Bollywood Beats

We’ve covered quite an expanse of American music in our workshops, now it’s time to hit the Bollywood scene!

Experience a taste of the colorful culture of India in our Bollywood Beats workshop.

Philly Dance Fitness instructors Maya Sethuraman and Deborah Hirsch will take you through 75 minutes of nonstop cardio routines featuring a blend of hip-hop, Bhangra, Bharathnatyam and other traditional Indian folk dance moves.

If you’ve come to any of our Zumba classes, you’ve probably already danced to a couple of Hindi songs. In addition to some of those follow-the-leader style routines, you’ll learn a number of new combinations and longer sequences. The instructors will break down the more intricate steps so that everyone can master them.

You’ll dance along to a wide range of Bhangra and Hindi hits, including songs by Daler Mehndi, Panjabi MC and the Bombay Rockers. But they all have one thing in common – serious energy, so come prepared to sweat! (Modifications will be provided for those who prefer to avoid jumping).

So, if this kind of music makes you want to move, or you’ve daydreamed of dancing in a huge Bollywood number, this workshop is for you.

Ages 13 and up. No saris, or experience with Indian dance, required. But if you do have an Indian outfit you’d like to wear, please do!

Here’s a little clip of one of our favorite Bollywood numbers (which just might appear at the workshop, hint hint) to get you in the mood:

Chaiya Chaiya

Bollywood Beats

  • Sunday, June 2 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
  • The Arts Parlor, 1170 S. Broad St.
  • $12 until May 26, then $15. (Members, click here for a discounted rate). Due to the extended preparation required for workshops, non-members may not apply gift certificates toward tickets.
  • Wear comfortable workout attire and athletic shoes or dance sneakers. Bonus points if you come dressed in a sari or other Indian costume.

Bollywood Background

The word “Bollywood” actually refers to the Hindi-language film industry based in Bombay. The term has also become associated with song and dance as virtually all of these films include huge musical dance numbers. Generally, these are led by the main characters, who are followed by a large troupe of supporting cast/backup dancers.

When it comes to the style of the dancing, there are no real rules. Bollywood routines usually fuse traditional folk dance moves with heavy western influences like hip-hop. The traditional part comes from classical dances like Kathak, Bharathnatyam and Odissi; and folk dances like Bhangra, which originated in the Punjab region of India.

Male farmers typically danced Bhangra to celebrate the harvest using a dhol, a double-sided drum unique to India. Today’s Bhangra is heavily influenced by western culture, so you’ll often see moves from music videos mixed in. There’s also a huge competition circuit here in the United States, particularly among college teams.

Bharathnatyam comes from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It originated in the Hindu temples as a dance of worship honoring god. The expressive hand and facial movements often tell a story, and the music has a distinct rhythmic component.

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