Dancing her way to glory

EXPAT SPEAK

Dancing her  way to glory

Excessively dedicated to her Flamenco, when Paola Santa Cruz set foot on India, she thought she would finally be able to experience the country where her dance form took birth. But to her surprise, India has much more in store for her to unravel and adopt.

All set to perform her new show, ‘India to Spain: A Journey of Gypsies’, Paola shares her experience of art and culture in India with Metrolife.

“I always wanted to be here and finally shifted to India in 2009 due to my husband’s job. I still remember the first day. Just out of the airport I saw a man riding a two-wheeler with a woman in saree riding pillion. It made me realise the importance of saree in India,” she recollects.

Straight from Argentine, a hub of Flamenco lovers, Paola started searching her way in Delhi. “I had expected that people here would be excited about Flamenco, but realised that leave apart learning the dance, most didn’t even knew about this form.” 

So she started from scratch and found musicians who played the right kind of tunes for her dance. “I had to start from the basic to evolve this dance in India before I started teaching it. I went to almost all dance festivals in India, including the one that takes place in Konark and Purana Qila, and tried to understand the classical dance forms of India.” 

These were so vast that it took her time to get a hold. “I wanted to understand them first.” After having established herself, she feels, “I think it is time I learn Indian classical dance forms.”

Today, she teaches, trains and performs Flamenco and to add to the list, she also takes care of her two angelic daughters aged two and four. “The younger one was born in India. At times I take them to my rehearsals too. While the older one loves to observe and learn, the younger one gets up and starts dancing, disturbing the class!” Guess she has drawn inspiration from her mother.

It would be difficult for a person, who has seen Paola dance, to believe that she doesn’t undergo any physical training. “I just practice again and again, and that gives me the physical strength and energy to perform this dance form.”

Many of her students join the class thinking they will learn in a day or two, only to find that the Flamenco form requires years of practice and training just like Indian classical dance forms. 

Among those who approach her is the younger generation of classical dancers who are learning Bharatanatyam, Kathak or other dance forms. “A few even join to add on to their talent. Like I recently got a student who wants to compete for the Miss India pageant.” 

Why not, if she is probably the only Flamenco trainer and performer in India?

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