From Traditional Folk to Bollywood Masti – Maharashtra has it all!

Maharashtra – rightfully called the Great Land has a glorious past which forms a halo for the state. Hidden within this great land is a rich history of great kings, great rulers and great culture. Known to be one among the most populous and pulsating states of India, Maharashtra has a plethora of activities and things to do. Rooted deeply in traditional values, the people here celebrate a large number of fairs and festivals. Undoubtedly, dancing as an art form is a pivotal part of these celebrations. What better way to express oneself than dancing and who would deny the fact that exploring various dance forms of a region is the best possible way to get to know their culture. In short, vibrant folk and traditional dances make up a beautiful mosaic of the Marathi culture.

Each dance form has a certain history attached to it. Take for eg, the Povada, a form of Marathi ballad depicting the historical events of bravery in the life of the most revered leader Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Basically a genre of Marathi poetry, these Povadas is usually performed to invoke devotional, heroic feelings among the audiences. Nowadays, these performances cover not only historical events but also talk about the political scenario and social incidents too. Dhangari gaja, as the name suggests is a peculiar dance performed by the Dhangar (shepherd) community wherein the songs are usually dedicated to nature. Dindi is a religious folk dance performed on the day of Ekadashi which essentially portrays the naughty and playful nature of Lord Krishna. It is basically performed to the beats of a small drum called Dindi, hence the name. Another highly popular dance form from this Great Land is Lavani. Derived from the word Lavanya which means beauty, this genre of folk dance deals with different and varied subject matters such as society, religion, politics and romance. Originally it was meant for tired soldiers as a form of entertainment and morale booster. The Lavani songs which are sung along the dance are usually naughty and erotic in nature and the dialogues tend to be pungent in socio-political satire. However one cannot overlook the fact that through its powerful rhythm, Lavani has contributed tremendously to the development of Marathi folk theatre. Talk about the dance of joy and you have the Koli Dance performed with great fervor by the fishermen community showcasing their vivacity and jolly nature.

In simple words, the eclectic mix of distinct cultures has shaped the state of Maharashtra into a land of prosperity and spirituality. Although believed to be modern to a large extent, the residents here maintain their culture by following their traditional practices. It is this willingness and openness to the appreciation of performing arts that has led to Bollywood establishing its stronghold since inception. Because if you come to think of it, the history of Hindi cinema is in many ways the history of song and dance. To put it more precisely, the evolution of Hindi cinema can perhaps be seen through its song and dance. Bollywood as it is more fondly called was coined by combining the two names – Bombay (now known as Mumbai) and Hollywood. Based in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra it is the world’s largest film industry if one were to consider the number of movies released and the number of tickets sold every year. Ever since the inception of sound in Bollywood, the song and dance feature has become the key factor to the extent of being hailed as a mainstay element. No Bollywood film would be compete without a series of songs and dances woven into the storyline. At times, the song and dance routine has even played an outsized role in the world of Hindi Cinema. If you have had the chance to observe the Bollywood dance closely, you might wonder as to what exactly classifies the dance routine. It is safe to say that Bollywood as a dance style has no specific rule. Surely there is no one particular way to choreograph a Bollywood performance as over the years, various dance styles and pop culture have played a pivotal role in its evolution. Each era of Bollywood has a unique character of influence to it, be it Elvis Prestley, Michael Jackson, Madonna from the west or the home grown talent like Helen, Shammi Kapoor, Govinda, Hrithik Roshan among others. As a matter of fact, over the past few decades Bollywood by itself has become a unique entity nurturing a new variation of a dance genre, developing into a globally recognized and applauded phenomenon. Initially where the Bollywood movies used to feature authentic classical art forms like Kathak and Bharatnatyam , today however it has its own set of moves. No wonder, Bollywood style of Dancing is now a huge craze in USA, UK, Europe, Japan & China.

Bollywood has certainly come a long way from an era where the focus of song picturization was a few impromptu moves around trees to an era of highly choreographed affair featuring professional and talented dancers in exotic backgrounds. The conceptualization has shifted from just the routine steps to a more thought-out form of storytelling. Moreover the advent of Reality TV programming has given a much needed boost to lesser known dancers giving them an opportunity to dream high and showcase their talent to a much wider audience. One such talent to have made it big even before the advent of Reality TV is Remo D’souza - an ace choreographer who can be easily referred to as Eklavya of the modern world as he is a self-trained dancer who perfected his art watching videos of Michael Jackson. He represents the new breed of choreographers who have successfully made the transformation of embracing new contemporary styles. He firmly believes that the whole dancing scenario in India has changed. Initially there were a few western styles, but now everyone brings with themselves their unique moves like krumping, BollyHop, Bollymotion among others.

Having been associated with multiple Reality Dance shows like Dance India Dance and Jhalak Dikhla Ja, he sure knows to spot a true talent when he sees one. A strong advocate of taking up dance as a career choice, Remo really knows the struggles associated with this field. Precisely the reason he has teamed up with a few professional and talented choreographers to open a platform encouraging and at the same time engaging true dance talent called Whether you are running solo or as a duet or for that matter have an entire team of choreographers, invites you to come aboard and connect with those seeking choreographers for their events. A much needed initiative to bring together highly qualified choreographers who are skilled in not just Bollywood dance form but also international dances like Salsa, Jazz, Jive, Latin, Tango, Rock n Roll, Waltz, Belly Dance and not forgetting our very own styles of Folk, Garba, Fusion Style, Bhangra, Kathak, Kathakali, Bharatnatyam. What’s unique about this entity is that there is no restriction as such, be it in terms of budget or the kind of event. Weddings, Sangeet, Cultural/ Corporate Functions, School/ College Event; all are covered to train you for a performance nothing short of a standing ovation. And why not, as they have been handpicked by Remo himself so that the ideal choreographer does justice to your special event. After all, isn’t it true when they say, ‘Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another.’

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