Home Chennai The Pondy Dance-off

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    A getaway programme, foreign musicians and a bigger crowd — the Latin Festival is high on action.

    Pack your dancing shoes and your beachwear and head to OMR next week, for the Latin Festival by Salsa Madras. It ends with two days in Pondy after three days of intense dance workshops and competitions. For the uninitiated, it is a three-day dance programme conducted by city-based dance studio, Salsa Madras, held annually at the Gateway Hotel IT Expressway, OMR. Expecting a crowd of 200 (“an increase of over 50 per cent from the first edition,” reveals Arun Srinivasan, founder of Salsa Madras), the third edition of the event— which is open to first timers also— will include some surfing and dancing on the beach at the Covelong Point Surfing School too. “Besides trying out various dance styles like kizomba and bachata, participants will head to Pondicherry as part of a two-day getaway,” says Srinivasan.

    Debut check
    There are a lot of firsts in this edition, we learn. “Dancers will be lucky to have Dotty from Hungary (for the first time in the country) in their midst. She is the founder of Consla, a new dance form that is a mix of contemporary and salsa. We also have French singer Laurent Hounsavi coming down to play his brand of Afro-Latin songs,” Srinivasan shares, and adds that Hounsavi was seen performing in festivals like Belgium’s Afro C Festival and Masala Festival in Hannover. They will be accompanied by 12 dance experts, who will take you through 16 hours of workshops and 10 hours of bootcamps (kizomba and bachata) and competitions. “Compared to the previous editions, we have more participants from abroad this time, from countries like Singapore, Austria, and other South East countries,” he adds.

    Moves aside
    When not burning the dance floor, participants will also attend Salsa Cafe, a newly introduced interactive session between participants and experts where they exchange views and opinions about various styles. Once the three-day event at Gateway Hotel IT Expressway is over, there is a two-day getaway programme scheduled in Pondicherry. “This is a perfect opportunity for participants to bond with the experts. During the day, they can explore the various sightseeing spots in town, including Auroville; and once the sun sets, the fun begins, when they can dance into the night and tuck in at restaurants and hotels,” concludes Srinivasan. What’s more, the winners of the competitions will get free passes to other global festivals like World Bachata Festival in Malaysia and Boracay Latin Dance Fest, Philippines.

    Entry from Rs 1,000 onwards (valid for one event only). Full festival pass at `6,000 per head. September 23-27. Details: latinfestivalmadras.in

    — Karan Pillai

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