About over a month ago now, I decided to up my fitness game (because, well, #fitfam) and joined a Zumba class close to home. Initially, I didn’t know what to expect; I hadn’t even bothered to check out Zumba videos on YouTube. Day one was madness; I don’t think I moved a finger for about two hours post class. I knew it would get easier with time though. And it did. Today, I actually miss it on days I don’t dance. Part of what I enjoy in our sessions is the energy of our instructor, Prabhu Ram. He’s encouraging, always motivating, and all in all a really fun person to follow and dance with. Of course, I went ahead and got him to spill about his life, passion for the art and more. Excerpts…
- What made you get into dance and fitness?
I completed my engineering and got a job. After a short stint, I realised that it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. My passion was always dancing. I knew that from the time I used to perform in cultural events or choreograph dance shows in college. I finally quit the job one fine day and started to self learn break dancing from the popular YouTubers in those days.
I then gradually got into dance studios and learnt various dance forms like hip hop , contemporary, housing and so on. My first stint as a proper dance instructor was in a school where I taught children and eventually went on to become a performing arts coordinator for Indian Public school.
Fitness happened as a very calculative move. Zumba was becoming quite popular in India at the time and people were veering more towards fitness than dance forms itself. Hence, I got myself certified for Zumba basic level One and Two, Zumba Gold, Zumba Kids and Zumba Kids Junior and Zumba Step.
After being experienced in Zumba for three years, I went on to become a certified Bokwa instructor. But as fate would have it, I was selected to become a Bokwa Education Specialist Trainer for India. I’m also certified in Bokwa Punch and Strike, Bokwa Tone and Core, Bokwa Step and Up and Bokwa Dance levels 1-4.
- So how many types of dance forms do you know today?
Hip hop, Housing, Contemporary, Break Dance, Bollywood and Tollywood dancing.
- How did the move Pune happen?
I had conducted Bokwa Tone and Core certifications and masterclasses for Bokwa in Pune for almost a year. I realised Pune is an upcoming market for fitness. It’s a vibrant youth city and fitness is taken very seriously here. I had a lot of offers to come and start classes here so I just decided to pack my bags and move to Pune. One of the best decisions I have ever made!
- Tell me about your fitness program.
I recently launched my company “The F Squad” along with two other partners, Nilesh Fatnani and Hema Ankaraju. The F Squad (Dance insane), as the tag line suggests, is an insane mix of music, dance and exercises. We don’t stick to one genre of music. We cater to everyone in the class who has a different liking for a variety of music.
Apart from great music, there’s dancing on popular songs from Bollywood, Tollywood to Punjabi, Hip Hop and EDM. The exercises are uniquely combined to work your entire body. You might not realise that while you are dancing, you’ve probably just done eight burpees.
The uniqueness about our program is that people who don’t like to go to the gym can come to our class as there is dance involved along with workouts. People who don’t like dancing, but hit gym regularly, can come over and enjoy the same thing but with a twist of great music and dance.
Over the years, what we have seen is that group classes are mostly attended by women as men don’t really like to shake their booty. With this program, men have been flocking to our classes as they get to dance and workout at the same time.
- Any message for Punekars?
Eat healthy, sleep well and Dance Insane. If you haven’t tried The F Squad classes yet, it’s now time to do something different, give your body what it’s not expecting!