A true blue Punjabi, Arshdeep's first choice of dance was bhangra. He even went on to perform at several shows. However, it was during a trip to Greece that he had his first encounter with salsa.
Arshdeep is all things out-of-the-box- a salsa dancer, merchant navy officer who has been brought up in Punjab, and most importantly a winner at World Salsa Summit. But his journey to becoming a salsa virtuoso has been an interesting one.
A true blue Punjabi, Arshdeep's first choice of dance was bhangra. He even went on to perform at several shows. However, it was during a trip to Greece that he had his first encounter with salsa. He witnessed a group of people swaying to salsa and couldn't stop thinking about it. That's when he decided to learn the art form and never look back. "I distinctly remember the day when I fell in love with salsa and wanted to make sure I became one of the world's leading salsa artists," shares the 37-year-old. But Arshdeep knew this was going to be an easy journey. It took him 10 years to achieve his goal and get to the point where he is today.
"I went to several countries to get trained - from Los Angeles to Montreal, I wanted to earn the art and be the best at it," shares Arshdeep, who started teaching professionally after he returned from Los Angeles in 2012. He set out with dreams of creating a salsa moment in Punjab and throughout India. Things started to take shape when he competed at the World Latin Dance Cup in 2016. Luckily, he reached the finals and was beyond elated but his quench to become number one was still alive.
"It wasn't easy especially because I was competing against expert dancers from the Latin fraternity who have taken to this dance form right from their childhood. But I never gave up on my dreams and decided to follow my journey," says the Jalandhar resident. It was 2017 when things escalated quickly when he bagged second place in Miami as part of the World Salsa Summit with his partner Almendra Navarette who is from Chile.
During this period, he was also associated with Novaera Production, a dance school in Montreal. As part of his journey, Arshdeep has also performed at several shows in Quebec, Miami and won several titles.
He was on cloud nine when he went to win first place in 2018 as well as 2019 with his partner Samantha Scali from Montreal in the same event which is the World Salsa Summit. It is said that this summit is one of the world's leading salsa competitions that takes place every year in Miami. Salsa experts from across the world come down to take part in this competition.
This made Arshdeep the first-ever Indian and Punjabi to have won at an international salsa event. But what made him even more unique is his personal style which is fast footwork and unique body movement. "I got creative while dancing salsa and began trying these dance moves on different Indian classical instruments such as tabla, santoor, and flute. I even had the opportunity to perform with kathak Pandit Rajendra Gangani, a well-known Indian classical dancer. I had an event titled Table & Santoor which received some amazing reviews and responses," shares the recipient of Kalashree Award. Arshdeep hopes to return with accolades after competing at the World DanceSport event happening in 2021.
Currently, the dancer runs his own dance group named "Salsa Empire" which sees students and instructors participate in several events to win competitions. He also makes sure to pass on all his salsa knowledge which is heavily influenced by the core Cuban community to all his students. In fact, you can see the inspiration in all his choreography.
The merchant navy officer continues to dream and aspires to open a dance school in Canada. He also hopes to create a new generation of Latin dancers. Now, an army of salsa dancers is not such a bad thing for this world, is it?