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Manukian’s map of dances: Bollywood

Emma Manukian, assistant entertainment editor

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Out of 195 countries and 4,416 cities across the globe, dance is a big part of many cultures all over the world. One dance that many don’t recognize is Bollywood dance. The word “Bollywood” refers to South Asian film industry, centered in Mumbai (Bombay), combining both the term of Hollywood and Bombay together.

The purpose of Bollywood dance is to convey a story in a film because the dance usually adapts to the story line. The style of this type of dancing is very different from what is most popular here in the U.S. Most of us are typically used to hearing about jazz, hip hop,or classical/ballroom, but Bollywood instead derives from Bollywood films based on Indian classical dance or folk dances from various parts of India.

Just like most types of dances around the world, Bollywood dance comes with a variety of costumes to convey their own messages. One of which is called “pallu”, a colorful draping with bold borders reminiscent of other South Indian designs. It is worn across the torso in the front and tucked into a “kamarbandh” or waist chain. This pleated fan is essential to the look because it forms how your body is able to move. The movements have become more bold & extroverted to capture the audience’s attention.

Indian dance dresses are created to match the vibrant, dramatic and often loud movements of the dance itself. Thus, the use of bright colors, golden borders intricate embellishments and beautiful drapes can be seen in almost all types of Indian dance wear.

Costumes can also be used to reflect the latest fashions, thus resulting to contribute to the overall ‘feel’ of the dance. The actual dances are a combination of classical Indian dance movements like Kathak and Bharatanatyam styles, both of which are seen in Bollywood dance numbers, globally recognized as major elements of the Indian culture. One has to see Roshan Kumari’s dance sequence in the film pJalsaghar of 1958 where she performed a traditional Chaturang item of Kathak.

As Bollywood films and dance become more popular, the dance form takes on even more forms and adaptations such as creating the generation we live in today.

Currently Bollywood Dance is still influenced by Western culture, perhaps even more so today than when it began. Elements include the use of frequent costume and location changes during dances, as well as the use of larger dance troupes. And the movements havI ie become more bold and extroverted to capture the audience’s attention. The Evolution of Bollywood Dance is a process that is entirely Indian and yet cross-cultural at the same time.

While Bollywood dance may be most prominent in film, it is also taught in classes, performed in competitions, and used as a form of exercise. If you’d like to try out a Bollywood dance, make sure to follow the link below to learn the basic steps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv6oPBqQ_VQ “Learn some basic Bollywood dance moves” on YouTube.

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