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    The actress on
    her belly dancing, eating more carbs, her Cannes schedule and why you must follow her on Instagram

    Each dance form
    challenges different parts of the body. I am not doing this to lose weight; I want to be real and have people find beauty in that

    Dressed in a Nirvana tee and tracks, Richa Chadda is short of breath. She has just wrapped up an intensive session of street jazz—one of the five dance forms she is currently learning in preparation for her role as a dancer in Pooja Bhatt’s Cabaret. “I’ve always danced a lot, but I’d taken a break after an injury three years ago. Now, with this role, it’s an opportunity for me to go from good to better,” begins the actress, who is also learning belly dancing, ballet and Odissi, besides brushing up

    on her Kathak. Needless to say, all the shimmying and pirouetting is a great way to lose weight and sculpt the body. “I’d learnt belly dancing earlier, but now I’m taking it more seriously. I did private lessons with a Turkish teacher and now I’ve found another teacher in Pune,” adds Chadda, who dances to the strains of the piano, while her iPod has hip hop, western classical and more. We find out more about her fitness regime, why she turned vegan and her dance workouts.

    —Surya Praphulla Kumar

    Odissi 

    According to me, this is the only Indian dance that combines strength and fluidity. Did you know the dancing girl from the Harappan archaeological dig is cast in an Odissi pose? We call it tribhanga.
    Why do it: Develops balance and
    lower body strength

    Kathak

    I’m a trained Kathak dancer and I find this form has a lot of grace. You need a lot of upper body strength, but it also has a lot of bhaav (emotion) and nazakat (softness). Without the exaggerated eye movements
    of say, a Kathakali, it conveys a lot.
    Why do it: Improves upper
    body strength

    Ballet

    I haven’t found ballet too difficult because the basics are the same as jazz or contemporary dance—the turning out, the length, the extension. I am learning it because it gives me poise and brings a lot of length to my body.
    Why do it: Builds long, lean muscles (especially in the legs); improves cardiovascular endurance

    Street Jazz

    You become very expressive with your body. I’d also recommend this for sports persons as it makes you very agile, very light on your feet. It’s great—especially on Mumbai roads, where you can manoeuvre potholes and traffic much better (laughs).
    Why do it: Improves stamina, overall strength and flexibility

    Belly dancing 

    This one is challenging. It’s an art form of isolation—where you work very specific muscles. I also found out that it was designed as a pre-natal form of exercise. Though it is very difficult, it is also very delicate.
    Why do it: A low-impact exercise; tones muscles, especially abs

     

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