What Is Bollywood?

The term ‘Bollywood’ comes from the combination of the names of Bombay (now known as Mumbai) and Hollywood. The Bollywood film industry, based in Mumbai, is the largest film industry in the world in terms of ticket sales and the amount of films made per year.

Bollywood films are mostly musicals with very few movies made without at least one song and dance sequence. The films feature love interests, comedy and action thrills. The plots are often melodramatic and feature star-crossed lovers, corrupt politicians, twins separated at birth, conniving villains, angry parents, courtesans with hearts of gold, dramatic reversals of fortune, and convenient coincidences.

Whilst the acting and sound tracks that accompany these movies are fantastic in themselves, Bollywood is often known in the western culture for its awe inspiring dance sequences, featuring large numbers of dancers in perfect co-ordination and ornate costumes.

The term ‘Bollywood’ in dance covers almost any style of dance featured in these extravagant musical movies. Some of the numerous styles of dance in films, either in fusion form or in pure forms, include Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Garba & Bhangra as well as Belly-dance, Latin, Hip hop, Contemporary and Jazz just to name a few! Bollywood dance itself is a style which encompasses all of these styles and more, as well as having its own unique flavour and merit.

Bollywood dance is now so popular in western culture that dance classes are offered in most major cities around the globe. Superstars such as Shakira, Madonna and Britney Spears have been inspired to add Bollywood costumes and moves to their stage shows and video clips. Bollywood dance has also gained recognition in the world of western dance and is now featured on shows such as ‘got talent’, ‘so you think you can dance’ and ‘dancing with the stars.