Deccan Herald, Tuesday, December 16, 2003


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Deccan Herald » Youth Herald » Full Story

Mumbai salsas to his tune



Born in the United Kingdom of a half English-half German mother and a Kashmiri father, Ashwin Mushran was brought up in India. And, despite the confusing clash of nationalities this successful Salsa exponent considers himself Indian.

A Doon School alumnus, he completed his graduation in Delhi. While he always loved acting, it was only during his college days that he started taking it up seriously. Being a part of Aamir Raza Hussian’s Stagedoor theatre group gave him opportunities to act in a number of plays. He also did a couple of plays with Lilette Dubey's Prime Time theatre group and with well-known theatre director Faizal Alkazi.

Ashwin went on to study acting at the Drama Studio in London where he completed a post-graduate diploma in Performing Arts. But when he decided to stay on in London and look for work as an actor, it was not easy at all. Recounting his experiences there, Ashwin says, “I did a few small stage shows and worked for three months with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where I played a minor role in Sir Peter Hall’s Julius Ceasar at the Barbican in London. Even though I did quite a prominent Guiness Beer commercial it was still tough to get an agent which is essential in a city like London.” While looking for acting jobs the young artiste supported himself through the usual waiting/bartending work. He tried his hand at telesales, telemarketing. He worked as a toy demonstrator in Hamley’s, a sales assistant for Harrods and “even as Croupier at the Stakis Regency Casino in London where I used to deal Black Jack, Poker & Roulette to filthy rich people night after night till I got sick of it.”

It was during this period that Ashwin chanced upon what was to become his mainstay. “A casual visit to a salsa dance class and one look at the dancers was enough for me to make up my mind. I initially danced the Cuban style but after seeing a demonstration by some of the salsa dancers in the movie ‘Dance with me’, the Puerto-Rican style of salsa caught my fancy,” he informs.

Ashwin’s salsa style mainly focuses on ‘Cross-Body on the 1’ with a New York feel and has been influenced by a number of top instructors from New York and L.A with whom he trained. About three years ago he started teaching at a friends club in London, which he really enjoyed and has kept it up ever since. Having traveled all over the U.K and Europe, he has performed at the Berlin Salsa Congress and the Manchester International Salsa Congress .

The strong magnetism of his roots brought the dancer back to India and he started salsa classes in South Bombay. But are there enough dance buffs interested in discovering the intricate steps of salsa? He counters that with, “I started with 2 classes a week and a small batch of students which have steadily risen since then. Realizing the potential in the suburbs I then set up classes in Bandra as well.”

The good-looking hunk can be spotted currently in the popular Tata Safari ad and has also shot for Sansui Hard Rock, Nerolac, Airtel, Royal Challenge, Naukri.com, Kelloggs and a few others. Other assignments in his kitty include a guest appearance on the popular T.V serial ‘Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin’ and voice-overs for a number of commercials. He has dubbed for cricketers Ricky Ponting and Stephen Fleming in the Videocon and Royal Stag ads.

Watch out for this young man who can salsa his way to your heart!

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