When British Prime Minister David Cameron commented in the Olympic season of 2012 that Indian dance is not an appropriate form of exercise for school pupils, he agitated a lot of people and was slammed with hate messages not just by the Brits but by people residing all across the globe. This says a lot about the power, popularity and respect Bollywood dance has earned in all these years!
If the world is a stage, then every other person must be gyrating to desi beats and humming to fabulous Bollywood numbers! Seriously, the growing popularity of Bollywood dance is just unbelievable. The global appeal of Bollywood dance had commenced much before “Jai Ho” grabbed limelight in the Oscars of 2009. However, what it brought was an instant gratification of the popularity of our music, the joyfulness of our songs, and helped secure a position amongst other popular international dance forms.
Fun, flirty and fabulous best describe Bollywood dance routines. The mix and match of classical beats and western styles attribute to the acceptance, fondness and the new found interest of the world in our dance. Indian dancing or Bollywood dancing, as it is popularly known as, is a concoction of classical dances like Kathak and Bharat Natyam, western styles like belly dancing, jazz, and hip hop, and dance-oriented folk music with modern choreography. In the bygone days, Bollywood music remained popular only in places that had a sizeable amount of Indian diaspora and in countries that had a palate for Indian cinema, places such as Nigeria, Egypt, UK, Soviet Union and Middle East were introduced to our songs from early on. But from the early 2000s, Bollywood music started attracting Westerners with inkling for unconventional music and penchant for new instruments and sounds that made them smile, hum along, and swing from the very first beat.
And that was just the start of something new and big. Bollywood-styled music readily started scaling up to a larger platform, entertaining a much bigger audience and began influencing the way the West viewed Indian dance and music.
Baz Luhrmann incorporated in his musical film Moulin Rouge, an Indian-themed play along with the song ‘Chamma Chamma’. Danny Boyle collaborated with the Indian musical maestro, A. R. Rahman for the music of the Oscar-winning flick, Slumdog Millonaire and 127 Hours. Rahman also wrote music for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bollywood-themed musical Bombay Dreams, which ran for two years in London. Not only movies and musicals, Bollywood dance also found a place in numerous international dance shows, namely, NBC’s Superstars of Dance and So You Think You Can Dance, and many international music awards. Who could forget Shakira gyrating to Indianized ‘hips don’t lie’ in the 2006 MTV awards, directed by none other than our own Farah Khan! The latest craze comes in the form of Bollywood Dancing Fitness Program, which many fitness gurus and disciples swear by it. Going by the fun aspect of losing weight, today there are hundreds of Bollywood dance studios and fitness centers in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and in other countries.
The uniqueness of Bollywood dance lies in the fact that it is a concoction of musical ideas and dance styles derived from various cultures yet it is easy to learn and anyone with a flair for dancing can pick up the steps without any formal training. The dance steps are fun and entertaining too. Besides, it’s a fantastic way to unleash your creativity, release the energy within, and unite generations and cultures. That’s what Bollywood dance is all about!
The world is dancing to desi beats, are you too?
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