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Bollywood dance taking America & West by storm

Bollywood dance craze is spreading across USA, Canada and Europe.

Bollywood dance classes/workshops are hot, fun, energetic and contagious and Bollywood dance studios/companies/centers/schools are popping up almost everywhere across cities of America, Canada and many countries of Europe to teach its hip-shaking moves. Many night clubs are having “Bollywood nights”.

It has been gaining foothold for the last few years and spreading to the mainstream and the success of Oscar winner “Slumdog Millionaire” (Danny Boyle) has added fuel to the fire. Many artists have reportedly used its style, including Missy Elliot, Black Eyed Peas,  Truth Hurts, Daddy Yankee, Dr. Dre; and besides Slumdog,  various other movies like Moulin Rouge, Monsoon Wedding, The Guru, Ghost World, The Inside Man, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Bombay Dreams’  also showed Bollywood dance sequences.

Corporations like Oracle and Cisco are reportedly hosting Bollywood dance classes on their campuses in exercise areas. Even prestigious University of California Berkeley has its own Bollywood dance team called Ishaara. Besides for having fun, people are flocking to it for keeping fit, a good cardiovascular workout, weight control, excellent aerobic exercise, body discipline, making them feel good, etc.

Welcoming the growing popularity of Bollywood dance, acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed says that in this excitement, let us not forget our classical dances like Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali, Sattriya, Mohiniaattam, Chhau, etc., and hundreds of regional folk dances, and continue working for their promotion and preservation.

Bollywood dance classes are getting bigger (reaching 40 sometimes) and are also taught at community centers, YMCA, YWCA, schools, adult education centers, colleges, universities, yoga studios, etc. Longinus Fernandes, who directed about 3,000 dancers in Slumdog Millionaire’s final “Jai Ho” dance sequence, recently reportedly taught Bollywood master class “Dance 101” in Atlanta. Besides people of India descent, many mainstream Americans and foreigners are taking these classes, which sometimes cost $40 each and have waiting lists.

From London (which had a London Mela last Sunday attracting about 83,000 people who participated in mass Bollywood dance), to Tuscaloosa in Alabama (where Bollywood dance was held in a mall last Saturday), its craze is increasing everyday. At Dance DC Festival in Washington DC, the opening night on August 28 begins with “Live! A Bollywood Experience” performance.

Bollywood dancing is a high energy vibrant dance performed to the Bollywood tracks and is fusion of traditional Indian dances, folk dances (including Bhangra), and western influences; popularized by Bollywood movies which usually feature about seven song-dance sequences, mostly involving two people falling in love. It is a free dance, an expression of joy.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that traditionally Lord Shiva invented dance who first danced the cosmic tandava. Sage Bharata first codified rules of classic Indian dance in Natya-sastra treatise. Dancing had been used as a devotional aid also and Vaishnavite mystics Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sant Tukaram both danced in ecstasy before Lord. Certain sacred dances like kuttu could only be performed in temples. The nimble footwork in some of the Indian dances was quite extraordinary, done with great skill and a remarkable sense of timing and manuals listed several hundred movements of hands. Ras-lila was popular throughout India which even had war dances, fertility dances, etc., Zed added.

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