Bollyburn: Bhangra meets Beyoncé

Bollyburn: Bhangra meets Beyoncé

by Marlies Dekkers
About my love for Bollywood and my latest fitness obsession.

The bizarre love triangles, the over the top costumes, the brilliant colours; I love Bollywood movies! After watching one of those three-hour extravaganzas I feel like anything is possible. My favorite part has to be the amazing dance segments; a dazzling mix of classical Indian dance styles and the latest Western pop moves. I get so excited when I see 50 dancers break into a super sexy Beyonce move in the middle of a Bhangra* dance routine!

But Bollywood also has a growing influence on Western pop culture. I first became aware of it during the beginning of the 2000s, when Basement Jaxx’s groovy Bollywood-esque ‘Romeo’ was the hit du jour and Baz Luhrman came out with his mind blowing ‘Moulin Rouge!’, which he admitted was his attempt to create a Western version of a ‘high comedy, high tragedy’ Bollywood film.

In a way, this is exactly the kind of masala -the Hindi word for a spice mixture- I had in mind when I designed my Mirabai collection: my personal remix of India’s glamorous sensuality. A wearable ode to Bollywood.

But back to the Bollywood dancing segments. When I watch them, I find it impossible to sit still. Yet I know that many of the gestures and footwork have symbolic meanings, and that it takes years of practice to master them. So I usually sit there and tap my feet, too awestruck to actually get up and dance.

Then I discovered the incredibly fun Bollywood Dance YouTube tutorials by Ria Rele. There are plenty of similar videos out there, but Ria is my favorite choreographer by far. This feisty Indian lady has a no-nonsense, thorough approach, breaking down the routines in comprehensive steps, making you feel like you could, perhaps, be a Bollywood star in your next life. Check them out and enjoy. But be warned; they make you sweat! They don’t call it Bollyburn for nothing…

Bollywood dance workshops in Amsterdam

*Bhangra: a type of high-energy music and folk dance from the Punjab region.

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