Ewa Maria, the uncrowned Queen of Latin American
Style of dancing, is an extremely popular ballroom
dance teacher based in the city. Prasad Hiranwar
of Poonabest had a ball talking to this vivacious
and stunning dancer of repute. Excerpts:
does Ballroom Dance mean?
There are various types of dances; everyplace
has its own unique forms of dance like, for e.g.
the classical dances in India. They are marvellous
and can be performed by a single person. Ballroom
dance, on the other hand, is a social form of
dance, which is performed by couples.
Why is it called Ballroom Dance?
The various dance forms were created for
social occasions. In the olden days, Ballroom
was the place where the aristocracy danced and
spent their time, and consequently the dances
performed went by the name of 'Ballroom Dancing'.
What are the various types of Ballroom Dancing
and what is the major difference between them?
Ballroom Dance can essentially be categorised
into two types; namely, Standard Dances and
Latin American Dances.
Standard Dances are Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot,
Quickstep, and Viennese Waltz. These are dances
with a basic pattern of close steps where the
couples dance without moving away from each other.
Latin American Dances are Rumba, Samba, Cha-Cha-Cha,
and Jive & Paso-Double. These dances are performed
with halts in the steps and have the couple moving
away from each other.
What are the pre-requisites for learning
Discipline, dedication and rhythm are
the most important requirements. One has to love
music. Teaching one the right steps, figures and
combinations is my responsibility. One could learn
Ballroom Dance from the age of 14 years. The ideal
this form of dancing is formal shoes and trousers
for men and close shoes and any dress except saris
Jeans is a strict no.
Since how long have you been dancing?
I started dancing when I was six and a
half years old and its been more than 30 years
since I am dancing. As long as my health permits
I will keep on dancing.
did you come to Pune from Poland?
I am married to a very loving person M.K.S.
Cherukuru who is an Indian and settled in Pune,
that is what has brought me to Pune.
What made you start the Cinderella School
of Ballroom Dance? Why the name Cinderella?
Let me answer the second part your question
first. My husband suggested the name Cinderella
School of Ballroom Dance to me and I thought it
was apt As to what prompted me to start the dance
school, quite simply the endless requests. On
earlier occassions, whenever I danced, people
came up to me and asked if I could teach them.
Since I wasn't a trained teacher, I went back
to my country completed a degree as a teacher
came back and started the Cinderella School
of Ballroom Dance.
How will Ballroom Dance help an individual?
Ballroom Dancing improves one's posture,
adds elegance and grace to one's movements and
also helps to tone up the body. . While dancing
the body movements have to be natural. Dancing
is all about the right body balance and language.
How many students do you have?
Ideally, I would like to teach the whole
world but the whole world does not come to me.
Anyway, I look for students with promise. There
are many people in the industry who teach Ballroom
Dance but not all of them are qualified. A Student
has every right to know if the teacher is qualified
to teach dancing before s/he decides to enroll.
Can one learn the art by reading books and
An individual cannot learn by merely reading
books or by just watching the tapes. The tapes
will not correct your mistakes.
It's only a trained and qualified teacher who
can teach you the correct technique.
Could you tell us about your 'Zubeida '
Mr. Shyam Benegal approached me for the
choreography of Zubeida. It was an absolutely
marvellous experience; it was really a pleasure
to work with Mr. Benegal and his unit. Everything
was quick, sweet and very professional. The pleasant
and the absolutely professional approach make
me open to future offers from the Film Industry.
Choreographing for Zubeida
was one of the most memorable experiences of my
What is the future of Ballroom Dancing?
Every dance that I teach is approximately
400 to 700 years old. Ballroom Dance was, is and
will always remain alive.
What are your plans for the future?
I don't plan. I am not a dreamer. I am a very
realistic person and live for the present.
What do you do in you spare time?
I play 'Patience'. It's also the
time I think of new ways to choreograph or ponder
as to why a particular student has not been able
to pick up a particular dance step.
Where do you go for holidays?
I take a vacation to my country, Poland,
every year. I take this as an opportunity to get
myself updated on the latest dance techniques.
Would you like to say something?
Any one who loves music and dancing has
a positive attitude, and having a positive attitude
towards everything is very important.
Interview by: Prasad Hiranwar
Photo Courtesy: Ewa Maria Cherukuru