What's That Dance
By Joanna Gertler
Photo by Maltus via Flickr (CC)
Bollywood dancing is a commercial name for modern Indian dancing as depicted in Bollywood films (Hindi films made in the film industry based in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay) and is a combination of classical Indian folk dancing and sometimes has a Latino and Arabic influence.
In modern films, Indian dance elements often blend with Western dance styles (as seen videos), though it is not unusual to see Western pop and pure classical dance numbers side by side in the same film. In the 1980s and 1990s, Western music videos reached India, and the dancers choreographing Indian films adapted many moves from the music videos of Western artists.
The hero or heroine will often perform with a troupe of supporting dancers, usually of the same sex. If the hero and heroine dance and sing a pas-de-deux, it is often staged in beautiful, natural surroundings or architecturally grand settings. Many song-and-dance routines in Indian films feature unrealistically instantaneous shifts of location or changes of costume between verses of a song. This staging is referred to as a "picturisation". Generally, the lead male and female dancers lipsynch the lyrics – in fact, “playback singers” have their own followers!
Bollywood films are mostly musicals, and are expected to contain catchy music in the form of song-and-dance numbers woven into the script. A film's success often depends on the quality of such musical numbers.
Indeed, a film's music is often released before the movie itself and helps increase the audience.
Check out these videos for samples of Bollywood numbers:
Many people are drawn to Bollywood dance classes for the fast-paced aerobic movements and the upbeat music. As with many hip-hop dance classes, Bollywood dance instructors often offer a new routine during each class, teaching basic dance moves while delivering a challenging, fun aerobic workout.
Fitness is often the goal of students in Bollywood dance classes. They want to stay in shape and have a good time while enjoying dance. However, some studios offer more intensive Indian dance workshops for students who want to go beyond Bollywood dancing.
In Alberta, Ammena Dance Company and School of Decidedly Jazz offer Bollywood classes – check out their schedules for Fall and join in on the fun!