African dances and their contemporary dance styles from Europe, like Ballet, the leg-drumming dance of Ireland, and the colourful dance from Spain used to be the popular dances — at least than the Oriental belly-dancing and the Bollywood dance. But with the explosion of transcontinental media, Indian dancing — especially — has gained traction and many Nigerian lovers.

Loved more by men, danced more by women, Indian dance moves are popular for their sensuality and magnetism. Many Nigerian young women have since found them to be a handy hymeneal skill. In fact, Bollywood dance costumes now find use at weddings, hen nights, and some other social events in Nigeria.

So, let’s dive into the world of Bollywood dance and see how you can learn to pull some moves. But, hey! I hope you like Indian music too?

Explore Indian Dance Styles

Bollywood Dance history

Dancing in India is a cultural object. It is a prime aspect of the Indian culture that dates back to many centuries ago. If you have watched a couple of  Bollywood movies, you would know that not a scene passes without some body-twirls and shakes. Maybe quite exaggerated, but the point is: dance just like music, in India, remains a traditional item of social unity, cultural heritage, romantic beauty, and entertainment.

Dancing Indian Girls
Indians consider dancing to be an ancient part of their culture and so every child starts learning to dance from childhood. Source: Unsplash

The popularity of Indian dance styles extends throughout South Asia, and it is beginning to reach Europe and Africa. The translocation of Indian dances has become possible with the wider reception of Indian cinema. That is why Bollywood dance is by far the most popular of the Indian dances, even despite its new entry.

A key feature of Indian dancing is its strong ability to express emotions and meanings. Movies like Mohenjo Daro, a 2016 film on revolution, and Happy New Year, a 2014 movie on revenge successfully sold the idea that Indian traditional dance and Bollywood dance can be tools of expression and change.

Another excitement with Bollywood dance is its close connection with other aspects of the Indian culture, i.e music and drama. Like it is in many African societies, dance has grown to become a key part of different social functions in India. From marital events to life celebrations and even religious occasions, you will find the use of dance in many aspects of India's social sphere.

Indian dance is just the umbrella name. Indian dance forms vary from location to location according to local traditions!

Learning to gain sufficient mastery at Indian dance moves requires a complete exploration of the Indian culture itself, as Indian dancing cannot be separated from the culture. Understanding the Indian culture can help you to understand the expressions summarised in some dance moves and make your execution finer and easier.

Indian traditional dance may seem similar to the Spanish flamenco in its use of beautiful Bollywood dance costumes, but trust me, the Leopard is different from the Jaguar even when they both have spots.

The Different Indian Dance Forms

Your first task after deciding to take classes on Indian dance styles will be choosing the most appropriate style for you.

Like earlier mentioned, there are different styles of Indian dance, each with its unique sprinkles of local flavour. But even with the variations, many of the styles have common elements and ideas. The differences are in the tempo of body movements, footwork, and whether to be danced solo or as a group. There is also the difference of 'time'. Is it the Indian traditional dance or the new hybrid styles?

A dancing Indian lady
Deciding what style to learn is important in setting your Indian dance journey on the right course. You will always find your choice. Source: Unsplash

But irrespective of whichever dance style you choose, be prepared to learn how to be expressive with your body, your face, and even your eyes. It is a complete drama course just like it is with African dances.

Here is a list of some Indian dance styles.

  • Sattriya dance
  • Kathakali
  • Gidda
  • Mohiniyattam
  • Garba
  • Lavani
  • Rouf
  • Bihu
  • Manipuri
  • Odissi
  • Ghoomar
  • Chhau
  • Bollywood

As an extra sauce, women in India have their version of belly-dancing too. Learning Indian dance moves can give you a blend of both. Your interests should lead you in deciding which style to stick to. You should also consider the complexity of the moves, the kind of music, and the uses of the dance before you make up your mind. Nonetheless, be confident that you will find a suitable dance form for you.

To make your task easy, you can decide to watch an introductory video on the different Indian dance styles. You will surely find a lot of them on YouTube. A better option will be to hire a private home tutor on a knowledge-sharing platform like Superprof. Most of their tutors offer a free first lesson. With that trial class, your tutor can guide you on the best dance style for you and create a teaching method that will give you optimum results.

You might not get the right tutor if you keep typing ‘Bollywood dance classes near me’ on Google. If, in fact, Google suggests classes or tutors for you, you will miss out on personalised benefits that you can get with instructors on a top-ranked site like Superprof. So, you see. There can be no better option!

Check out these dance styles around the world that could make you an international figure in dancing.

Learn Bollywood Dance Moves with a Dance Instructor

Get an Indian terpsichorean to teach you the art

If you are interested in Bollywood dance and would love to master the cultural beauty, you should consider getting an experienced Indian dancer as your home instructor.

Taking dance classes at home provides sufficient attention and personalisation that will keep your learning curve upshooting. Quite ideal if you intend to pick a career in world dancing, become a reputed non-native Indian dancer, or have dreams of participating in international dance tourneys.

Indian Dance Training Class
Like every other dance, the best way to learn Indian dance is through in-person classes with a dance instructor. Watch your tutor do it live, get to ask questions, and receive professional supervision. Source: Pixabay

With private dance classes, students can get to learn right from the fundamentals up to mastery at their own learning pace and under a professional eye.

How can I get an Indian dance instructor?

  • Through referrals, reviews, or recommendation from dance groups and communities,
  • Learn via the YouTube channel of a Bollywood dance instructor,
  • Find a teacher through banner ads,
  • Travel to Indian for work/study and get an instructor,
  • Hire a professional Indian dance instructor through a tutoring agency, etc.

Superprof Nigeria is a trusted private tutoring outfit where you can, at budget-friendly prices, get the best dancers who love teaching and have developed effective teaching strategies. Superprof creates a dashboard for each tutor where prospective students can read about the instructor, his/her methodology, services, and competencies, and even reviews from past students. It runs a system based on transparency and excellence. You can even work a discount with your tutor depending on the frequency of classes.

Grab the hand of any of the profiled Indian dance instructors on Superprof and start your journey to Indian dancing. Or you may even want to learn just the Oriental belly-dancing. There is a tutor for everyone.

Learn Indian Dance Forms On Your Own

Explore video learning for Bollywood Dance

With the many e-learning opportunities that exist, you will find more than enough learning resources on the internet to kick-start your Indian dancing adventure. It will, however, be specious to claim that you will progress as quickly as you would with in-person dance classes when you solely learn through videos. But, of course, consistently following dance training videos from popular Indian dancers can give you a solid grasp of the basics of your chosen Indian dance style.

You can find such free videos online by checking websites on Indian culture and lifestyle. Additionally, there are YouTube channels owned by professional Indian dancers that offer free dance lessons that can make you a better Indian dancer.

Here is a list of some Bollywood dance YouTubers for your use:

  • Team Naach
  • Dancercise Studio
  • Devesh Mirchandani
  • Aadil Khan
  • Poonam and Priyanka
  • Melvin Louis
  • BFunk
  • Dhanashree Verma
  • Kruti Mahesh’s Kruti Dance Academy
  • Manpreet Toor
  • LiveToDance with Sonali
  • The Dance Mafia

Be reminded that these free channels are not a replacement for private home dance classes.  They can only provide the basics for you as a beginner and, perhaps, give you dance ideas if you are an intermediate level dance student.

If you are concerned about progressing fast or becoming a professional dancer yourself, you will need a private tutor.

There is nothing wrong with adding the western ballet dance to your 'to-learn' list. It is worthwhile!

Apps for Learning Indian Dancing

Can I pick some Bollywood dance moves right from smartphone apps? Gladly, yes!

Another self-help method in learning the different Indian dance styles is via Indian dance apps that have been creatively designed for self-learning. Even beyond learning Gidda, Manipuri, Mohiniyattam, or whatever style you may have decided upon, many of these dance apps — except those specifically for Indian dances — offer fun guide and resources into learning many genres of dance, i.e Ballet, Salsa, Hip-hop, and Step dance.

Again, these apps are free! While some dance apps can serve as your dance buddy, providing you with sample workouts, real guide, and routine to mastering your desired dance, other dance apps provide you access to a large library of digital resources for your dance pursuit. With dance apps, learning Bollywood dance can be more fun and easier. But trust me, they serve best as a complement to your private dance lessons. Like learning through video learning, they are no replacements for physical dance classes.

Consider this list of dance apps that can be your pocket dance guide/buddy:

  • Bharatanatyam Dance Steps
  • Bollywood Dance
  • Dance Fit Studio Lite
  • Learn to Dance Bollywood
  • Dancy
  • Bollyshake
  • Dance with Madhuri
  • Learn Bhangra

One other great benefit of dance apps is the access they give for users to join virtual dance communities and network with other dancers around the world. They also provide good choreography ideas and are a great source of entertainment.

So, now that you have your options, what is stopping you from becoming the Nigerian Mohini?



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A Nigerian freelance SEO Writer-cum-Editor and 2019 Writing Fellow of ALWF who blends creativity with rich content to produce sterling copy — persuasive, informative, or expository. He loves nature and trains in Karate, and he loves to help others grow — individuals and brands.