Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bollywood Dance Competition - Intercollegiate Style

When teams from Standford, Berkeley, USC and UCLA square-off, there is usually sport involved. That's why I was surprised to discover that the West Coast's latest organized collegiate competition involves Bollywood dance. Uh huh, that's right. Though collegial musical showcases, often with awards for best performance, are not uncommon; the arts are usually too genteel for fierce competition. Well, not for a group of enthusiastic (and brainy) California Desis who have turned Bollywood dance into a competitive sport - featuring large troups of dancers, multiple costume changes, and sappy romance or moralistic melodrama. And why not? Buff and brainy dancers shaking their hips and undulating as only NRIs can. How do they do that head thing?

A few months ago, trained and tuned-up teams of young dancers representing the four really big California universities gathered at Bollywood Berkeley to show off their moves before a crowd of screaming partisan fans. This is better than any cheerleading competition ever was. Not that I ever tuned-in to one of those. And these teams are serious about having fun and competing. If you don't believe me, then check out this gangsta intro video that the USC team put together. Then there's this longer vid of the Stanford team in one of their dances. And finally, this 29-sec clip of the winning UCLA team on stage.

So this is definitely the kind of thing I could veg-out and watch on Saturday afternoons over a Kingfisher beer and Samosas.

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