Everything You Need to Know About Bollywood Dance

Bollywood dance moves are now a familiar sight on Western TV and cinema screens. But what is the symbolism of the gestures, footwork, and costumes drawn from classical Indian dance styles? Bollywood dance is easy on the eye. Dramatic facial expressions and cinematic pizzazz mean any viewer, dance aficionado or not, can follow the story.

But beneath the fizz is a series of historic symbols and traditions, which originate in India's numerous traditional dance forms. Classical dance forms such as Bharatnatyam and Kathak, and folk dances such as Bhangra, each have their own unique styles, but they often share signs and meanings that are combined to create modern Bollywood dances. You can learn Bollywood dance from various renowned dance schools. 

Hand movements

These are hand movements that act as a form of sign language to help to tell a story or demonstrate themes such as weather, animals, or places. In Bharatnatyam, these hand movements are called hastas. Asamyukta hastas are done with one hand, while samyukta hastas are done with two.

Mudras are a separate set of hand gestures used across a number of classical Indian dance forms. There are about 108 mudras in total, and successful dancers should know them all. These are very important if you want to be a Bollywood dancer, you have to know the basics," says Kalaria, a London-based dancer, choreographer, and performing arts consultant.

Neck and head movements

The side-to-side neck movement and the forward-and-back slide known as the pigeon head is predominantly an aesthetic part of the dance, but it also adds a sense of fluidity. 

It looks really beautiful, but actually, it's probably more helpful to the dancer than the audience. It helps them to become expressive. If you feel free in the neck, you are able to be more emotive, to have stronger facial expressions.