THE BOLLYWOOD CONNECTION
Dance your way to better health with the help of Bollywood Fitness, where the focus is on the music and the fun, not the stress of trying to lose weight.
Dance your way to better health
Wecan’t think of a better way to get in shape than dancing to Bollywood beats. Its high energy will give you a great workout while arming you with some very fancy dance moves! Bollywood dance fitness has grown increasingly popular over the last few years, following hot on the heels of the Bhangra club craze that took London by storm. ‘Bollywood dance is the dance form used in the Indian film industry,’ says Veena Sukha, the owner and founder of Bollywood Fitness CT. ‘Originally it was a fusion of the traditional classical dance styles of Bharatanatyam and Kathak, and traditional Indian folk dances. Elements of modern dance, hip hop and salsa have also been introduced.’ Dancing boosts energy, metabolises carbohydrates and fats, and tones muscles. Doing it just once a week will also assist with the rest of your exercise regimen because it increases strength, endurance
It’s liberating because you subconsciously put more emphasis on the music and getting the steps right rather than fixating on the ‘weight loss’ factor.
and flexibility. The mental benefits of dance fitness are also great – as we all know, dance is joyous and can lift your mood. More than that, you’ll also experience a boost in mental sharpness and creativity, says Veena. Because your routines continuously change with dance, you don’t grow bored of doing the same thing. It’s liberating because you subconsciously put more emphasis on the music and getting the steps right rather than fixating on the ‘weight loss’ factor.
Veena, who is trained in a South Indian classical dance form called Bharatanatyam, has been dancing since the age of three. After graduating she explored other dances of Indian origin, which makes her a great instructor because she can change things up so much. She’s quite the fitness fundi – she loves spending her free time hiking, running, going to the gym and, of course, dancing – Bollywood Fitness is a combination of her two great passions: dance and fitness. The class is open to men and women and usually compromises an hour long stimulating routine. ‘Time is precious so the class delivers a full body workout across the various Indian dance genres, from traditional dances of Garba/Bhangra to arm/leg and ab-toning routines, in one hour,’ she says. The result is an energising, adrenalinecharged workout. Bollywood Fitness is for anyone eager to work hard and get fit while having a ball. Don’t let the idea of ‘dance’ put you off if you’ve had no training in it – this will be perfect for you because it focuses largely on fitness. ‘Routines start off slowly and gradually build up, so all people across fitness and dance ability can participate,’ says Veena. There’s also the cultural aspect: you’ll learn different forms of Indian dance that Veena has adapted to promote fitness so you won’t be missing out on your weekly cardio either! She’s always looking for ways to challenge the class so she has also introduced high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, which include burpees and kickboxing.
RIGHT: VEENA SUKHA, IN FRONT, OF BOLLYWOOD FITNESS DEMONSTRATES THE FLOWER POSTURE WITH SAUFIYYA MOOKADAM JAFFER, LEFT, AND PAVITRA NAIDOO.
THE BOLLYWOOD FITNESS TEAM DEMONSTRATES SOME MOVES: A FULL SQUAT (TOP LEFT), THE DIAGONAL STRETCH (ABOVE) AND THE RAISE-LEG KICK (LEFT).