Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Raggini Makkhar and Nadyog

India's Got Talent is a reality show telecast on Colors television network. The show was so successful that it went up to Season 5. The show supports talents from all arenas like singing, dance, gymnastics, puppetry etc. There is no age limit for the contestants in this reality show. My favorite season was Season 5 hosted by the hilarious Bharti Singh and judged by Karan Johar, Malaika Arora and Kirron Kher. Being passionate about Kathak, I always loved Raggini Makkhar and Naadyog group. This group includes dancers from the age of 13 to 30. This group is run by Indore based Raagini, a housewife.This Kathak institue which is 25 years old has about 360 students as of now. Raggini Makkar and Nadyog is famous for their co-ordination and formations. As the winners of India's Got talent, Raggini Makkar and Nadyog group were awarded Rs.50 lakhs in cash, a luxury car and a trophy. This women group were awarded as the winners on the International Women's day by the two most beautiful women, Madhuri and Juhi Chawla.

My most favorite Kathak dance of Raggini Makkhar and Nadyog to my most favorite song, Kathak to Sawaar loon

Raagini Makkar’s dance troupe wins India’s Got Talent 5!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Sangeet Dance Songs

India, a place where wedding is celebrated with full of the joys of spring. Weddings are planned differently in the different parts of India. In north, there are many pre-wedding and post-wedding ceremonies. In south, there is an engagement followed by the wedding. The eastern and western India have other rituals. In North Indian weddings, every simple tradition of the wedding is made big with all the rituals and music and dance. The bride as well as the groom's family have a whale of time. Dance is an integral part of every ritual. People burn the dance floor during every celebration. The rituals in order are
  • Engagement
  • Ganapathi Sthapana
  • Pithi Dastoor
  • Sangeet
  • Mehndi
Pithi Dastoor

Sangeet is a function meant to dance. Both the bride's and the groom's family dance together. 


The most commonly performed sangeet songs are,

  • Mehendi lagake rakhna, doli sajake rakhna (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayengey)
  • Maahi Ve (Kal Ho Na Ho)
  • Bole Chudiyaan (Kabhi Gushi Kabhi Gham)
  • Ainvayi Ainvayi (Band Baaja Baaraat)
  • Baari Barsi (Band Baaja Baaraat)
  • Kajra re (Bunty Aur Babli)
  • Nagada (Jab We Met)
  • Mauja Hai Mauja (Jab We Met)
  • Diliwali Girlfriend (Yeh Jaawani hai Deewani)
  • Tenu Leke Mein Jawanga (Salaam-e-ishq)
  • Salaam-e-Ishq
  • Gal Meethi Meethi Bol (Aisha)
  • Dance Pe Chance (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi)
  • Radha (Student Of the year)
  • Badtameez Dil (Yeh Jaawani hai Deewani)
  • Ghagra (Yeh Jaawani hai Deewani)
  • Balam Pichkari (Yeh Jaawani hai Deewani)
  • Deewangi (Om Shanti Om)
  • Saree Ke Fall Se (R..Rajkumar)
  • Mujhse Dosti Karoge medley

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Aaja Nachle

Aaja Nachle, meaning "Come, let's dance" is a Hindi film that featured Madhuri Dixit in the lead. Aaja Nachle was a comeback film for Madhuri after 6 years of her wedding. It also features Konkona Sen Sharma, Kunal kapoor, Divya Dutta, Akshaye Khanna and many more in the supporting roles. Though the movie was a flop, it was much loved by the die hard fans of Madhuri.

The plot of the movies is a little boring (at least to me). The plot is a blend of dance and drama. Dia (Madhuri) comes back to her native, Shamli, where dance had been an inherent part, when she learns that her dance guru, Makarand is on his death bed. But before she arrives, Makarand dies, leaving the responsibility of reviving his dance theater, 'Ajanta' to Dia. Then, there comes a lot of melodrama in the screenplay. Dia is treated with a taunt by the localites of Shamli as she had eloped with the American photographer, Steve. After going through a lot of thick and thin, Dia succeeds in reviving Ajanta and Shamli.

As always, Madhuri's dance leaves us awestruck. The songs 'O re Piya' leaves us in a trance. Vaibhavi Merchant won the IIFA award for the best choreography for 'O re Piya'. The song 'Aaja Nachle' is a dance number, picturised completely on Madhuri. This song became the most played song in all wedding sangeets and parties. Aaja Nachle received a lot of oppositions before its release from the dalits.

Aaja Nachle song

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Lyrical hip hop

Hip- hop dance is a street dance style performed to hip-hop music. The major hip-hop styles are breaking, locking and popping. Hip-hop is well-known since it has been danced in almost all the TV shows. But there is a special genre of hip-hop called the 'Lyrical hip-hop' that has developed in the recent years. It had not been in the public eye until it was featured in the popular TV show 'So You Think You Can Dance'. Lyrical dance is a different genre that includes elements from Jazz, Contemporary, Ballet and tap dance.  It gives an emotional connect through the dancer's gestures and facial expressions. Hip-hop needs energy, clarity of steps and sharp twists and turns. So lyrical hip-hop is a combination of both. The movements are hip-hop based but the dance expresses the feelings of the dancer.It is usually danced to a slow music to give the emotional feel.

Lyrical hip-hop in 'So You Think You Can Dance'
The best ever lyrical hip-hop I have ever witnessed

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Bharata Natyam

The reason why I started loving dance, the reason why I have been passionate towards dance, moreover, the reason why I blog is "Bharata Natyam". The first time I heard about "Bharata Natyam" was in 2000 when I was in my first grade. I enrolled myself for dance during the hobby class hours which is twice a week, if I am not wrong, on Tuesday and Saturday. Thanks to my first Bharata Natyam teacher, Mrs.Chandra Prabha, I was slowly and steadily getting skilled. It is only beacause of her that I remember the names of all "Adavus", Samyuta hasthas and Asamyuta hasthas vivdly.


  • Tatta adavu
  • Kuditta adavu
  • Natta adavu
  • Tatti Mettadavu
  • Kuditta Mettadavu
  • Mandi adavu

Asamyuta hasthas (single handed gestures)

  • Pathaka
  • Tripathaka
  • Arthapathaka
  • Karthari mukha
  • Mayura
  • Arthachandra
  • Aarala
  • Shugathunda
  • Mushti 
  • Shikara
  • Kabitha
  • Kadaka muga
  • Suchi
  • Chandrakhala
  • Padmakosa
  • Sarpasirisa
  • Mirugasirisa
  • Simhamukha
  • Alapadma

Samyuta hasthas (double handed gestures)

  • Anjali
  • Kabotha
  • Karkata
  • Dola
  • Swastikha
  • Pushpaputa
  • Utsanga
  • Shivalinga
  • Kadakavarthana
  • Kaatari Swastikha
  • Shakata
  • Changu & Chakarram
  • Samputa
  • Matsya
  • Kurma
  • Varaha
  • Garuda

Etymology of Bharata Natyam (as defined by Wikipedia and my dance teacher, Mrs.Chandra Prabha)

                   "Bhavam, Raagam, Thaalam aagiya moondrum serndhu seiyum naatiyathirku Bhatata Natyam endru peyar" which actually means, "Bharata Natyam is the combination of Bhavam(expression), Raagam(music), Thaalam(rhythm)".

She also taught me all the neck, head and eye movements. During my sixth and seventh grade, I learnt Bharatanatyam from a new teacher Mrs.Lalitha. I continued learning dance till my 7th standard but couldn't continue due to the lack of time and hence couldn't perform the arangetram.

Bharata Natyam is considered to be a fire-dance — the mystic manifestation of the metaphysical element of fire in the human body. It is one of the five major styles (one for each element) that include Odissi (element of water), Kuchipudi (element of earth), Mohiniattam (element of air) and Kathakali (element of sky or aether). The movements of an authentic Bharata Natyam dancer resemble the movements of a dancing flame.

Lord Natraja

Lord Shiva, "Natrajar" is considered to be the god for Bharatanatyam. Bharata Natyam is known for its grace, purity and tenderness. Today, it is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by male and female dancers all over the world.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Dance and health

Dance, for me it is passion. For my mum, it is entertainment. For my dad, it is just a noisy thing with all the blaring speakers in my home. But in the recent times, people have started considering dance to be one form of workout. Be it a slow beat ballet or a fast beat jazz, people consider it to be a fitness training.  Dance, which is an aerobic loosens the muscles and adds flexibility to the body.

Getting started with dancing

Dance requires interest and not perfection. All that you need to do is open up yourself and enjoy each and every move you make. There has bee a tremendous increase in the no.of dance schools in each locality. Or you can just start off with a "bale bale" in sangeets and mehandi functions. Newbies have to stretch for a few minutes every time they get to dance. Or else, it may lead to severe injuries due to the lack of flexibility.  

Health benefits of dancing

Dancing can be a way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It has a wide range of physical and mental benefits including:

  • improved condition of your heart and lungs
  • increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
  • increased aerobic fitness
  • improved muscle tone and strength
  • weight management
  • stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • better agility and flexibility
  • improved balance and spatial awareness
  • increased physical confidence
  • improved mental functioning

Dance for mental relaxation

Personally, I dance when I feel low. Dance is my mood lifter. Not just me, many find dance to be a stress remover. When dance is taken seriously, it immensely improves your concentration and thus takes off your mind from stress. A relaxed mind innovates, recreates and reinvents new ideas. 

"A sound mind is a sound body", and hence it is advisable to take up dance seriously for a healthier life.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Dare 2 Dance

Dance gets hold of everyone's joy and pleasure. Even people who cannot groove and move love watching the finest dance. Maybe that is why, Nach Baliye had gone upto Season 6, Dance India Dance has recently gone off air with Season 4, Jodi No.1 is coming to the end of Season 7, Manada Mayilada may go upto season "infinity" despite the poor TRP ratings.

All reality shows have 10 jodis or 10 solo participants judged by 3 judges (is it a tradition or what to have 3 judges??). Every week a jodi or a participant gets eliminated and there is a wildcard round to give them a second chance. How boring!! I have been watching Jodi No.1 from 2005 and now its 2014. Nothing has changed. Even me, who can give up anything for dance is irritated.

Thanks to Life OK, I am regaining the interest in dance reality shows. The new theme of "Dare 2 Dance" is something worthy to look forward. The host is Akshay Kumar which is again exciting. The promo showed the dancers dancing under water and on air(on a bar hung from a crane). Dare 2 Dance starts on September 6,2014 which is 2 days from now. There are 10 dancers to take the dare.

To get the full information about the dancers, visit


Wednesday, 13 August 2014


It was December 2008 and I was in the midst of Christmas holidays in my 9th grade. We had our Annual Sports meet coming up on January 13, 2009. My History mam wanted us to do an entirely different dance form. And to our horror, she came up with the idea of blending three different classical dance forms into a single song. We split ourselves into 3 teams and we danced

1. Bharatanatyam
2. Kathakali
3. Mohiniyattam

Me and one of my besties were forced into Kathakali. We didn't have a clue about what we were going to perform but we were only 12 days short of our Sports Meet. We were given OD during the first period everyday to practise, but the rest of the school had to prepare for the mass drill and parade under the scorching sun. We were so lucky in that sense!! :) :) But only then we realized, that Kathakali was thornier than parade. As days went by, me and bestie, Samyu suffered from heel pain. But, finally managed to learn the "mudras" and the intense dance steps. The next difficult task was the costume. But our teachers put in all their ideas and designed the Kathakali costume so well. Our Art teacher was so patient in painting our faces. That dance turned out to be a great success that we danced the same in Athena'09 (cultural fest) and Independence day celebration (in Virudhunagar collectorate) and won the 3rd prize in both.


Kathakali, a renowned classical dance of India is known for its facial make-up and costumes. Kathakali is known to be originated from Kerala, a southern state in India. The male and female dancers have different costumes. It is a combination of dance and drama. Kathakali stages plays from Mahabarat. The language of the songs used for Kathakali is Manipravalam. Though most of the songs are set in ragas based on Carnatic music, there is a distinct style of plain-note rendition, which is known as the Sopanam style.

There are leading Kathakali styles that differ from each other in subtleties like choreographic profile, position of hand gestures and stress on dance than drama and vice versa. Some of the major original Kathakali styles included:
  • Vettathu Sampradayam
  • Kalladikkodan Sampradyam
  • Kaplingadu Sampradayamampradayam

A distinguishing characteristic of this art form is that the actors never speak but use hand gestures, expressions and rhythmic dancing instead of dialogue (but for a couple of rare characters). In Kathakali, the story is enacted purely by the movements of the hands (called mudras or hand gestures) and by facial expressions (rasas) and bodily movements. So rather than the dance, Kathakali performers concentrate on the navarasas (nine facial expressions). The eyes of  Kathakali dancers are so powerful that they can show any kind of expression.

As a part of modernizing, propagating, promoting and popularizing Kathakali, the International Centre for Kathakali at New Delhi has taken up a continuing project since 1980 of producing new plays based on not only traditional and mythological stories, but also historical stories, European classics and Shakespeare's plays. Recently they produced Kathakali plays based on Shakespeare's Othello and Greek-Roman mythology of Psyche and Cupid.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Chhau Dance

"Chhau", I definitely didn't have a clue what it actually meant when I read the word for the first time in my niece's Social Studies book. But yeah, having found a picture, I knew "Hey, this was the dance that was featured in Barfi! and was performed by Riddhi and Rakesh in Nach Baliye". All I knew about Chhau then was that this dance involves a mask. But while reading about it in Wikipedia, I found a lot regarding Chhau.

Chhau is actually an Indian tribal martial dance form which is familiar among the people of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa. Chhau doesn't include any graceful dance moves. The dance moves include martial acts and hence usually performed by men. Chhau includes variety of drums like "dhol" for the background music. The theme for the dance includes scenes from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Since Chhau uses a mask, there is no need of expressions for this type of dance.

Three styles of Chhau

  1. Seraikella Chhau
  2. Mayurbhanj Chhau
  3. Purulia Chhau

In 2010 the Chhau dance was inscribed in the UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Government of Odisha established a Government Chhau Dance Centre in 1960. These institutions engage in training involving local gurus, artists, patrons and representatives of Chhau institutions and sponsor performances. 

The Chaitra Parva festival, significant to the Chhau Dance, is also funded by The Government of Odisha. It is the best form of mask dance. The Sangeet Natak Akademi has taken up specific measures including grants to cultural institutions the establishment of a National Centre for Chhau Dance at Baripada, Odisha.

Chhau dance in Barfi!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Garba!!! The most fascinating dance in my point of view...I came to know about Garba in my 11th std, for a dance performance and from then I have always loved Garba. Garba traces its origin to Gujarat. Wikipedia says, " Garba is derived from the Sanskrit term Garbha ("womb") and Deep ("a small earthenware lamp")." Many traditional garbas are performed around a centrally lit lamp or a picture or statue of the Goddess Shakti. Garba is usually performed during the celebration of Navaratri. As far as I know, Garba requires the dancers to form a circle. And they perform varieties of formations in the circle. Modern garbas combine traditional garba and Dandiya (performed by men) to create a high-energy dance. 

Garba Overseas

Garba and Dandiya Raas are also popular in the United States where more than 20 universities have Raas/Garba competitions on a huge scale every year with professional choreography. Garba is also very popular in the United Kingdom where there are a number of Gujarati communities who hold their own garba nights and widely popular among the Gujarati community even in Canada, where the largest navratri festival in the western world is held annually in Toronto. They say "Ae Hallo" for fun, which means "Come on! Lets start!" 

Edmonton, the capital of Canadian province of Alberta has a rich significance on Garba. The Edmonton girls, with their grace and femininity won the Raas-Garba Competition at Vancouver in 2007.


Garba costume

Girls who dance garba like to wear heavy jewelry and ghagra choli. Lehenga or Ghagra is a beautifully embroidered and pleated long skirt. Choli is an Indian type blouse. The Dupatta is a long shawl that comes with the choli and lehenga.  The traditional costume of the Garba dancer is red, pink, yellow, orange, and brightly colored. They also wear heavy jewelry, such as 2-3 necklaces, sparkling bangles, waist belts and long oxidized earrings.

Garba and Bollywood

Right from Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to Deepika Padukone, there has been certain wonderful Garba tracks in Hindi cinemas. Some of the best Garba songs are

  • Dhol Baje - Hum dil de chuke sanam
  • Shubhaarambh - Kai Po Che
  • Sabse Bada Tera Naam - Suhaag
  • Chand Aaya hai - Dil hi dil mein
But the best of all is Deepika's and Ranveer Singh's Garba song from the movie "RamLeela" that goes "Hey dhin thadak dhinthadak...aaja ud ke sarat". Deepika's red lehenga add to the beauty of the steps choreographed by Samir and Harsh Tanna.