Busting Out Bollywood Grooves?
Story By: Shariffah Nur Alawiyah
Photos By: Shariffah Nur Alawiyah, Sameera Begum & Nurul Deanna
When you think of Bollywood dance routines, what comes to mind? Energetic. Lively. Colourful. Flamboyant. This stylistic type of dance is known worldwide. It has garnered much attention from people of different cultures, making it a largely familiar sight with the extravagant costumes, dramatic facial expressions, and melodious songs.
Bollywood Dance is a blend of numerous styles that includes the fusion of classical dances like Kathak and Bharatanatyam, together with Cabaret and Disco style. It has since evolved over the years with the current dance numbers influenced by elements of the Arabic, Latin and Western dance styles such as Jazz and Hip-Hop.
I grew up watching Bollywood movies and hence, this genre of dance was never foreign to me. The lavish production sets, costumes and songs intrigued me. Hence, attending this class also was a way for me to appreciate the beauty of the Indian culture.
I went online and found Dance Embassy where I then booked a trial class for a Bollyaerobix session. Little did I know that the class would be such an intense one! Upon arrival on a Tuesday evening, my teammates and I were warmly greeted by Rosie Lavania, the founder and dance instructor of Dance Embassy. I was pleasantly surprised that there were people of other races as well who attended the class. Chinese, Malays, Italians and even Japanese!
Considering that my teammates and I were all beginners, we were taken aback by the fast-paced movements of the steps and the class in general. At first, I was a little hesitant to join the other dancers in the class as I was inexperienced. However, I managed to warm up and got more comfortable as the others in the class were encouraging and friendly. Lavania was also a great motivator given her bubbly personality and positive outward persona. That, along with the great company of my teammates, allowed me to let loose and bust out some moves!
My teammates and I stuck out like sore thumbs from the rest of the class. Nonetheless, I tried my best to follow the steps despite being lost half the time! Several Hindi songs were played in that hour’s duration. With the change of song, came the turnover of routines. Although challenging, I was up for it!
After completing the class, I felt a lot more relaxed and carefree. One thing I would point out is that it was physically demanding and strenuous but I am almost completely certain that the great atmosphere and company overrules it entirely. Not to mention the added advantage of burning some extra calories in the process!
This experience was indeed an insightful one. Since we are living in a diverse pool of cultures, it was refreshing to see people of other races and nationalities being adventurous enough to try out something that is completely out of their comfort zone.
I strongly urge others to be more culturally informed especially with the growing population of multi-ethnic relationships. There is beauty in every culture, often, more than meets the eye. Getting the opportunity to attend a Bollywood dance class as a first timer was a great way for me to venture into the ever so rich Indian culture.
Given the opportunity, I would surely do it again. In fact, I have already booked my next session with Dance Embassy!
Take a look at what goes on during BollyAerobix at Dance Embassy. Also, watch the Editorial Team of Catch! bust some moves.