September 29, 2008

Trying to Get Stick Thin With Dandiya

By Kumar Sambhav

Mumbai: Remember the fat lady from last year's dandiya group? Don't be surprised if you find her shimmying on the floor this year at half her size and with twice the energy . Dandiya aerobics is the new get-thin-quick trick, aimed at those who want to be as slim as the sticks they twirl during the nine nights of Navratri.

Mahesh Roy, a finance consultant from Goregaon, weighed a sobering 115 kg a month ago. Now his friends and relatives find it difficult to recognise him. The 35-yearold has shed 13.5 kg in a month. "It really worked," he says about dandiya aerobics. "I feel much more energetic and plan to dance for a much longer time this year. I can do all the steps as well."

Those who have signed up say that the loss in flab is paralleled by a rise in confidence. Corroborating this, Vijay Kumar , a dance trainer at the Step and Dance Academy in Andheri, says that the fun lies in the fact that while the steps are like those in aerobics, the hand movements and the music are dandiya-like . "Only, the beats are faster and instead of dancing on the flat floor, we do it on step boards," he adds. Kumar claims that one can reduce up to two or three kilos in a week because "the calories burnt in normal dandiya in, say, 12 hours can be reduced in just two hours of dandiya aerobics" .

Suchitra Pradhan, an Andheri-based pilates and bodytoning instructor, agrees. "Aerobics is always a good way to tone your muscle and if fused with dance it becomes entertaining too. You can work out longer without feeling exhausted ," she says.

Age is no bar. Dandiya aerobics has a pan-age appeal. For some, like Madhavi Pandey, a SAP consultant, it's the modernisation of dandiya that excites. "I like trying new things," she says. "I've been doing dandiya for many years but the fast pace of dandiya aerobics gives me a kick." For 54-year-old Dipavali Naik it's a chance to shake a leg with her daughter. "Even today I can outwalk any of the youngsters," she boasts. "I like this form. Earlier it was played with Tashas, Nagaras and Shahnayee. Now, that has changed. They have increased the tempo of the beats so the dance acts as a good cardio."

Dance guru Shiamak Davar who has conducted workshops on the fusion of dandiya and jazz says that after disco dandiya and dandiya jazz, dandiya aerobics is the new kid on the block. "This is latest blend," he says. "People always want change, so it's always good to fuse forms. In that sense, dandiya blended with aerobics is a great idea, but it should not lose its original essence."

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