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June 28, 2005 > Dance the Bollywood way!

Dance the Bollywood way!

by Arathi Satish

Bollywood dancing is becoming more popular as a fun way to exercise. One place to take lessons and get into shape is at the India Community Center in Milpitas. Besides Bollywood dancing they also offer Bangra dance as well as more traditional fitness training.

The word "Bollywood" was created by blending "Bombay" (the city now officially called Mumbai) and "Hollywood," the center of the United States film industry.

Bollywood dance consists of various Indian and Western dance forms inspired by Bollywood films. Typically these dance classes cover certain styles of Indian film moves that are more lyrical and expression-based traditional Indian folk dance steps (Bangra and Garba) and Western dance styles like jazz, hip-hop, funk, etc.

Bollywood is a strong part of popular culture of not only India and the rest of the Indian subcontinent, but also of the Middle East, parts of Africa, parts of Southeast Asia, and among the South Asian diaspora worldwide.

Bollywood dancing classes are a great cardio workout said Mona Sampath, class instructor at ICC who is a five-time winner of the All-India Dance Competition and has worked as an assistant choreographer for the legendary musician A.R. Rahman. "The dance steps we incorporate into our classes are definitely full-body [workouts] and designed to get you moving."

Beginner classes start with learning basic rhythms, which incorporate fundamental moves, build confidence. Intermediate classes involve more complicated steps with emphasis on clarity and definition.

Vicky Virk, who teaches the Bhangra Dance classes, says the dhol drum used in bhangra is a great rhythm to exercise to. "The beat will get your hips shaking, arms moving and feet stomping, giving your entire body a great cardio workout," she said. The bhangra is a lively folk dance which traces its roots to the region of Punjab (North India and Pakistan).

In addition to the dance classes, ICC is introducing a new personal training course taught by certified trainer Shobha Reddy who will work individually with students to custom-tailor a program that includes everything from strength training to resistance training.

"Our summer courses are simultaneously enriching and fun," said Sunita Prabhu, ICC director of programs. "What we've tried to do for this summer is create a blend of Eastern and Western offerings that appeal to the many diverse segments of our community."

The center has various other courses in music, art and sports and offers free Bollywood aerobics and hatha yoga classes to members. The summer program began June 26 and continues through Sept. 3 with classes being offered throughout the summer. For more information visit or call (408) 934-1130.

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