Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hooray for Bollywood!

I thought I knew a little bit about dance... academically, if not in practice.... I have dabbled in a variety of forms and thought I knew what was out there... I even thought I may have a feel for the next big 'thing'.... and then I found IT.

Now this 'it' is not something new or hidden.... rather it is more of an under-your-nose, practically in-your-face sort of thing.  It is none other than the contagiously jubilant form of dance featured in the ballyhooed Bollywood movie musicals.

For those who don't know (and/or have been hibernating under a rock) the Hindi film industry, dubbed Bollywood as a play on words using Mumbai's previous nomenclature of Bombay.  The sheer volume of feature films churned out in India is ten times that of its Los Angeles counterpart.

But quantity is not all that marks this popular established art form.  While many consider it a new fad, it actually underwent its golden age during the period of the 1940's-60's!  In its current incarnation it is marked by jubilant gorgeous song and dance numbers performed by incredible talent such as international superstar Aishwarya Rai.... of whom I am an unabashed fan!

Recently, due to the acclaimed movie Slumdog Millionaire as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber's Bombay Dreams and various dance shows, the dance itself has exploded in popularity. Bollywood dancing  combines modern Indian dance with Bhangra, Classical Indian, Arabic and Indian Folk, performed to the latest Bollywood soundtracks.  

As I have an inkling that this is not my last blog on the subject, seeing as how I have become entranced, I will leave off for today, with these words by Indian playwright and poet Rabindranath Tagore, "To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking."