Friday, December 10, 2010

bollywood enchantment

Several months ago, I believe it was the beginning of 2010, I went to Nehru Center, the Indian cultural center, to fulfill my New Year's resolution: to study Kathak.

Nehru Center is ridiculously near my house. And I had always wanted to expand my dance repertoire. So away I went. I had been making phone calls earlier, but decided to just go. The registration fee was next to nothing and so I thought, "Wow, this is a great bargain!"

I told my friends from Dancewave Center and velvetRAQS to join, and finally, Monique, Mifta, and Yulia came on board.

Alas, work overwhelmed me and I missed lots of classes, and when I got in, it had become awfully hard for me to continue. I had to let it go.

In the end, only Yulia and Monique stayed. Yulia even got to perform with the teacher!

To tell you the truth, I've always been a fan of Bollywood movies ever since I was in primary school. Probably because of John Abraham. Okay, so I just spent fifteen minutes searching for the hottest, yet SFW (safe for work) pic of John Abraham, and I found so many that I'll just give you this link. And yeah, it's SFW, despite its warning.

But another more definite reason is because of the dancing and singing and the wide-angle shots and the gardens and the glitters and the sequines and the saris... When it's happy, it's bursting with colors and joy. When it's sad... It's dark and gloomy. Everything is full of drama.

Many of the best dance scenes aren't from Moulin Rouge or Chicago or Step Up series, but from Bollywood movies. (I'm not even going to mention Nine because everyone knows it's godawful.)

The real Bollywood dance, as the name suggests, is a blend of traditional Indian dances (I'm thinking the likes of Kathak, Bharata natyam, and Odissi), sometimes with the more modern Bhangra, and almost always with Hip Hop and Modern or Contemporary. It is either danced in a pair, or really epic.

For The Dance Within 2: Beyond the Dream, since the story revolves on dances around the world, Bollywood is on the list. I found a really neat song called "Aaja Nachle", one of the songs from a movie with the same title, starring the incomparable Madhuri Dixit. Just so you know, "Aaja Nachle" means "Let's Dance", so it's really apt for the show. Yulia then choreographed the dance and I could finally do one of my lifelong dreams: to dance Bollywood style.

There was a time when I got so depressed: I wanted to dance Bollywood, but I didn't know how. Everytime I tried, it looked too Oriental and I didn't want that. I wanted it to look Bollywood. I guess that night, our hard work was finally paid off.

The Dance Within 2: Beyond the Dream
"Aaja Nachle" piece in The Dance Within 2: Beyond the Dream.

Bollywood can be cheesy if the choreographer and the director demand it to be so. Bollywood can be over the top if needed. But I'm telling you, it takes more than that. In the show, the piece was danced by both Hip Hop and Oriental students and teachers of Dancewave Center. I heard one Hip Hop student said the dance we were learning was so damn hard that she would never look down on Bollywood movies ever again.

Amen to that.

The shoulder movements are different, the way we carry the movements are different, far different from Hip Hop and Oriental. I found myself trying hard to adjust to this new thing. But still, it is one of my favorite pieces of the show.

There's an Indian wedding gig coming up on the 26th. The client requests two Bollywood songs and one Oriental. Let's just hope we can really entertain those real Indians. One thing for sure: I wouldn't be wearing the dots above my eyebrows as usual when I'm dancing Oriental / Tribal Fusion.

Photo by Si Troy.


Reflection said...

The hip hop student??ahahahaha that was meeee!!*i guess..

famousfeline said...

Yes it was you!!! Hahahaha... Even you guys who are so used to complicated steps felt that Bollywood dance was difficult.

And then I came with my two left feet.

But we made it work!! Yaaay!!!

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