Three weeks ago I signed up for Bollywood Dance Class, and finally last week we had our first class!
Bollywood is one of the largest film producers in India, and one of the largest centers of film production anywhere in the world. Bollywood is a play on words combining Bombay and Hollywood. Often mistakenly understood to encompass the whole of Indian cinema, Bollywood is only a part of India’s large and thriving film industry. Nevertheless, Bollywood is sure the most popular form of Indian cinema in the U.S. Most people have heard of or seen the over-the-top, emotion-conveying dances that characterize Bollywood dance. Even “So You Think You Can Dance?” features Bollywood fusion dance every now and again.
So where does Bollywood Dance Come From?
Bollywood style dance is a fusion of many different influences, old and new. Dances vary greatly but are tied together through their representation of Indian culture. Bollywood dance includes elements from ancient Sanskrit dramas, regional Indian folk theatre, Parsi theatre, Hollywood musicals, and western television like MTV.
I have always been drawn to the fast pace and expressiveness of Bollywood dance. So when I ran down the list of Minneapolis Community Education dance classes and saw Bollywood there among the fray – I knew I had to take it! My teacher Mystic Siren, photographed below, was an excellent coach for beginners.
Having only taken one dance class before ever, and finding myself way behind the class when it came to learning choreography, I was excited to take a class for beginners. Everyone was on the same level and grateful when the footwork started real slow. I was able the master the steps in half time before she picked up the pace. For the first class we just learned some basic steps and hand gestures, but I had a great time. If you want to get a glimpse of Bollywood Dance, check out this music video for the song Chammak Challo from the movie Ra One. I have’t seen the movie but I love the song – and you might find the singers voice familiar, because it’s Akon!
I can’t wait to keep learning, and luckily I have 8 more weeks to soak it all in! Wish me luck!