Bringing Bollywood to USF

New dance club on campus offers up enthusiasm, exercise and a taste of India.



By Daylina Miller News Writer


TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 6, 2010) – From the Ballroom Dance Club to the Swinging Bulls, the University of South Florida is not lacking in happy feet.


Other dance clubs, like Argentine Tango and Latin Dance entice students in through promises of fitness and fun.


As USF accepts more and more international students, it only seems fair that the dance styles would expand as well. With 17 percent of USF international students being Indian, it makes sense that Bollywood would be the next club in line to diversify the culture of dance on campus.


The term Bollywood was coined to refer to the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India. It rivals its American namesake Hollywood as one of the largest film production centers in the world.


Bollywood films are usually musicals. Few movies are made without at least one song-and-dance number and the plots are often melodramatic. It's a combination of classical Indian dance, folk dancing such as Bhangra and sometimes has a Latino or  Arabic influence.


The club meets every Tuesday night, with new members hesitantly peering in through the door upon arrival, only to be instantly converted to fans of the upbeat music and dance steps.


“I’d always wanted to try one of the dance clubs but this one is new and interesting and I haven’t seen it on the campus before,” said Alaina Bridges, an anthropology major. “The music is really upbeat and easy to dance to.”


Even those with two left feet found the dances easy to learn and enjoy.


“I’m a horrible dancer but this class was only an hour so I decided to give it a shot,” said MacKenzie Tewell, a graduate student in applied anthropology and public health. “It’s good exercise. I like the enthusiasm. Everyone had a good time and didn’t worry about how silly they looked.”


“Bollywood has become an integral part of our Indian culture over the last century,” said Supriya Ketkar, graduate student and life-long dancer. “Indians feel connected to Indian cinema. It’s a form to showcase their festivals, celebration and sorrows. We at the club feel that introducing students to Bollywood-style dancing is introducing the students to India's rich heritage and culture in a new dimension. We really enjoy the multicultural and diverse student population we see in our dance classes.”


A lot goes into orchestrating dance club meetings, said Karan Khokar, the club’s president. A week before a dance session starts he, Ketkar and Swati Srivastava , club secretary and choreographer, get together to choreograph for the dance sessions. Then they publicize the event with flyers around campus, on Facebook, Note-a-Bull News and via Blackboard listserve.


“We are in the process of forming the website so that pics and videos could be uploaded on it,” Khokar said. “That way, participants can access the videos too and practice from home.”


Ketkar danced the entire session with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. Her enthusiasm was contagious as all participants seemed to be enjoying themselves.


 “We all are passionate about dancing and take every chance and opportunity to shake a leg,” Ketkar said. “As our schedules keep us busy, we all felt the lack of dancing in our lives. This club has not only given our creativeness a boost but also given us immense satisfaction teaching dance to other students.”


 Bollywood Dance Club meets in in Rec 107 on Tuesdays from 8 p.m. to 9p.m.

Daylina Miller covers student activities and trends and can be reached at 813-500-8754.