Bollywood is as close as West Warwick

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This Saturday, the West Warwick High School auditorium will be transformed when Dance Bollywood Fusion and Fitness puts on their second ever Incredible Bollywood performance.

Over 100 dancers from a variety of backgrounds will dance to the theme “Legends of Bollywood.” Each dance number will correspond to a certain Bollywood legend, be that an actor, musician, or singer.

“Bollywood is like a fusion of everything together,” said Rutuja Patil, one of the founders of Dance BFF and a dancer in the show. “This year the theme is Legends of Bollywood. We are talking about the big themes, the heroes and the villains, and the actors and actresses.”

“Last year we had around 500 people,” said Rupa Datta, the other founder of Dance BFF.  “We expect this year to be at full capacity.”

Patil and Datta started dance Bollywood Fusion and Fitness in 2016 in Providence. Both of them have training in classical Indian dance. Now they have three different locations: West Warwick, Providence and North Attleboro. A for-profit company, Dance BFF holds classes across age groups and also performs in festivals such as PVD Fest and the Heritage Festival.

Datta and Patil met in Rhode Island after moving to the United States from India. Datta came to the States in 2006 and Patil in 2011.

“We with a few of our friends have been dancing for the last four or five years,” said Patil. “But we realized we have to do something official.”

“I think that dancing together for so many years together, thinking back, that was almost preparation for this business,” said Datta. “Because that showed us how much people actually like Bollywood. I started as a Zumba instructor, and in Zumba whenever I used to play Bollywood music people would go wild. Now that I think about it, it feels full circle. Two of my choreographers I met through Zumba and they kept following me and now they are my choreographers and lead dancers.”

As for the dancers themselves, they come from a wide range of backgrounds, both in terms of their dance ability and ethnic identity.

“It is not necessary to have a dancing background,” said Patil. “What we need is a love for dancing, a passion, and being ready to work hard. About ethnicity we have a mix, all across.”

Bollywood is not a style of dance, but instead refers to the movie industry in India. Bollywood, in terms of annual film production, is the largest movie industry in the world. In Bollywood films it is common that songs are a large part of the film, with the actors dancing and lip-syncing along to the music.

For the “Legends of Bollywood” performance on June 16 Datta and Patil decided on their favorite actors and actresses, musicians and singers, and will have different dance numbers to represent each one.

Some of the Bollywood legends being covered are the actresses Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit, the actors Shar Rukh Kahn and Amitabh Bachhan, and the composer A.R Rahman.  

Last year the theme for the “Incredible Bollywood” performance put on by Dance BFF was “Era’s of Bollywood,” a performance that followed the evolution of the Bollywood movie industry from the 1950’s to present.

Noel Moreau of Smithfield, Rich Dupere of North Providence, and Victor Kong of Warwick all danced in last year’s show.

“We got involved with BFF through Zumba Fitness,” said Dupere. “Now we’re some of the core dancers.”

Moreau said she was doing a “little bit of everything” for the show, while Kong was specializing in a type of Indian dance called Bhangra.   

“You sit in an office all day, and then you get to do this and get up and move around,” said Kong.

“This is kind of our outlet from our day to day Monday to Friday lives,” said Dupere. “It’s a lot of fun.”

The show is this Saturday, June 16, at the West Warwick High School auditorium. Doors open at 4:00 P.M. and the show runs two hours, from 5:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. Tickets are $25 online, or $35 at the door. Indian food will be available for purchase at the venue.  

If you want to watch some Bollywood movies before the show, Datta and Patil recommend the following: Slumdog Millionaire, Lamhe, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or Sholay.

More information can be found at DanceBFF.com.

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