Bollywood dance and what all it encompasses

Bollywood dance
Bollywood dance

Bollywood dance is a popular and celebrated dance form. It is a dance full of positive and unique energy. Bollywood dance helps in the liberation of the soul. It is full of complex emotion. Ranging from happiness to loneliness, Bollywood song and dance capture it all.

Bollywood dance is, of course, the term given to the dance that takes place in a Bollywood movie. Let us understand the Bollywood definition. The term ‘Bollywood’ is a name given to the Hindi (speaking) film industry. Bollywood industry is the biggest movie industry in India.

Not only that, Bollywood is considered the biggest movie industry in the world. In terms of the number of people employed and the number of movies produced. Bollywood surpasses every other movie industry. Every year Bollywood makes over a 1000 movies as compared to about 500 in Hollywood.

Bollywood movies are known all over the world as magnificent musicals. And the dances performed in these musicals have been coined Bollywood dance. This dance is dance full of ‘masti’ and fun. It is performed on Bollywood music.

These songs have a wide range. Everything from happiness, anger to sadness is covered in them. And the dance performed on them help to fully showcase these emotions. So there is a huge range found in Bollywood song and dance as well.

Bollywood dance is known to take inspiration from different dance forms. It incorporates steps and moves from various other dance styles. It does not have a particular identity of its own. Bollywood song and dance is a mix and match of innovative and inspired (copied) steps from other dance styles.

There is a lot to learn about Bollywood song and dance and its popularity worldwide. So let us first understand it in detail. Let us begin by first understanding what is Bollywood dance all about?


Bollywood dance: What is it all about?

Bollywood dance, as explained above, is the dance performed in Bollywood movies. It is a mix of many dance styles. It is performed on Bollywood songs that are a mix of English and Hindi languages. Similarly, the steps performed are a mix of Indian and western styles.

So there are various Bollywood dancing numbers that have a western element. And many that have a classical element. And then there are some which incorporate both genres. Even in a particular genre, there are various styles that are attempted.

So even if the western genre is most prevalent in a Bollywood dancing number, they will experiment with different styles in western as well. For example, in a single song, there can be inspiration taken from both Jazz and Hip-hop dance styles.

And if it is a partner dance Bollywood number, different Latin/ partner dance styles will be incorporated. Basically, Bollywood dance is more of a freestyle dance. It does not have any particular rules or guidelines that you need to adhere to.

Experimentation in Bollywood dance numbers

You can experiment with different styles and freestyle as well and make it your own. It is more about the presentation in these dance numbers than anything else. Since the dances in Bollywood movies are performed as part of the story, the dances are modified accordingly.

So if the story requires a party scene, then the steps performed will be according to that theme. If it is a sad song, then maybe Indian Contemporary or Classical Indian dance style may be adopted. All of this begs the question of technique.

Since Bollywood dance is not confined by any limits or steps, neither is the technique. There is no separate technique taught for teaching Bollywood dancing. You can just do the basic stretching exercises to have flexibility while performing the moves. And of course, the technique also varies from the style chosen in each dance form.

So if the style chosen is Jazz, then Jazz technique will be taught accordingly. If the style chosen is Kathak, then Kathak dance’s technique will be taught. And so on and on it will be. But there is no particular technique for freestyle Bollywood dance.

Now, that we have understood that this dance is a liberated and freestyle dance. Let us understand the inspirations behind each Bollywood dancing. And go into some more detail about the themes followed in Bollywood dance.


Bollywood dance: Factors that determine the styles adopted

As explained above, there are different styles adopted in different Bollywood dancing numbers. But what factors determine which style to choose? Basically, Bollywood songs are based on a theme. If it is a party theme, the songs will have a peppy and energetic feel. And so will the dance too.

If it is a romantic theme, the songs will have a serene and musical feel and the dance will be cozy and romantic. As you can see the dance in every Bollywood movie is depended on a number of factors. Let us discuss these factors in detail below:-

  1. Contribution to the storyline:

    The first and most important factor on which the dance depends on is what it is incorporating into the story. There are different categories of songs when it comes to storyline. There are four types:-

  • Ones that move forward a story with a dance sequence. Example, ‘Bezubban’ from movie ‘ABCD 2’.
  • One that moves forward a story without a dance sequence. Example, the song ‘Mahi Ve’ from the movie ‘Highway’.
  • The song that is used only for promotional purposes. Not used in the movie. These usually come after the movie ends with the end credits. Examples are, ‘Lungi Dance’ from ‘Chennai Express’ and ‘Main Tera boyfriend’ from ‘Raabta’.
  • And lastly, the songs that are there just for entertainment purposes. And not really contribute much to the storyline. These songs mostly are celebratory songs. And therefore, have danced in them. Example, the song ‘Tamma Tamma’ from the movie ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya’.


  1. Theme/setting of the song:

    Depending on its contribution to the story, the theme is decided next. If the song has a party feel and is taking place in a pub/disco, then the Bollywood dance performed would be accordingly. Example, ‘Main Tera Boyfriend’ song has a mix of a few western styles. It has a combination of Jazz, Partner dance, and freestyle.

Similarly, if the song is portraying a celebratory mood, the dance will be performed accordingly. Example, the song ‘Dola Re Dola’ from the movie ‘Devdas’ has a setting in the bygone era. And so the dance performed is a traditional Indian classical dance form. But it is celebratory in nature. As you can see, different themes and setting lead to different styles of Bollywood dance.

Bollywood Dance: Aishwarya Rai
Bollywood Dance: Aishwarya Rai


  1. Costumes:

    The costumes that the actors are supposed to wear for a song also determine the Bollywood dance performed. Example, the dance steps, and style used in the ‘Deewani Mastani’ song from ‘Bajirao Mastani’ are subtle and beautiful. They are in accordance to the exquisite costume worn by ‘Deepika Padukone’. Similarly, the dance style used in songs where the protagonists are wearing traditional clothes are usually Indian classical only. And the dance styles used in songs where protagonists are wearing tight fitted modern clothing are western only.


  1. Makeup:

    This is more of an after-thought type of factor. But still, the basics are the louder the makeup, more extravagant is the dance style chosen. And more subtle the makeup, more subtle and graceful will be the styles chosen.


As you can conclude, Bollywood dance has a wide range that depends on the above factors. These are the factors but what all dance forms are the inspiration for Bollywood dance? Bollywood dance has dabbled in everything from contemporary and jazz dance to different Indian classical dance forms.

There have been situations and phases when one particular dance style was more in style than others. That is, that this style was more prevalent than others in Bollywood dance. To find out more about this we will head to the next topic. We will now discuss the trends in Bollywood dance history. And also, talk about some favorite Bollywood dance steps.


Bollywood Dance: Famous Bollywood trends 

The trends followed in Bollywood dance are very easy to trace. As each trend is based on the type of cinema showcased in a particular era. For example, when Bollywood movies started getting made, the songs and dance were not that prominent.

It was more about the story than the song and dance routine. And when there were songs introduced it was merely to propel the story forward without any dance sequence. But as the decades passed on, the song and dance culture got readily engrained in Bollywood movies.

It started on a high note with movies in 1950’s and 1960’s. Here the song and dance sequences were energetic and peppy. And the Bollywood dance style adopted here was more freestyle and of abandonment. But the dance styles still had a classical touch to them.

Take for example the song ‘Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya’ from the iconic movie ‘Mughal-e-Azam’. It has an Indian classical touch to it. Similarly, the song ‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu’ though a modern Jazz song, has traditional touches to it. So the Bollywood dance numbers in most movies along with being freestyle have a traditional classical touch to them.

Different dance styles and steps in Bollywood

In the era from the 1970s to early 1990s, Bollywood dance did not have a drastic shift in dance styles. But it did evolve over a period of time to gather a certain identity of its own. There was also a slow shift in dance styles. From just freestyle and classical Indian dance styles to more modern ones.

There was an inclusion of some cabaret style and belly dancing style (in the song ‘Piya Tu ab toh aaja’ from the movie ‘Caravan’). And there was a huge ‘Disco’ addition in the 1980s that became a nationwide rage.

But it was only in 1988, that Bollywood dance got recognition as a separate entity. In this year the award for best choreography was awarded for the first time to ‘Saroj Khan’ for the song ‘Ek do teen’ from the movie ‘Tezaab’. And then Bollywood dance got another boost from the several great dancers and dance performances.

But this we will discuss in the next section. And since the late 1990s till now the influence of western dance styles has increased manifold in Bollywood dance numbers. This influence started manifesting itself since the early 1990s. But it got a major boost from the choreography of ‘Shiamak Davar’ in the movie ‘Dil toh paagal hain’ in 1997.

Since then, western dance forms from Jazz, Hip-hop to Salsa and contemporary, all have been incorporated. And Bollywood dance has just grown and expanded and evolved. But there are still some classic Bollywood dance steps that remain eternal always. They are:-

  • The famous ‘Thumkas’
  • Pelvic thrust step
  • The ‘Bhangra’ step
  • Shake your body move
  • Tilting your head on one side move
  • Shimmy move
  • Jumping jack move

These are the most famous amongst a host of other moves.


Bollywood Dance and its popularity worldwide: Famous Bollywood dancers

Now let us get down to the popularity of Bollywood song and dance numbers in India and worldwide. In India, Bollywood is almost like a religion. With crazy fans and hysteria surrounding anything Bollywood, its dances are not left far behind.

People in India go crazy over good Bollywood dancing numbers. And everyone has their pick of favorite Bollywood dancing divas and stars. Some male and female Bollywood celebrities known to be great Bollywood dancers are:-

  1. Female actors
  • Madhuri Dixit
  • Sridevi
  • Helen
  • Rekha
  • Vyjayanthimala
  • Meenakshi Seshadri
  • Aishwarya Rai
  • Rani Mukherjee
  • Urmila Mantodkar
  • Katrina Kaif
  • Jacqueline Fernandez
Bollywood Dance: Hrithik Roshan
Bollywood Dance: Hrithik Roshan


  1. Male actors
  • Hrithik Roshan
  • Prabhudeva
  • Tiger Shroff
  • Shahid Kapoor
  • Govinda
  • Mithun Chakraborty
  • Varun Dhawan
  • Ranbir Kapoor
  • Ranveer Singh
  • Sushant Singh Rajput
Popularity worldwide

There is a massive fan following for different Bollywood dance numbers. It is the go-to thing for parties and enjoyment. Since Bollywood dance is all about letting your emotions out through your dance, it is very therapeutic. It is full of energy and abandonment and that is its strong point.

This is primarily the foremost reason why Bollywood song and dance is so famous all over the world. Since Bollywood has widened its reach. Bollywood dance also reaches a wider audience worldwide. And people are going crazy for it.

It is a great, energetic workout that people love. Plus, Bollywood dance allows freedom of movement that people love. And it is fairly easy to learn since it does not have much technique involved. Compared to other dance forms, you can learn Bollywood dance fairly quickly.

Plus, you have oodles of fun while learning it too. And people of all ages learn and dance Bollywood dance. Also, it is gender neutral. These are a lot of reasons behind the craze over Bollywood dance in India and abroad.


Bollywood dance: Where all you can learn it? Professional Prospects of Bollywood dancers? And share it on Sharehiss

It is fairly easy to find a place to learn Bollywood dancing in India. Almost every dance school or institute teaches Bollywood dancing. Bollywood dance is the most famous Indian dance style taught abroad.

The career prospects of a Bollywood dancer are much brighter in India compared to other dance styles. You can not only become a professional Bollywood background dancer but a successful choreographer too. The market for Bollywood dancers in India is huge.

Almost every film has a song and dance sequence. These Bollywood dancing numbers require lots of background dancers. The pay is also good. Plus, the dancers get to travel a lot too. So the professional prospects for a Bollywood dancers are bright and many.

But this also leads to heavy competition. In order to become the best, the dancers really need to work hard and stand out. Do you have what it takes to stand out as a Bollywood dancer? If you feel you do, then do share.

Share your videos to Sharehiss. And we will showcase your awesome videos here on Sharehiss. Take a step forward to becoming the best.



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