Rajeswari Vaidyanathan, Founder and Director of VR DanceSport, waltzes us through the unique dance form
DanceSport is the name given to competitive ballroom and Latin American dancing. Its competitors believe that it is both a sport and an art. The brand VR DanceSport has been instrumental in propagating this one-of-a-kind dance to the masses.
We chatted with Rajeswari Vaidyanathan, Founder and Director of the India-based VR DanceSport, who gave us a deep dive into this art.
What makes DanceSport unique?
We have been in the industry under the brand name VR DanceSport since 2014, and I believe we are not just regular dancers or coaches, but athletes trained in physiological functions of the body. We go beyond dancing and also provide solutions to those dealing with muscle weakness, relationship issues, personality issues etc., as well as helping improve peoples’ fitness levels.
What kind of classes does DanceSport offer? How does it promote physical fitness?
Being Latin ballroom athletes, we have a deep knowledge that goes beyond dance. Even when we teach club dance forms like salsa and bachata, we involve core and posture as well as other aspects. This helps not just in cardio training but also in strengthening the back and leg muscles. Each dance targets specific areas. Most of the Latin dance forms like rumba, cha-cha and samba have a sustained impact on improving your metabolism. If someone wants to increase their stamina, strengthen their calves and ankles, we recommend jive, a fast-paced energetic dance form that involves a lot of bouncing. Rumba is the slowest but has the maximum impact on your fitness levels as each movement is about control and muscle involvement. We teach all these dance forms for fun as well as for fitness purposes. It breaks the monotony of just going for fitness classes and teaches you an art form while having a positive impact on your health.
DanceSport started in India. What success has the company found there?
We started in India in 2014. What existed was a very local form of Latin. I pioneered the international European Latin style in India. In a span of a few years, we could claim to be better placed not just in India, but the Indian sub-continent and various parts of Asia. We were also the first to bring in one of the largest DanceSport World Dance Council bodies to India and hosted the largest national-level Latin ballroom dance championship in India. When it comes to authentic Latin dance, we are the go-to institute for movie producers, directors and celebrities. We have worked for UK production houses, Yash Raj Films, and our most recent project has been for celebrated Hollywood director Mira Nair. I have also been part of BBC One and Netflix productions, where I have been the lead choreographer. VR DanceSport is India’s only and largest Latin ballroom dance school. In a short time, we have brought unprecedented changes to the Latin dance scene.
What are the different types of classes the company is bringing to the UAE?
In the UAE, my dance partner Shannon Benjamin holds classes for social club dancing as well as for competitive forms. Social dances cover salsa, bachata, tango and jive. We have just introduced Latin DanceSport classes for jive, rumba, cha-cha and samba. These are offered for the seven to 35 years age group. Additionally, we are looking at building a team to represent DanceSport from the UAE. This dance is part of the Asian Indoor and World Games and also part of the university curriculum in Europe, parts of Asia and the US.
What is your vision for DanceSport?
Our vision is to touch people’s lives through dance as we have been doing in India for several years. Our endeavour is to bring the true essence of dance to people. It is not just a social skill or some activity — it goes beyond that. At a very basic level, it taps into emotions and an inner self that we never thought existed. That to me is the core, to give purpose to people through dance. It’s a beautiful art and the expression of this art can have a positive impact on one’s life.
We hope to build awareness and reach out to students via schools to bring the knowledge to them. This is not just about learning a dance form or fitness but has a huge impact on the overall personality development of a child. Nurturing the children of today to become future DanceSport champions and athletes, that’s the goal for me.
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