Hooray for Blackpool Bollywood

Bollywood dance class at Palatine.
Bollywood dance class at Palatine.
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BOLLYWOOD is entertainment, entertainment, entertainment.

The words from a popular Bollywood song ring out over and over again as wannabe dancers of all ages are put through their paces by instructor Lash Shah.

Wednesday night is now Bollywood dance class night at Palatine Sports College, St Annes Road, South Shore.

The nine-week courses, which have just started, so there’s plenty of time to catch up, are luring men and women with the promise of health and fitness in a fun way.

Dance is one of the best ways of keeping active which is why the sessions, presented by 
Nritya Sangam Indian and World Dance, are supported by Aunty Social.

The Blackpool-based community network provides people aged 16 to 40 with opportunities to meet new friends through positive activities.

One of the most successful elements, Knittaz with 
Attitude, is sponsoring Lip Service Theatre’s production of Inspector Norse at the Grand Theatre next month – with a set which is entirely knitted.

Aunty Social also has a shop on King Street and is backing a Halloween film screening of classic black and white gothic horror films Nosferatu and Frankenstein’s Monster on October 31 at the Winter Gardens Pavilion.

But the interest in Bollywood has been unprecedented – and ultimately those taking part in the classes could be part of the big Diwali (Hindu festival) party in the Spanish Hall at the Winter Gardens on November 10.

The Festival of Lights will celebrate classical Indian and Bollywood dance, buffet included, sari wearing welcome but not necessary.

Organiser Madhvi Chabba-Moudgil says: “It’s fabulous way to have fun, work out, tone up and learn how to dance Bollywood if you’re a beginner, and take it to the next level if you are a dance pro.”

The Strictly Bollywood Diwali dance classes are just part of a much bigger programme.

The Hindu and Indian 
Cultural School and 
Community for Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde is also supporting other 
initiatives.

These include special classes in story-telling, singing, music and drama for children on Sundays, and, for adults, authentic Indian classical dance from the temples of India, semi-classically-based Kathak and Bollywood fusion dance and cultural dance courses, all running between now and November 4. All offer the chance to be part of the Diwali party in November.

More importantly, says Madhvi, they bring cultures together.

Catherine Mugonyi, who oversees the Aunty Social network, is already a Bollywood fan. “I love it. It’s just pure enjoyment and entertainment, and it’s lovely to be part of it. The steps are quite basic, so it’s not hard to master by any means, but put them all together and it is beautiful.”

Former belly dancer and first time Bollywood dancer Sarah Goldstone admits: “It’s a really joyful, uplifting experience. I’m enjoying it.”

Tutor Yash, of Ludus Dance, and from Bollywood capital Mumbai, agrees. He says: “Dance is a great leveller and that’s often the big message of Bollywood. Sing, dance, live, love, enjoy life. It’s good to see so many people here just getting that – and becoming more used to the moves and having a good time.”

Young husband and wife Pankaj and Snigdla Mishra have also jumped at the chance to take part – with two month old-baby Mugdha along for the ride in her pram. “This is my wife’s treat,” says 
Pankaj. “She has been 24 hours a day with the baby so it’s a chance to relax, dance, and have fun.

“And my turn will come with the next class when Snigdla will wait it out while I dance. I can’t describe how good it feels to dance.

“I think it’s very different to mainstream dance in this country. It has a more direct connection with your heart, and mind, and body. I feel energised after dancing.”

The best thing about it all? For Catherine it’s the “music – it just makes you want to dance.” And it gives her friend Madhvi the chance to share the soundtrack from one of her favourite films Dirty Picture, a 2011 Indian semi-biographical drama film inspired by the life of a Bollywood screen siren.

The classes are every Wednesday from 6.15pm to 7.10pm and 71.15om to 8.10pm. For more information visit www.auntysocial.co.uk