A Beginners Guide to Bollywood Dance and Its Styles


Bollywood is the term used for the film industry of India. Originally it was a play on the words “Bombay” and “Hollywood”. The Bollywood film industry is the largest producer of films in the world. Quite often people refer to Mumbai (formally known as Bombay) as the Bollywood capital, and Bollywood films are known for their love stories, colourful dances and music numbers. (Although contrary to popular belief, not all Bollywood films are musicals).

Since India’s Independence in 1947, the Bollywood film industry has grown considerably and has seen many influences from other countries. Dance styles within the films originally derived from a mix of classical Indian styles (such as Bharatnatayam and Kathak) where the dancer would ‘tell a story’ through movement and was often danced in the temples; and folk dance styles such as Garba, Bhangra, or Rajasthani influences.

Whilst many Bollywood dances still have elements of these classical and folk styles, Western music had had a major impact on the songs written for more modern movies. From the 1970s, styles such as rock and roll, Latin, pop, r’n’b and hip hop started to make their way into the works of Indian composers. The western influence assisted in the Bollywood film industry in growing to other countries around the world, and now has a huge following in the UK, US, Australia and so on.

So, what is the difference between Bollywood and Belly Dance? Firstly, they both originate from different countries. Bollywood is from India where as Belly Dance originates from the Middle East, and whilst Bollywood can incorporate some moves from Belly Dance styles, there are more hand and body movements compared to Belly Dance (which is mostly from the torso and hips). You will also find that whist Belly Dance is traditionally danced by ladies, Bollywood dance is performed by both men and ladies.

The Indian culture has a love of performing – it’s not about whether they can or can’t dance, they just either do or don’t. Go to any Indian Bollywood event, and you’ll find they’ll have no hesitation in getting up to dance, especially to some popular Bollywood or Punjabi tunes. So now you have more of an idea of what Bollywood dancing is, why not check out your local area for a beginners class and see that it’s more than just ‘turning the light bulb’ and ‘patting the dog’. Who knows, you may discover a passion for dance you didn’t know you had!

Source by Racheal Leigh

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