The dance performance is an Indian dance, and the music used titled “Lungi Dance” is from a Bollywood movie, Chennai Express. This dance performance was shot in Singapore, during Chingay at heartlands 2014 Bedok. As firecrackers were banned due to safety related concerns in 1972, Chingay was set up in 1973 to celebrate the Lunar New Year, and to liven up the mood of the celebrations. Chingay first started out as a Chinese street-based ceremony, but has since evolved into a multi-cultural event. This lovely Indian dance being performed during Chingay reflects Singapore’s multiculturalism, where all races and religion can respect and embrace one another’s differences, which is something many people are proud of.
The genre of the dance is Bollywood. Bollywood genre shares some elements of classical Indian dance styles such as Bharatanatyam and folk dances like Bhangra. Some features of Bharatanatyam include form, pattern, rhythmic aspects etc. The performance incorporates other features of dance like the classic Thumka, which is the movement of the hips, and also Paravrittam, an element of Bharatanatyam’s head movements. Paravrittam is the turning of head either to left or right swiftly. By using these elements, it show cases traditional dance moves. The usage of Mudras is not noticed in the video clip due to the poor resolution of the recording. Mudras is hand gestures, and there are many varieties. Some includes positioning the fingers to create an ‘O’ shape, with thumb and index or middle finger, depending on the variation. The dancers put on smiles, which one aspect of traditional Indian dance is to convey story or meanings through expression. The clip took reference to the original “Lungi Dance” performance, using some of the moves such as swaying the Lungi (traditional garment worn around the waist) to the sides, however, in this clip, a Sari is worn instead of Lungi. Costume wise, the performers wore Sari, and gold bangles as well. Bangles are a significant part of Indian culture, with different parts of India having different variations in designs. Bangles are believed to improve blood circulation. The costume selection is a good choice, as red is used by Hindus during auspicious occasions, perfect for Chingay celebrations. The costumes are also relatively loose, allowing the dancers to look more elegant when the costumes follow their movements and clothing comes down gracefully. The stage used for this performance is a make shift stage, as it is performed during a Chingay parade. Props such as smog machines and spotlights are used. They do not add much significance to the dance. The fast-paced music and dance movement is effective such that it captures the attention of the audience. The selection of music is successful. The music and the dance complement each other well. Good blend of modern music and traditional costumes and dance moves.
The purpose of the dance is to celebrate Chingay 2014. The group of dancers and their performance was chosen to liven up the atmosphere. Just like any other events, the organisers want the event to be enjoyed by the audiences. This performance does it too well, with its upbeat music and immersive dance moves. Since most of Chingay’s performers are volunteers, they would put in all their effort in performing. Else, they would not bother volunteering. This means that the dancers will dance to the best of their abilities. Though that being said, audiences should not expect the dance to be as professional as those in the theatres, as dancing may not necessarily be their forte. However, given that they are volunteers, they are very professional, and one can see how much effort they put in. In the original Lungi Dance, the song was written as a tribute to actor Rajinikanth. It is good for the Chingay choreographer side to choose the music, as this music is too catchy, viewers may Google more about the music, like I did, out of curiosity. By Googling the music, it paved a new path for my understanding on Bollywood in general.
Personally, I like this dance. It is amazing. The movement and the music complement each other. The movements are fast and precise, appealing to the eye. The costumes, the jewellery and some dance moves are traditional, yet the music and some dance moves do not quite follow the rules of traditional Indian folk dance, adding a modern touch. The music is rap. Rap, which refers to speaking or chanting rhythmic lyrics, accompanied by beats. Rap was first noticed in West Africa and the Caribbean, before it gained popularity in the US in the 1970s. Due to globalisation, cultures can be influenced too, like how Bollywood in recent years are influenced by cultures of the west, such as incorporating rap into their music. This is one beauty of dances as they are able to show how cultures can be influenced and change over time. This dance appeal to viewers well. Traditional folk dances may not appeal well to young viewers as they may be more accustomed to things of their generation, which may already been influenced by other cultures. Thus, with its modern touch, it will be able to appeal to young viewers. I felt adrenaline rush listening to the tempo and beat of the song, fuelled by the eye-opening dance moves. Though I do not understand the lyrics of the song, it is still catchy, and I enjoyed the performance. However, the performance can be improved. Most of the times, they are synchronised, but rarely, they become unsynchronised. The dancers also are of different standards. The dancer in front have bolder moves and more energetic. Nonetheless, the performers are very elegant. If this dance is performed again at a proper stage with proper lighting, it will definitely be a more enjoyable one.