It all began as social dancing. The Global CEO of Denave India, Snehashish Bhattacharjee, along with his friends, used to dance to a varied song-list every weekend in college. He graduated from the University Of Hyderabad, which had “a humongous campus”, giving students plenty of area to fool around. “Like most of the universities, HCU is also located in the outskirts of the city. It gave us all the more reason to enjoy ourselves to the fullest inside the campus,” he says.
Bhattacharjee had always been amicable and had a big group of friends from nearly all the departments in his college. On weekends, they used one of the rooms in the college for their dance practice. But, of course, it was not as easy as it sounds. Bhattacharjee remembers persuading the professors to allow them use of that space, by telling them that they needed a room for group study. “In that gang of friends, there were two girls who were trained salsa dancers. They were no doubt better than the rest of us, so we simply followed their steps. Back then, it was just fun. I never imagined that I would train in it or pursue it seriously,” says Bhattacharjee.
After he completed college, he had to return to Delhi and Microsoft hired him. He had a busy schedule. “Wipro was my first job, and the first few years were very hectic. Though, at the back of my mind I always missed dancing, I never got a chance to do anything about it,” he says. A few years later, in 1999, he quit his job and started Denave.
Bhattacharjee decided that this was the time to find a salsa-training school. Though, it was tough for him to manage the start-up and scout for a good school, his commitment to the dance kept him going. The same year, one of his friends told him about a new instructor who had just started taking private salsa classes at his house. With no second thought, Bhattacharjee along with five-six others started going twice a week to Kaytee Namgyal.
“Then Kaytee was not well known, but today is a famous dancer. I always looked up to him,” says Bhattacharjee. For a month, all six of them trained meticulously. But, after that, only Bhattacharjee regularly showed up at the class. “I always enjoyed music and though salsa was not as popular as it is now, I was easily drawn to it,” he says. He remembers watching the movie Dance with me, and liking this Latin dance more than the other styles that were in it. From 2002 to 2007, he took classes without a break. Then, he says, was when only two places in Delhi were famous for Salsa, and Namgyal’s was one of them.
Salsa, he says, is an amazing hobby, which also helps you in networking. In fact, he met his wife, who is also a dancer, at a salsa night! Now, the couple takes holidays and goes to salsa clubs every weekend with their friends, often outside India too. “My wife and I mostly have friends who are trained salsa dancers. All of us meet during the weekend and go to salsa clubs. Sometimes, we manage time and go on Thursdays and Fridays too,” he says.
The duo has performed together too, and their first show was in 2004, in the Ashoka Hotel, Delhi. They have cut back on shows now, since there is less time, and go for social dancing more. “We do plan to start performing again on stage and soon. May be, in a couple of months,” he says.