Teressa-Belly Dance Artist in Toronto

My Big Bollywood Dance Weekend!

Date posted: March 16, 2013

As a child growing up in Guyana, I was surrounded by the catchy rhythms and energetic dance styles of Bollywood music and dance that were in the movies frequently shown on TV. Guyana has a large Indo-Caribbean population, as many of our ancestors came to the country from India and with that migration, many of the cultural traditions from this ancestral home followed. I remember being 6 years old and dancing with a professional Indian dancer who was performing at a family friend’s wedding. While I don’t remember much of this event, I do remember feeling quite proud of myself after my “dance”…after all, I was the only person who danced with the performer that night. I’m pretty sure I walked around with my head held a little higher that day. My family finds this particular story very amusing and continue to bring it up year after year…I suppose it’s funny since I’m now a professional dancer who performs at many weddings and other events and this was perhaps my “coming out” as a dancer.

Bollywood movies and the catchy music and intricate dance moves have stayed with me throughout all these years after that first performance. As I began my belly dance career many years ago, I revisited my Bollywood dance roots and began to fuse the two dance styles together. Although they were very distinct, they also provided moments of convergence that made for a creative fusion  of the two dance styles. As such, I began doing many more  Bollywood-Bellydance performances and have continued to do so for the past few years.

So far this year, I’ve been doing lots of Bollywood performances, including a weekend I like to call My Big Bollywood Dance Weekend (okay, so that wasn’t very creative…). It was such a wonderful weekend of dance that reminded me of just how much I love the upbeat, celebratory aspects of Bollywood dance styles, so of course, I had to share.

On the Friday evening, I had the privilege of performing at Besharam, a monthly South-Asian nightlife event. This was such a great event to dance at; the audience was so appreciative and excited. Additionally, I got to brush up on my Bollywood music and dance to some newer songs that the audience really appreciated. You know that moment at a club when the DJ plays the song that everyone’s been waiting all night to hear and everyone explodes in happiness? It was one of those nights. Here are some photos:

On the Saturday evening, I performed with my good friend, Svetlana, at the Boxgrove Lion’s Club annual Gala event in Markham, Ontario. The organizers wanted a bit of both worlds: a bellydance show and a Bollywood show. We planned a show that encompassed both, with our bellydance show, we began with a grand entrance with veils twirling around us, followed by duet and solo performances to our favourite bellydance songs. We finished off our first set with an exciting drum solo duet, showcasing sharp accents and big shimmies. Our Bollywood performance followed, which began with a grand Isis wings performance, then a duet performance to the  popular audience favourite, Jai Ho! from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. We performed a medley of upbeat, contemporary Bollywood songs that really got the audience moving. Finally, we finished up our second set by getting some audience members up to show off their Bollywood moves. We had so much fun dancing at this event and it was a blast to do not only Bellydance, but also some Bollywood as well. Below are some photos from the event (photos by Reena Deon):

Bellydance With Svetlana!

Isis Wings!

The audience had some great moves!

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