A popular dance form in the West, Heels is the latest style that Bengalureans are grooving to

The style – which is derived from jazz – has been popularised among Bengalureans with many dancers incorporating this into their routines

author_img Monika Monalisa Published :  28th February 2022 01:55 PM   |   Published :   |  28th February 2022 01:55 PM

Heels, a form of jazz dance, like the name suggests, involves dancing in heels. (Representational Image | YouTube screengrab)

When dancer-choreographer Hari Haran, who specialises in Heels – a style of dance –  started his studio in 2012, he had just three students. Today, the number stands at 80-plus. The style – which is derived from jazz – has been popularised among Bengalureans with many dancers incorporating this into their routines. “When I trained in various styles of jazz, Heels was one of them. It was so fascinating and unique that male dancers were giving it a try. I also wanted to break the stereotype,” says Haran, who trained at Pineapple Dance Studios London. 

Taking this path and promoting this style was not easy for Haran though. “When I started out, people were not accepting...many questioned my sexuality but I didn’t bother. I concentrated on learning this unique style,” recalls Haran, adding that walking in heels was not the most comfortable thing to do initially. While walking on heels is an art, this dance form is said to help with correcting one’s posture. “It’s important to exude confidence,” says Haran, who is the founder of dance studio, High on Heels Bangalore. At present, it is priced as Rs 1,500 for eight classes.

Many dancers like Sindhu TB, who recently started a group called Rebelle Fleur, where they do exclusive Heels’ sessions, popularise the ‘culture’ in Bengaluru in different ways. “Heels came into the picture in   the theatre space when artistes started wearing small block heels. But in the early 2000s, stilettos took over. It’s been evolving over time,” says Sindhu, adding that from April, they will try to bring more Heels teachers from Delhi and Mumbai to Bengaluru. 

In comparison to jazz and ballet which come with their own history, Arpita Shetty, who has been learning this dance form from the last three years, points out that this style is a very recent development. One of the reasons for its growing popularity could be pop culture. “If you look at artistes like Beyonce, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, they do a lot of performances with heels. So people have started looking at this style of dancing in a different light now,” says Shetty, who is in her 30s. She adds that the training for this dance forms is on the lines of jazz and ballet, and need the same amount of core strength. 

Agrees Divya Easwaran, an instructor of Heels. “Ballet is an acquired form of dance and for Heels too, you need to train in the same way. Now, people are trying to do ballet with heels,” says Easwaran. 

Heels, as a style, is also quite ‘commercial” in nature. Easwaran says the moves are quite sexy. “It looks so good and feels quite sexy. People love to deck out, which is one of the reasons for its recent popularity as well,” she says.