Bollywood DanceBollywood = Bombay + Hollywood
Simply put, Bollywood refers to the Indian film industry centered in Bombay (known today as Mumbai). It must be noted however that the Bombay film industry is the centre of the Hindi/Urdu language films. Almost every state in India has its own language hence, the Tamil language films from Madras (Chennai) or the Telegu language films from Hyderabad are sometimes also bracketed in the same genre of ‘Bollywood’ since to an outsider the song, dance, extreme emotional content and zaniness would appear to be reasonably similar. A typical Bollywood movie is almost always a musical. Whether the movie is a tragedy, comedy, romance, action or even a war movie, songs and dance are an integral part of the movie going experience. In fact the concept of an Indian pop music band is quite rare due to the preponderance of the Bollywood film music albums. This results in well known playback singers and music directors but no ‘bands’ as such. Thus, the music and films in Indian pop culture spring from the same source. Given the nature of Indians, where there is music there is dance. One visit to India would prove to any observer that across the huge diversity of languages, ethnicities, religions and cultures, Indians require very little encouragement to break into dance. From raucous street celebrations for sports victories to religious ceremonies, which explicitly call for dance as an offering to the gods, the gyrations of the body and the expression of the
face are part and parcel of Indian culture. And no dance style typifies this emotional exuberance more than Bollywood, which fuses class with the mass, East with the West, ancient with the contemporary till such an extent that you can’t really define what a Bollywood dance style is, but you recognize it immediately once you see it. The reason Bollywood dancing is a complex fusion of many styles is because these seek mainly to entertain. The box-office prospects of any movie can be significantly heightened if there are a couple of good song and dance sequences. Thus, movie makers try to capture the zeitgeist of the movie viewing public. This is very apparent in
Bollywood music and dances when viewed in a chronological order. The older movies from the 50s had strong classical or folk dance influences. These influences do exist today as well but then so are influences from break dance, hip-hop, jazz or other Western styles. Bollywood is unencumbered by any stylistic orthodoxy. This allows a very rich vocabulary of stylistic interpretation.
Whether it’s a girl running coquettishly with a lover around trees or 50 stunningly dressed women dancing in perfect sync in a ‘dream sequence’ dance, Bollywood leaves no stone unturned in expressing whatever the singer is singing or whatever the audience likes. It is this expression, which is one of the central aspects of Indian dance. Body movements are not only made for aesthetic purposes but also to express direct or subtle messages as per the lyrics and mood of the songs. The eyes and the face expressions are equally important because Bollywood dance is as much about acting as it is about movements. Why learn Bollywood dancing? 1. Freedom from rules Bollywood dancing is a dance form, inspired by Indian dances but is not a homogenous style. There are no real dos and don’ts. Energy, expression and sensuality are all that you need to get started. Think of the various hand movements, twirls, hip shakes and head movements as the letters of the alphabet. Play a racy Bollywood song and write your own compositions with these letters. Indeed, you can add more alphabets from other dance styles as well. The most wondrous joy is being able to connect with your body and soul. Self-expression is one of the most liberating experiences. Once you learn the alphabet you can express yourself with vitality and beauty. 2. A fun and vigorous workout Most Indian folk dances were typically performed by rural folk for harvest festivities, weddings and other social celebrations where expression of communal joy takes place. It is therefore fitting that along with grace, aesthetics and beauty these dances would involve a lot of quick movements. After all what better way to express your happiness than to dance vigorously with gay abandon? Popular Bollywood songs and dance typically tend to capture this joi de vivre. A good side effect of dancing with quick step changes, movements and hip gyrations is the complete body workout that results. Bollywood dances heavily involve arms, hips and back muscles in addition to legs hence at the end of a Bollywood dance session one can expect to have worked out almost all the important muscle groups of the body with the added benefit of having enjoyed thoroughly. 3. A new style of expression Many stock movements and aesthetic devices employed in Bollywood dance owe their origin to ancient dance treatises, cultural metaphors and local traditions. The visual aesthetics of Indian dancing are in many ways exotic compared to Western stylistic understanding. As a student of dance and culture, one can expect to be introduced to a whole new world of expressing emotions, stories and even trivial occurrences beautifully through dance. Bollywood dance excels in fusion and offers an exciting journey into a new world of creativity and interpretation. 4. Look and feel Beautiful! Costumes, make up and accessories are an integral part of Indian dancing, which is very apparent from the colourful, flashy attire worn by an actress during any song and dance routine. However, as important as these external accoutrements are, to looking pretty, real beauty comes from within. A seductive smile, a sensual twirl, a lovely hand position combined with sly glance all combined with a joyful light heartiness can project an aura of beauty that no number