February 2nd, 2014. As dusk unveiled a curtain of stars, Tiki torches lit up the sprawling lawns of the CC&RC club. Mercury had dropped to a pleasant 14 Degrees. Spotlight followed a young gentleman on stage. Of course he looked familiar. He was Papa CJ, one of the most sought after stand up comedians in the country.
Whether it was the cold or the anticipation, the audience held their breath. We were all there as part of the Kolkata International Salsa Congress. An annual event hosted by Vive la Salsa, Kolkata (Aditya Upadhya & Shaneel Mukerji). We Calcuttans are thrifty by nature. Always enjoying joke at other’s expense. But gender, age and nationality were never a bar for Papa CJ . Among peals of laughter, the stage lights dimmed to give way to that bewitching Tango music.
Originally from Columbia, Eider had come for the first time to the City of Joy with Luisa, Alexander and Eva. They are BNF Danza & Entretenimiento (Dance & Entertainment), a very popular company based in Dubai known for their fiery and passionate productions. I had met Eider a few years back in a Salsa festival in Bangalore. He is one of those brooding unassuming type of dancers who set fire on stage the moment music comes on. First time in our city also was Euphoria Dance Company, with Jose, Nerea, Federica and Massimiliano all the way from Italy. Jose took his dancing expertise from the United States to the continents to became the fast & furious of world salsa. Us Bongs tend to be fond of our cute little pet names, for no Bengali is born without one. Check out Jose’s, he’s popularly known as Jose ‘La Salsa’ Diaz.
Dance brought people together from all over the world. When it comes to show business, India always packs a punch. Performers from Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Pune showed off their Salsa, Bachata, Zouk skills in style. Calcutta presented Contemporary and intricate Salsa and Bachata routines (Vive la Salsa). A fine blend of international and national talents, the evening just kept on getting better.
Laughter twinkled at the corner of eyes, shadows cast long and mysterious in the firelight. The audience drawn to their feet marveling at the passion and commitment each dancer brought to the stage.
Thank God we take time out to experience new stories, to walk in new directions. Calcutta shall always have her spirit of adventure and her will to explore the quixotic.