I recently asked Bollywood Dance instructor Prakash Mohandas to write about Bollywood. Hope you enjoy what he has to say…
I am going to start this blog with the same question I ask in my classes, what do you know about Bollywood Dance?
The most common answers include Slumdog Millionaire, So You Think You Can Dance and a gesture of a light bulb being turned with one hand while squashing a bug with one foot.
My response to their comments, in this order, is always, “Wrong,” “Well, kinda” and “Are you serious?”
While the majority of people aren’t really sure how to define Bollywood, occasionally I come across the true Bollywood fan. This person names all the movies he or she has seen, to the amazement of the rest of the class.
At this point an explanation is required as to why we’re talking about movies in a dance class. Bollywood is the name given to the Hindi film industry in India which primarily operates out of a city called Bombay (now Mumbai). So with Bombay being the self-proclaimed Hollywood of India, the term Bollywood was coined! Isn’t it ingenious?
So what exactly is Bollywood Dance and where did it come from?
Bollywood dance is, in essence, Indian film dance centered around music from Hindi movies. Bollywood dance is defined more by the music than by the dance style itself.
Bollywood dance is a genre that draws inspiration from various dance styles such as Bhangra, Folk dance, Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary and more. The choreography of a Bollywood song and the steps that go into it are governed by the music it’s set to and how these dance styles can effectively be used to communicate the music. The advantage of this diverse dance form is that it gives the freedom for the choreography of Bollywood song to range from slow to upbeat and classical to contemporary. This is what makes it fun! In fact, there is one thing that is common to any kind of Bollywood number—energy!
Do you hear Bollywood calling?