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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 02-28-2007, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Rule Britannia

What could be less comprehensible than a combined Yorkshire/Bollywood dialect?



Bollywood dance craze hits Yorkshire
By Alastair Lawson
BBC News, Leeds

It's a typical Bollywood extravaganza: a forbidden passion, a wife betrayed, a broken heart, a mother and daughter on the run and... fish and chips.

Yes, fish and chips. Because Bollywood dancing has hit the northern English county of Yorkshire - famed for its love of what was once Britain's favourite dish before it was overtaken by chicken tikka masala.

In fact, so popular is Bollywood dancing in Yorkshire that the county's pre-eminent theatre - the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds - is staging a performance of a play called Bollywood Jane throughout June.

Disenchanted daughter

More than 60 eager young people from all walks of life are auditioning to take part, a reflection of the surge in popularity for this form of dancing in Yorkshire.

Yorkshire dancers in pictures

Bollywood Jane is the story of a British Asian single mother who has "done a runner" from her boyfriend who lives next door.

She ends up in the Yorkshire town of Bradford with just a few bags of clothes and Jane, her disenchanted daughter. Life for the pair is looking pretty grim.

But then Jane meets a local man, Dini, and she is swept away.

Simple routine

In true Bollywood style, the production contains sequins, saris and a glamorous team of backing dancers.

You do not have to be slim or beautiful to do Bollywood dancing
Zoobin Surty

But can Jane escape her drab life and become Bollywood Jane for real?

"You will have to find out for yourself," says instructor Zoobin Surty, who is overseeing auditions for the chorus.

Young hopefuls in groups of 10 are invited to join him on the dance floor and carry out a simple routine.

Most are under 25-years-old, and give the impression they would be totally at home on any Mumbai film set, performing their dance routines with apparent ease. I didn't fare quite so well and was - sadly - invited by the audition panel to take an early exit.

'Spirit and charisma'

"Bollywood dancing has really caught on in Yorkshire," says Zoobin, who came to the county a few years ago from Mumbai and now runs classes in the cities of York, Leeds and Bradford, with plans to expand to nearby Manchester.

He is now a cultural dance ambassador for South Asian Arts in Yorkshire.

Alastair Lawson was asked by the audition panel to take an early exit

"People here seem to like Bollywood dancing for its expression, poise and rhythm," he says.

"Its not so coarse as disco dancing but a little less sophisticated than traditional ballroom dancing.

"You do not have to be slim and beautiful to do it. All you need are passion, spirit and charisma."

Zoobin says that his form of Bollywood dancing is a "fusion of Indian classical dancing with Western dance moves".

He says that while Bollywood Jane in part sticks to the typical Bollywood formula - where boy meets girl who fall in love after a series of tribulations - the production has a sting in its tail.

And young dancers of the county seem to adore it.

"Its exciting, its physically testing, its graceful and above all its fun," says teenaged auditionist Holly Cassidy.

It seems as if the people of Yorkshire have embraced Bollywood with the same kind of enthusiasm that many cricket fans in India have for the batsman Geoffrey Boycott. The mention of his name in India still prompts the refrain of "eh up Geoffrey".

"I am happy to be helping what is already a strong relationship become even stronger," says Zoobin with characteristic modesty.
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