What do we know about India? A place of curry and turbans? A place to travel and see exotic places and ways of life? A place that produces funny movies with random bursts of song and dance?
Those funny movies full of colour and dance are part of one of the worlds biggest movie industries. Bollywood produces more movies per year than Hollywood and has an audience of 3 billion people. Those funny little movies are not so little any more.
Not only is the Indian film industry supportive of dance but India as a whole places our art form on the highest pedestal. Dance is included in every festival, every holiday and every celebration.
You might be thinking why this affects you as an Australian dancer. Well the answer is this. Along with their unhealthy infatuation with pale skin and blonde hair, Bollywood films are often set in foreign lands. The industries demand for foreign dancers is ever increasing.
We are appreciated for our foreign looks and strong dance abilities. Most dancers who work in Bollywood work all day every day dancing and they get paid for it. Where else in the world can provide this amount of consistent work for their dancers. Australia’s awareness towards dance is slowly increasing through TV and other media sources. But there is still not enough desire of dance performances to supply our incredibly talented dancers with enough work to live sustainably. We all have part time jobs, or fulltime jobs in different fields.
Dancing in India is an experience that cannot be related unless experienced first hand. Every day there are at least 5 different shoots going on from the traditional Indian style dance to LA style hip hop in songs sung by well known American recording artists such as Akon, Snoop Dog, Ludacris and many more as well as Indian singers. Hip-hop in Bollywood? Who would have ever thought?
The chance to travel and see different parts of India and south East Asia are some of the benefits offered to dancers in Bollywood. Live shows with audiences that double what could fit in Acer arena. As dancers there is nothing better than the feeling and seeing the appreciation of your audience.
Lady Gaga made her Indian debut earlier this year and spoke with Bollywood heavy weight Shah Ruk Khan about her career and possibilities of creating a movie together.
Although it’s a life of glitz and glam its not to say its an easy path. Being away from home and your support of family and friends while battling the cultural differences and language barriers is tougher than could be expected. It’s not for the faint of heart. But as dancers we battle through many areas of our lives in different ways. It’s an experience like no other. Once you’ve experienced what India and Bollywood has to offer the next step in your career won’t seem so hard.
This piece was written by Sydney Dancer Toni Ambrogetti after her Indian Bollywood dance contract. Any pro dancer interested in this type of work, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.