Tuesday, July 08, 2008

All the hot girls.

There was one point today during Jay Kumar's Big Bollywood Dance Class when he yelled out to the crowd, "All the hot girls, make some noise!" and really, no one responded. He said, "Come on, you have to cheer now, because you're all hot girls, even the fellas!" and then tried again, and he did get a bit more response. But really: we were all having a great time, but did any of us actually self-identify as hot girls?

Perhaps I should back up and tell you that, as this was happening in the piazza of the British Library, his dance class was composed almost entirely of scholars and older Indian ladies. The former were on their lunch break, all deciding in unison that today was a workday like no other. The latter were there in hopes that there would be some time for some more traditional Indian dances, which there was (though for one woman, who kept going up to him as he was teaching Bollywood dance steps and asking was now the time, it could not come soon enough). We scholars were dressed in our sweaters and days-old trousers, while the Indian ladies were wearing beautiful saris with raincoats, and we were all wearing glasses.

Hot girls!

The event started with a performance by Jay Kumar's troup DanceAsia. Here is a video I found of them, though they did not have sticks at the library:

Then he got everyone out into the middle of the piazza to teach us some fairly simple (but extremely fun) steps so that we could dance to several different songs. There was a decent lot of phootographers there, too--amateur and professional--as well as a reporter from the BBC World Service, who he convinced to come up onto his platform and shake her ass, which she did with great aplomb.

If you have never seen Bollywood movies, with their enormous extravagant dance numbers, you may not know quite what I am talking about. But seriously folks, these are musicals to a new extreme--beautiful colorful costumes, elaborate scenarios, and music that makes you want to jump out of your seat. There are few situations in these films that cannot benefit from a dance number. Looking forward to a wedding? Dance. Unable to marry the man you love? Dance. Faced with a wedding you dread? Dance. Afraid of losing a cricket match and therefore all your land? Dance then too. Entire plot lines are introduced for the purpose of requiring dance numbers. And the dancing is fabulous! In fact, treated this past weekend to a vast display of fabulousness, I am still not sure that this is not MORE fabulous. Really.

(Now granted: a library piazza full of scholars in drab jumpers and older ladies in raincoats dancing in mid-summer drizzle did not look fabulous, but we FELT fabulous!)

In a way, what he was having us do was not unlike aerobic dancing or disco, except that some of the moves had a particularly Bollywood flavor. In fact, the whole experience made me wonder whether anyone has thought of structuring an aerobics class around Bollywood music and dancing. I am sure they have, but I tell you (or do I need to? You know how I love Bollywood music and films): if I could find one, I would go every day.

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