, excellent performers and outstanding teachers! I thoroughly enjoyed their class and it was very well prepared, structured and organized. It was very well done.”
Check out some fun facts and information on Soonruta and Bhavin including their thoughts on the latin dance scene in India and their goals for the Latin Dance Dreamers Project initiative.
Want to nominate someone to be in the Dance Spotlight? Contact us!
What are your first memories of latin dancing? (A class? Watching friends or relatives dance?)
Bhavin: My first memory of Latin dancing is a Salsa class I joined with my friends in 2007.
Soonruta: For me, it was going to a Latin party with my friends, including Bhavin, and seeing them dance as they had already learned the different styles.
You posted a very nice message on Facebook to other dancers in the latin dance community. Part of this message said, “If you need someone to talk to, someone to share your pain, want a helpful ear to hear your ideas out or simply brainstorm about something; Bhavin and Soonruta are always just a message away and always ready to help!! Don’t be a stranger.”
Why is it important to you to connect with dancers on a more personal level?
The thought behind that post comes from the fact that a lot of dancers (students, instructors and performers) have come to us in the last few years to talk about their issues or just to bounce off some ideas about their career, etc.
We feel fortunate that people feel safe and comfortable talking to us. Dancing is not only a physical activity, but also a mentally taxing profession. Dancers at various levels have issues that affect their health, emotional well being and daily routines. This profession doesn’t have an HR system to address issues like career growth, training advice, stress or even just daily issues regarding sales, marketing and strategies, etc.
Another part of it is a lack of a peer group you can confide in or brainstorm your ideas with. We ourselves have been through phases where we felt clueless or aimless about our career paths. We wanted dancers around us and perhaps in other parts of the world to know that if they feel alone or need someone to talk to; they have us!
You are co-owners of the Latin Dreamers Dance Project. What are the goals that you’re trying to achieve through this project?
Latin Dreamers Dance Project was started with an aim to provide holistic dance education in Latin styles to people in India. Although there are a lot of people working in the field, we wanted to teach styles like salsa and bachata inclusive of not only moves but also cultural backgrounds, music understanding and evolution of the dances through history.
Describe a moment in your dance career that made you feel proud.
We can’t pinpoint one particular instance, but when we started performing Dominican Bachata, a lot of people came and told us that our show had the right amount of everything which they appreciate a lot. Another thing is many Dominicans message us or comment on our videos saying that we dance like Dominicans. This always makes us feel proud and frankly it’s an awesome feeling!
Dance Pet Peeve(s): (Hygiene, No connection, People who teach while dancing, etc)
Soonruta: For me, it is lack of connection where my partner is not looking at me, dancing with a blank face (never smiling) or is just dancing with disinterest. Also, someone that is trying to show off, make faces if I miss a lead or enjoy the fact that I couldn’t follow a particular lead.
Bhavin: Pretty much the same thing as social dancing for both of us is a way of connecting with people, hence a lack of connection is something both of us don’t enjoy.
What are your current favorite songs to dance to? Top two or three…
There are way too many, but here are a few candidates if we had to pick the absolute current favorites.
- “Idilio” – the Calle Vapor version, or even the original by Willie Colon (Salsa)
- Maestra by Elvis Martinez (Bachata)
Also, for us our all-time favourite song to dance to is Esta Noche by Raulin Rodriguez
What is the latin dance scene like in Mumbai and other cities within India that you visit often? Is it a large dance scene or small but growing?
Latin dancing has been in India for more than two decades now, but the last 10 to 12 years have been particularly good because of an increase in the amount of events, be it weekly socials, small weekenders or small to large festivals.
You can now find a small to fairly large Latin scene in most major cities of India, and even smaller cities are picking it up in forms of workshops and boot camps.
The quality of the scene when it comes to the music being played or shows or even the diversity of instructors and styles is growing slowly but steadily. Every scene goes through some low and high points and currently the scene in India is booming with events and opportunities. One of our side projects in life is to educate people about the Latin dance scene in India and get as many talented artists as we can to visit the country to help bridge the gap between India and the rest of the world.
Favorite dance video(s) you’d like to share?