Ball dances and fairy-tales somehow go together. For it’s in storybooks that the prince and the princess clap eyes on each other at the ball, fall in love and live happily ever after.
Remember Cinderella? The story of a girl who went from tending cinders to becoming a princess is a tale that has held many a generation captive. The most important scene of the story or rather the climax takes place at the grand ball where she meets the prince who eventually marries her. Something similar plays out at the Boxing Day Ball organised by the Anglo-Indian community, minus the evil stepmother, though.
Considered the event by the Anglo-Indian community, families pull out all stops for the ball being held since 2004. The ball is not just about dancing, but also about finding potential life partners; for it is here that young men and women from the community meet in a formal setup. Many from the community have actually met their life partners here.
Derrick Lincoln Martin, a retired Merchant Navy captain, who’s a resident of Secunderabad now, met his wife, Franciana Martin, at Bombay Colaba YWCA ball dance. “I liked the way she carried herself and was instantly attracted. I asked her to dance and we got talking. After going out on a few dates, we decided to get married; it clicked. It’s been 57 years we have been married now,” recalls Derrick.
In their day, the dance was a waltz which the Anglo-Indians were adept at, but with the infusion of Bollywood music and affinity for modern dance forms, one sees more of salsa and filmi dance steps at these gatherings. “There is no set dance anymore; it’s a mix of jive, foxtrot and waltz. Jive is faster, while the other two are slow dances.
There is a live band too so the dancing continues till the wee hours of the morning. And it’s not just couples who dance, but also family members. We throw in a masquerade theme to keep things interesting,” says Brendan D’cruze, an associate software engineer. With dance games galore, it’s a fun night for all age groups. “It’s an occasion for families to socialise.
There is no societal pressure and age restriction in the community. In terms of marriage proposals, we have arranged and love marriages. There are no issues if the girl is a few years older than the boy. What’s important is they love each other,” says Hilary Platel, general secretary, All India Anglo-Indian Association, Hyderabad and Secunderabad.