Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I'm back

After a welcome break from blogging related activities (thanks, Tamara), I'm ready to start again. Till I come up with more insightful posts, here's an account of a salsa night in Bangalore!

This dance studio, called imaginatively enough "Dance Studio Inc" was planning on unleashing a dance blitz on the city. All kinds of dance forms, you could dabble in them all in a three week long intensive crash course. I was/have been planning to join them for ages, and when I heard that the inauguration would involve a real, honest to goodness authentic Colombian salsa group performance, I was more than excited. I landed at the scheduled place on time, but like everything else in this country the performance was delayed -by a meagre three hours. Finally I went into the club called 1912 (so called because the building was erected in that year). I was quite familiar with its interior, because before 1912 it was the site of another pub called 180 proof . The decor was a marginal improvement over the previous pub's, because 180 proof looked like nothing more than the set of a bad Kannada movie. But somehow, there seems to be little you can do with that building to make it better.

I went inside and I saw the Colombian band 'el chameleon' tucked away under the staircase. They were a quartet, with the saxophone guy doubling (trebling?) as a flautist as well as a keyboardist. There was a drummer with a startling propensity for launching himself into the dance floor with his so-called Colombian rap. And there were two female vocalists: identically dressed and just as identically swaying to their own music. The band was good, and they played all the favorites even succumbing to playing popular non salsa stuff like Shakira and Gloria Estafan. They even sang lambada, for crying out loud, but mercifully they restricted their music to mainstream salsa stuff. They quite massacred "Fruta fresca" but overall were quite decent. Considering that this is the first actual south American group I'm ever hearing, you might think I'm being harsh, but I have heard lots of stuff on CDs and the memory of an Israeli salsa group (that sang guantanamera in Hebrew) still rankles.

The real excitement came when it became apparent that there were two rival dance schools present there. One was the organizers themselves: i.e. Dance Studio Inc and the other turned out to be a group called 5678. (what is it with dance schools and their names???) DSI took to the floor almost a sixth of the way through the show, but as the evening wore on into night, 5678 guys were everywhere, dancing like crazed extras in a music video. They were in good synch with each other, and the whole act was quite intimidating. It was a performance rather than dance for dance's sake. Meanwhile DSI, who by the way had all the pretty girls on their side, took to dancing more energetically, and when the music wound to a close, I felt like I had taken part in an interactive session of some sort.

The damages came to light much later: when I was about to leave. I had left my bag in one corner, but unknowingly over some concealed lighting. Over the course of the night, the bulb had heated up my bag to such an extent that it caught fire. I knew about it only because I suddenly realized that the bag was on a chair, and I went to see why and the waiter told me, "your bag burst into flames". I said okay, thanks for letting me know, and miraculously nothing serious had happened to the contents, and I went home in a twisted state of mind.