Indian contemporary fusion was born when choreographer Uday
Shankar combined classical, folk, and tribal dances with western theatrical
technique. Bollywood dance enthusiastically migrated from film to stage, and it
now includes a little bit of everything: stylized bharatanatyam temple dance;
simple steps and flamboyant costumes from Punjab and Gujarat
secular dances; modern dance; jazz; ballet; and hip-hop.
Mona Sampath Dance Company, formed in 2009, specializes in Bollywood dance.
The company has performed at the Warriors half-time show, and with renowned
personalities including the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan. With classes all
over the Bay area, a performing group of over fifty dancers, and a focus on
community, MSDC is the biggest and fastest-growing Bollywood dance company in
the Bay Area. Artistic Director and choreographer Mona Sampath studied bharatanatyam at the RajaRajeshwari Dance
School in Bombay for nine years before expanding her repertoire to jazz, hip-hop,
and contemporary dance. She worked with Bollywood choreographers Farah Khan,
Bosco Caesar, and Ganesh Hegde, and created the Bollywood dance
program for the India Community Center in the South Bay, a Bollywood aerobics
program, the Jollywood senior citizen dance group, and the Bollywood dance
company, Naach Inc.
Thirty-six dancers lit up the stage in The Shape of Dreams,a suite inspired by A.R. Rahman's Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. It's a dream-like journey through movement and music, exhibiting the
vibrant grandeur of Bollywood dance. The first piece, "Ringa Ringa," features a song about a young girl's
coming of age and a blend of Indian Classical vocabulary with Bollywood
movement. The next piece, "O Saaya,"
is a uniquely contemporized jugalbandhi duet. For the final section, the
entire company performs the upbeat, crowd-pleasing "Jai-Ho."
The dancers' eclectic costumes include ankle-length lehenga
choli, worn by women of the Mughal Court; skirts inspired by lehenga; harem
pants inspired by Indian salwar; men's Indian dhoti; and boys' hip-hop stylized
clothing. Composer A.R. Rahman's music is also an amalgamation. It fuses
elements from Carnatic and Hindustani music, Western classical, qawwali, and
improvisation; and it is played on both traditional and electronic instruments.
Mona Sampath Dance Company was accompanied by dhol players Harpal Saini and Satwant Samra.
The Shape of Dreams was
choreographed in 2009 by Mona Sampath, with guest choreographers Ishika Seth and Monika Ramaswamy.