Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Pursuit Of Happiness

After much hullabaloo over when will the studio open and where will it open, we managed to find ourselves a nice little cozy corner right in front of home. So now I officially have a home away from home, and it feels fabulous. 
I am a poor photographer.. But the studio looks lovelier when you see her upfront

Most of my evenings are spent at the studio; as so are my weekends, especially because I have already kick-started the weekend batches. 

For those of you who haven’t seen the studio yet, please feel free to call me on 9167 17 0717 and drop in whenever you want to. 

Loads of Love,
Tabitha Thomas
Founder, Director at Tip Tap Toe 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Choose Your Pick - Art Forms Being Taught At Tip Tap Toe

This is one note that needs no introduction. For all our well wishers and potential students out there, here is a compiled list of what you can learn and practice while at Tip Tap Toe. After all this is 'Where The Arts Come Alive', eh?

All Under One Roof - At Tip Tap Toe

  • Latin Ballroom (Includes Salsa, Cha Cha, Jive & other forms)
  • BollyKids (Summer specials and classes through the year for our kiddie friends)
  • Bollywood Dhamaka (For our young and dynamic age group of 16 – 34)
  • Bollywood Jhatka (Exclusively for our lady friends – 35+)
  • Belly Dance (Exclusively for women – Age no bar)
  • Martial Arts (Get kickin – men & women)
  • B Boying (Perfect those moves with our in-house instructors)
  • Zumba Atomic (Another special for our kiddie friends)
  • Zumba (Latin-inspired Dance Party that helps you keep fit)
  • Yoga (For all those who are morning people and have embraced our age old form of meditation, breathing and exercising)
  • Bharatanatyam (One of the most popular Indian classical forms)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Merengue - My First Love

A couple enjoys the merengue
Ages back, a scared and nervous me entered a dance studio for the first time. It was my first dance class; and my first time learning anything Latin. As I stood on the wooden floor, staring hard at myself in the mirror, I willed my nerves to calm down; but apparently it wasn't working.

After having read what you just read, I won't be surprised if you think that I had never danced before this day. Truth of the matter was that I'd been in love with the stage ever since I was about 6 years old. However, this sort of dancing was outside my comfort zone. Up until then, a Madhuri or Karisma song had suited me fine for my jhatkas-matkas and my nakhras.

I'd signed up for the Latin Ballroom class because I was ready to push myself and go outside my comfort zone; or so it had seemed before my nerves had taken over. I had no clue how (badly) this was going to go.

That's when he walked in; the man who was going to change my life. Bosco Fernandes, at first glance, is a man full of life. He is funny and smart. When you actually get down to knowing him you'll realize that he is exactly all of that - funny, smart and bursting with life.

Bosco announced that we'd be beginning our session with a class on merengue. For all the Latin dance impaired people out there (and for all those willing to learn), here's how Wikipedia describes merengue -

Merengue is a style of dominican music and dance. Partners hold each other in a closed position. The leader holds the follower's waist with the leader's right hand, while holding the follower's right hand with the leader's left hand at the follower's eye level. Partners bend their knees slightly left and right, thus making the hips move left and right. The hips of the leader and follower move in the same direction throughout the song. Partners may walk sideways or circle each other, in small steps. They can switch to an open position and do separate turns without letting go each other's hands or momentarily releasing one hand. During these turns they may twist and tie their handhold into intricate pretzels. Other choreographies are possible.

One session later, I found myself walking back to the railway station with a bounce in my step.There was something about merengue that had me smitten. I was in love with one of the most basic forms of Latin dancing that there ever was. It seemed silly and juvenile; but I was in love.

Months after my first session with Bosco, Ryan (my classmate from college) and I went on to win a trophy in the merengue competition organized by the studio. 

Years later, as I stand at the threshold of beginning my own dance school, I am reminded of how I began my first steps into the world of competitive dancing and technical training. The memories are enough to get me all teary eyed. Nostalgia sure is a powerful tool. 

As usual, I shall leave all my readers with a little something. Here's one of my favorite merengue tracks -

(To learn merengue and other Latin Ballroom forms, contact us on tiptaptoemumbai@gmail.com)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tip Tap Toe Finds A Home

Boy, am I am excited or am I excited!!! Finally, there is good news coming along my way. 

Tip Tap Toe may just have found its home. 

For everyone who has been asking me where Tip Tap Toe is going to be housed, the answer is Mulund West. This is going to be our first center (and if all goes well, we shall have many more branches to come). 

For now, I am hoping everything falls into place. 

Until then, keep your fingers crossed with me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The First Ever Couple Dance

Painting of a couple dancing
For years now, people around the globe have pictured couples dancing in one classic closed pose - the woman's left hand in a man's right hand, her right hand on the man's shoulder and the his right hand placed on her back. However, that wasn't always the case. The earliest forms of formal dancing involved choreographed steps being performed by couples who were allowed only minimum physical contact; perhaps in the form of holding hands. A dance that went beyond holding hands had not existed until then. 

So then which was the first ever dance-form to be done in the classic closed pose with a man and woman facing each other? It was the Viennese Waltz. When the Viennese Waltz first got accepted as a legitimate dance form in the 1830s, it was a craze all across Europe. Slowly, but steadily, its popularity grew and took over the globe. 

Never seen the Viennese Waltz being performed? Fear not, for Tip Tap Toe is here. Here's a video that should solve the problem.

(If you'd like to learn the Viennese Waltz, get in touch with us at tiptaptoemumbai@gmail.com) 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

India's First Ever 3D Dance Film To Be Directed By Remo D'Souza

In a country that has produced some fine dancers; the likes of Pandit Birju Maharaj (Kathak), Sitara Devi (Kathak), Yamini Krishnamurthy (Bharatanatyam), Shiamak Davar (Jazz & Contemporary), Uday Shankar (Indian Ballet), Saroj Khan (Bollywood); it is quite surprising that we haven’t churned out any serious dance films.

Choreographer/Director Remo D'Souza
The West seems to have utilized their talent much better than we have. I guess that’s exactly what Choreographer/Director Remo D’Souza had in mind when he decided to announce his next project – ABCD. The movie ABCD, which stands for ‘Any Body Can Dance’ is being touted as not only India’s first serious dance movie, but also our first 3D dance movie. 

ABCD the Movie - First Look

News of the movie has only hit the press recently. Insiders say that Remo has been fiercely guarding the title and his mystery female lead until now. I remember seeing a tweet from UTVfilms some time at the end of February. I also came across an article that was written on January 10th, which stated that the movie will have a Hollywood dancer/actress. On that occasion, Remo said that he’d like to keep her identity under wraps. However, that clearly seems to be a thing of the past. 

The article that appeared in today’s TOI had a poster of the upcoming movie attached with it. The poster gives away our mystery lady’s identity. She’s none other than So You Think You Can Dance contestant Lauren Gottlieb. 

Lauren Gottlieb of So You Think You Can Dance fame
Prabhu Deva
As for the identities of the other dancing stars; the movie is said to have Ganesh Acharya and Prabhu Deva in very important roles. It is also nice to see that Remo hasn’t forgotten some of his protégés from the show Dance India Dance where he is one of the judges; for contestants from the show – Dharmesh, Prince, Salman, Mayuresh and Vrushali – have also made the final cut.  

Remo seems to be overly excited about the project; and why not. He finally gets to direct Prabhu Deva in a dance movie; something that he says he’s dreamt about for a long time. The music composer duo of Sachin-Jigar, who gave the music for Remo’s directorial debut F.A.L.T.U. have also been retained for the movie. 

The movie, say UTV officials (producers of the film), should release by the end of the year. Now I guess all we have to do is wait and watch; and while we’re waiting, here is a classic Prabhu Deva track. It is one of my favorites. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dirty Dancing Remake To Hit Theaters In 2013: Why Are They Doing This To Us?

Poster of Dirty Dancing (1987)
When they remade Footloose in 2011, I knew the worst had come. The original cult movie starring Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer was an absolute hit among youngsters (and some part of the older generation too). 

One of the major factors that played a role in the success of this uber-cool film (you could quote me on this one) is the music that was absolutely in keeping with the times. Although the original movie came out in 1984, tracks like Footloose, and Dancing in the Sheets still remain favorites among teeny-boppers (and the older ones too, I confess). 

While I thought the worst had come when they remade Footloose in 2011 (reference to line one of this blog post); I guess I was sadly mistaken. The worst is yet to come; and ‘yet’ seems to be coming in the summer of 2013. I just read reports about how they’re planning to ‘REMAKE’ yet another cult movie. This time around the movie chosen breaks my heart, because the original was one of my all-time favorites. They’ve apparently chosen to rip apart ‘Dirty Dancing’. 

Dirty Dancing (1987) is a movie that brought with it a certain amount of freshness, innocence and spunk. Although the movie is as old as I am, I never tire of watching it. Patrick Swayze, who played the role of Johnny Castle, was an absolute delight to watch. Some of the scenes (like their first love making scene) will leave you wanting more of him. Jennifer Gray did a fabulous job of being ‘Baby’, the naive rich girl who is unlike most other patrons at the holiday camp. It is at this very holiday camp that Baby meets Castle, the dance instructor; and as movies will have it, they fall in love. 

With Patrick Swayze no longer among us and Jennifer Gray happy with her Dancing with the Star stints, who will play the iconic Johnny and Baby couple this time around?
Although there are no official reports about who’ll be joining the cast of the Dirty Dancing Remake, if insiders are to be believed; Derek Hough should step into the shoes of Patrick Swayze to play Johnny Castle. His female lead might go to Lea Michele. 

Lea Michele & Derek Hough
 Personally, I can’t imagine Lea Michele doing justice to the role. I would have to loved to see Julianne Hough play the role of Baby (and so would many others, as per blog posts that I have read so far).

Jennifer Gray (l) as Baby in Dirty Dancing and Julianna Hough (r)
The only reason (make that one of the reasons) why I am skeptical about the remake is because we’ve seen some rather crappy iconic-movie-remakes. They somehow manage to ruin all of them. 

Whether or not they’ll do a good job of making Dirty Dancing 2013 is something that only time will tell. (If other Hollywood movies are to be believed, the world might end in 2012. That way we’d never have to endure the tortures of this movie, just like we’ve had to sit through previous remakes.)

For now, I’ll leave with you the best dance sequence of the movie (and a classic song as well) – I’ve Had The Time of my Life (OST – Dirty Dancing 1987).


Monday, February 27, 2012

Why Isn't There An Oscar For Dance Direction?

As I sit down to watch the re-runs of the 84th Academy Awards that were conducted earlier in the day, I can’t help but wonder ‘Why isn’t there an Academy Award for the Best Choreography or Dance Direction?’ It was exactly this question that got me to sit down at my laptop and do some research on whether or not they ever had such an award in the past. 

Here are some of the findings revealed by this search that spanned over innumerable web pages. (Note: Some of them may seem unrelated to the others; but they’re all relevant to the question that got me researching.) 

Blast From The Past
A Still From 'Broadway Melody of 1936'
Believe it or not, there was a Best Dance Direction Category at the Oscars for 3 years way back in the 1930s.
1935: Dave Gould took home the prestigious award for his ‘I’ve Got A Feeling You’re Fooling’ number that was part of the Broadway Melody of 1936 and for his ‘Straw Hat’ from Folies Bergere
1936: Semour Felix grabbed the Golden Lady for ‘A Pretty Girl Is like a Melody’ from The Great Ziegfeld.
1937: Hermes Pan bagged the last ever award in the category for ‘Fun House’ from A Damsel in Distress.

Honorary Awards
We’ve all heard of the Lifetime Achievement Awards given out every year at the Academy Awards; but did you know that there are other such honorary awards that could be given out at the discretion of the Board of Governors. These awards are generally given out for ‘exceptional contributions to motion picture arts and sciences; and outstanding service to the academy’.

Michael Kidd With His Oscar In 1997
Choreographer Michael Kidd was one such recipient of the Honorary Award in 1997. He was presented the award by the pretty and graceful Julie Andrews. Here’s what his speech sounded like –

Thank you, Jools. Jools, you're a treasure for being here. Thank you.

I didn't know how to handle all this, but my wife Shelah, who was my assistant on many of these pictures and naturally bore the brunt of my grouchiness, said to me: Michael, the Academy is honoring you. For once stop being Mr. Bah Humbug and try to enjoy it, at least for your family and friends' sake. Well, she's not only beautiful, she's right. So, Shelah, and Matthew, Amy, Kris, and Susan -- and even Julie [Andrews] who calls me an old curmudgeon -- and the many friends who wrote or phoned with the same message, once the reality of all this sinks in I promise to enjoy it. I've even had my glasses tinted slightly rose-colored.

So many of today's films stress the terrors that await us. Perhaps this award signifies an awareness that we have been missing something, namely the vitality and the joy of living that movie musicals can express in song and dance. I thank the Academy for this tribute. I accept it in the name of all choreographers and especially the dancers who made it all possible. We feel honored. Thank you.

The Tony Awards To The Rescue
The Tony Award Trophy
While we may not have an Oscar to honor the dancers of the industry; the Tony Awards come to the rescue. The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre (commonly called the Tony Award) is the equivalent of the Oscar or the Academy Awards. The annual ceremony held at New York City is presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League.

Since the Tony Awards are generally held in June, you’ll just have to wait until then to see who wins the accolades for their dancing skills.

Until then, kick back your dancing shoes; prop your legs up on the couch; and enjoy the 84thAcademy Awards (just as I will).

Pssst… Tom Hank’s on screen now. I love the man. So, I must go. Keep Dancing!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Will Young - Losing Myself

There are those days when you come across something exciting over the internet; and you know that it deserves to be shared with the world. Here's an interesting video I came across today, on a blog that I have been following lately.

It is rare to see such a video where the dancers are not only chosen for the way they dance, but also because they fit the bill. With similar facial and physical features; the dancers seem to have a done a great job of helping Will Young 'Lose Himself'. Every single time that I watch the video, it makes me think of how much effort must have gone into getting it right! 

If  you take the effort to watch most of Will Young's works, you will notice that the guy isn't too open about his dancing skills; but you have to give it to him - he's done a pretty neat job with the video.

Plus, listening to this particular song over and over again, I feel like the song's growing on me. I hope to utilize the song for a choreography some day. What do you think?

DID YOU KNOW - How The Cha Cha Evolved?

If I had to choose one dance style that I am absolutely in love with, there is but little doubt that my vote would go to the dynamic and vivacious ‘Cha Cha’. Originally known as the ‘Cha Cha Cha’, the dance style is in reality an offshoot of the Mambo. 

The Cover Of An Age Old Cha Cha Record
Early proponents of the Mambo noticed the existence of a distinct sound in the music; which they then began referring to as the “Triple Mambo”. Over time, the Triple Mambo evolved and gained a character of its own. In its refined form, the Triple Mambo is known as the Cha Cha Cha. 

Here’s one of my favorite Cha Cha videos from So You Think You Can Dance.(Let’s be honest, I just love it because Pasha’s in it).

Friday, February 24, 2012

Step Up 4Ever Coming In 2012

Well, I can’t speak for every other dancer when I say this; but I sure can speak for myself. Of the successful and popular ‘Step Up’ movie franchise, StepUp 2 : The Streets was my favorite. From the choreographed dance routine that they pull off in the train, to the finale in the rain (Yay, that rhymed!); every single sequence in the movie was well executed. I was utterly disappointed with Step Up (2006) and the subsequent Step Up 3D (2010); which were not as impressive. 

Come 2012, the Step Up Franchise is all set to keep growing. With a teaser out early last week, Step Up 4Ever is all set to be the dance movie of the year. While the short teaser provides insight into the cast chosen this time around, it also throws light on an important fact – this time around the story is set in MIAMI (unlike the Baltimore and New York settings in the past). 

Here’s a quick sneak peek at what the teaser looks like – 


As per the IMDB page of the movie, Step Up 4 should hit theaters in July this year. This is definitely one movie I am going to keep my eyes out for. 

Are there any such dance movies you'll be looking forward to to this year? Do let us know. May be we could do a little research for you and keep you posted.

Before we leave, here's a snapshot on the leading pairs of the Step Up franchise, with the addition of Step Up 4Ever.

The Lead Pairs Of The Step Up Franchise
Happy Dancing!

Never Miss A Chance To Dance (Images)

Dancing has been a part of who I have been for a while now. My first performance on-stage was when I was all of 7.From then to now, it's been quite a journey. 

Over the years, my love for Latin Ballroom Dancing has grown fourfold, thanks to Bosco (love ya!). 

Here's a quick sneak-peek at some of my favorite images from around the world. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tip Tap Toe - Where The Arts Come Alive

Welcome one and all, to the world of dance, music, theater and more. Tip Tap Toe will be your gateway to a place ‘Where The Arts Come Alive’. Over a journey that has spanned about 18 odd years, my constant flirtation with art forms (especially the dances) has culminated in the formation of Tip Tap Toe. 

I hope that each and every one of you who joins me in the journey of Tip Tap Toe have something to contribute and something to take back.