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Rio Rhythmic’s “Tell your dance story” project aims to highlight the accomplishments, transformations and achievements of members in our community.

Nigel and Sparshy’s dance story

Nigel, what first brought you to dancing?

I have always had a love of music and rhythm from an early age. Dance was a skill I didn’t possess and always wanted – although through my teen years I was way too self-conscious and awkward – never able to “let go” and dance what I always felt. I was terrified to dance so I always stood aside and watched others. Once I was over 40 I reflected on my life and decided to take on things that I was always scared to when I was younger.

I was living in West End by this stage and had been walking past Rio Rhythmics for a long time on my way to boxing training. Eventually I plucked up the courage and walked in (after watching “Cuban Fury” to give me inspiration). This was the day my life changed and dance became my new world.

This year you were appointed as an ambassador for Rio Rhythmics – someone who we believe upholds many of the values we hold dear. What does the role mean to you?

I am very proud to have been appointed. Rio Rhythmics is a community that changes people’s lives. Being an ambassador gives me the ability to give back to that community – and to share it with as many people as possible. Everyone’s dance journey is different, and there are multiple pitfalls and frustrations that come with it as well as the rewards and joys. I love that I get to stand with people through the frustrations and share in the joys and watch people grow to become leaders in the dance community.

Sparshy, how did you first start dancing?

I have an ancient obsession with dancing – It started off ages ago when I had dreams of being in a boy band – singing and dancing with the likes of Westlife and Backstreet Boys. I did cart-wheels and knee spins on mosaic-tiled floors– which faded as I grew older and I realised I wasn’t really built for it. I had been searching since for an alternative and chanced upon Latin dancing when I came to Brisbane. A simple google search brought me to Rio Rhythmics in 2014 and I am glad it did because I have been addicted ever since.

What is the most important thing that dance does for you?

I find solace and peace when I dance. As a respite from the chaos of everyday life; I feel the world go quiet as I dance away. It gives me a safe space to lose my reservations and the need to control everything in life and just let life happen around me. Other than picking up the paintbrush – dancing is the only other activity that gives me this serenity and calm.

So Sparshy and Nigel – when and where did you meet?

We first saw each other in 2014 at Rio Rhythmics. Nigel was one of the Student Supporters for one of my Foundation level classes. Though we did have close encounters during classes starting back then – the first time we spoke to each other was in early February 2015. The conversation was brief and small – as we battled to keep our introvert alter-egos at bay. It all began with Nigel stealing an imaginary Easter Egg and a shared joke that it takes two to Bachata… 

‘Love on the dancefloor” is just an old saying, isn’t it?

I have watched others in love on the dancefloor and they are always those who when they dance together you cannot keep your eyes off them. They don’t always dance with particular skill or flair, but the connection you feel from them permeates the entire dance floor.

Neither of us approached the dancefloor looking for love, but the dancefloor gave us as introverts the ability to communicate with each other on a whole new level and led us to appreciate each other in ways that would have taken years to discover otherwise. Love can definitely begin on the dancefloor, or it can enhance the love you bring with you.

Do you think dance is a metaphor for relationships?

Without a doubt! Dancing together definitely teaches you how to navigate a relationship, more so in our case. To learn to lead and to follow without either being in charge is the ultimate balancing act. Two strong-willed people – approaching dance from two completely different perspectives – working together – Let’s just say we are now a formidable team capable of high-level combat! We have always enjoyed dancing together but as we progressed along we realised it is not all about the enjoyment – it is about giving each other space, trusting each other, respecting each other’s capabilities and listening to one another as we dance along. Isn’t that the 101 of every successful relationship??


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