Feel the Heat of the Bhangra Beat!

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Bollywood dance classes are booming throughout the UK. Hot on the heels of the new Bollywood Dancing World Record, monitored by the Guinness Book of Records and set in Trafalgar Square by 278 youngsters earlier this month, comes news that Cardiff Council has been working with the Sports Council of Wales to provide funding for a group of Bollywood Dance Leaders. They will lead classes throughout the city as part of its Regeneration Challenge program.

Hiral Narbad Shah, one of the leaders says, “The dance qualification was a challenge — we did lots of things we’d never done before. There were different styles of dance which we had to get to grips with but we’ve all improved so much. It’s given me lots of confidence.”

Phil Carling of the Sports Council for Wales added, “We were really keen to support this project and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to help.” Cardiff’s Bollywood explosion started at the Maindy Swimming Pool but has since spread throughout schools and sports centres all over the city.

The enormous success of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams in the West End and Shilpa Shetty’s Miss Bollywood shows that Bollywood dancing is here to stay in the UK. Channel 4’s Bollywood Star reality show also added to the hype in its efforts to find the UK’s first authentic Bollywood dancing star.

The script for Bollywood Dreams was written by Meera Syal, best-selling author of Anita and Me, who also wrote the script for Bhaji on the Beach, one of the BBC’s best-remembered TV movies. Meanwhile, Shilpa Shetty’s show was a complete sell-out when performed at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London.

Every major city, every town and just about every dance studio in the UK now offers Bollywood dancing classes as part of its repertoire and the UK’s Bollywood dance championships were held recently. Some centres are specialising even further. At the London Dance company, for example, you can choose between Bollywood Grooves, Bollywood Performer, Bhangra Street, Bollywood Street and Classical Indi-Bollywood.

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