02.11 Bollywood Dance Technique Comes to Worcester

By Megan Parks

culture-bollywood-copyAs temperatures linger below freezing and the snow refuses to melt, the eternal riddle remains. How do we combat those winter blues and stay fit without ending up on a treadmill feeling like a hamster trapped on its running wheel?

But of course! Design a fitness routine rooted in celebration. This is what Glenda Carnate accomplished upon opening her dance studio, Revolution Dance & Fitness Complex (RDFX), to teach Bollywood dance fitness classes.

Bollywood is the Hindi-film industry’s equivalent to American Hollywood. However, Bollywood is not an actual physical location, but rather describes the Hindi cinema industry based in Mumbai, India. Many of the films produced in Mumbai are musicals, which are famous for their elaborate song and dance sequences.

“I fell in love with the epic dance scenes when I first watched the dance sequence to the song ‘Do La Re’ featured in Devdas,” Glenda explained. “The dances are very intricate and detailed and seem to be expressions of celebration. Watching them always makes me feel happy. ”

Before opening her studio in September 2009, Glenda traveled to London and Los Angeles to formally train in the complex techniques of Bollywood dance.

“Bollywood dance technique is very difficult, and I love it. But I wondered how to make it accessible to everyone,” Glenda mused. She decided to transform the intricate movements into simple dance moves that could be woven into an exciting 45-minute, cardio dance fitness class.

Glenda’s choreographed dance moves are set against the hottest Bollywood songs, along with the classics. She fuses her light-hearted attitude into basic moves rooted in Indian folk dance movements, such as Bhangra and Giddha, and from classical Indian dance, such as Kathak, Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi.

There’s jumping, hip movement and a lot of arm movement. And of course everyone loves Jai Ho, which was featured in Slumdog Millionaire,” Glenda elaborated. “But people are there to have fun and work out … it’s not a Bollywood technique class, but rather a Bollywood fitness class.”

Upon entering the studio, Glenda greets patrons with her warm smile and infectious laugh. Adorned in typical workout apparel and running shoes, we spread out across the studio.

At first, the dance moves are slow and simple in time to one of Bollywood’s hip new songs. As the minutes pass, the dance steps quicken, and the beat becomes wilder. The upbeat Bollywood songs consume each person as we closely mirror Glenda’s every twist of the arm and twirl of the body. We are transported to exotic lands, cruise ships, tropical oases … anywhere but another bleak New England winter day.

Classes are offered Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m.

RDFX Studio
76 Webster Street, Worcester (off rte 12), 774-262-4629
Web Site: www.youdanze.com
E-mail:  gcarnate@youdanze.com

Pictured:  Pose from the dance sequence in the film Devdas, courtesy www.indiafm.com