Bristol Bollywood Dance Society Team Image Women in Sport

Women in Sport: Bollywood Dance Society

Who are we?

We, at Bollywood Dance Society (BDS), are a passionate group sharing our love of Bollywood Dance through regular lessons and vibrant performances. We run weekly lessons on a Thursday which are taught by our amazing student choreographers.

Our lessons are a fun space where you can let your hair down, ramp the energy up, and learn a plethora of different Indian dance styles. From squatting to hip popping, our two-hour lesson is probably the most energetic and exciting workout of my week!

In addition to the fun dance community that we have created, we are proud to say that our commitment and love of dance has led to us being awarded Bristol SU’s Best Society of the Year, Regional Champions at Battle of Bollywood 2017, the Bristol SU Gold Balloon Award. We also have been recognised by the Mayor of Bristol and University Chancellor.

Though Covid-19 has inevitably limited our capacity to put on in-person lessons and our usual outreach, we have still had a great and creative time as a committee and a society and I am so excited to share with you some of the things we get up to usually so we can hype you up for next year!

In a pre-Covid world, what sort of things did we do?

As well as our weekly lessons, we did regular performances at cultural events, such as at Hindu Society’s Diwali Ball; and at events hosted by other societies and the SU, such as Global Lounge and the ACS Ball.

Our two biggest performances of the year are Aashiyana, where we perform a large segment at Asian Society’s biggest event of the year, and East Meets West, an incredibly collaborative performance between different South Asian societies. East Meets West is primarily a piece of drama, accompanied by dance and singing.

We also ran many events throughout the year including our sell-out Bollywood film and mehndi night. My mouth is salivating at the prospect of a samosa alongside a great Bollywood film next year again!

In a Covid world, what have we done?

Though Covid-19 has made this year an unconventional one, it has still been full of fun and interesting things.

We kicked off the year during the summer months by being a part of Modern Jive Society’s charity danceathon in support of Black Bristol Carers and NHS charities together. This was an inspirational start to the year and motivated us to make an extra special difference this year.

As such, we also looked into how we could get involved with the wider Bristol community and were able to do just that by working with Asian Society and LGBTQ+ society on a panel event about South Asian queer identity which is often overlooked and underrepresented.

As the term progressed, we were happy to have one in-person lesson and persevered with the online landscape as another lockdown closed in on us.

Over Christmas, we released our 12 days of Christmas Reels where each member of the committee created their own piece of choreography as an Instagram challenge and just last week we collaborated with Galenicals, delivering a lesson for their Lets Talk campaign.

Bristol Bollywood Dance Society Team Photograph Women in Sport Original photo by Sanjana Idnani

Words from our President

To get the real juicy stuff on what it’s like to be a staunch Bollywood Dance Society trailblazer, I chatted to our president, Priya Tailor, (pictured above, front row furthest right) about how she got into Bollywood Dance Society and what being part of the BDS committee and community means to her.

 

Why did you get into BDS?

“I have been dancing since a really young age; it is the perfect way to express myself and the most expressive music form I know has to be Bollywood! As soon as I got to Bristol, I made sure to find the Bollywood Dance Society and be a part of it as much as I could. This meant participating in my first year, being Head Choreographer in my second, Vice President in my third, and then President this year. Being in the committee has been such a rewarding experience; I have loved working with some incredible like-minded people – including some incredibly inspirational women.”  

How does being a part of BDS empower you, especially as a woman? 

“To say that I was able to become President of a Dance Society at university is such an empowering statement in itself but what makes this even more special is I have followed in the footsteps of three inspirational female Presidents. They were the perfect role models and a blessing to be able to work under. Doing Bollywood dancing has also been very empowering. I have been able to meet some amazing female dancers and celebrate all of their talents through our extraordinary performances.”  

What has it been like being President in a pandemic?

“Presidency during the pandemic has been a rollercoaster to say the least. Knowing that it was going to be a year like no other, I made sure to have lots of back up plans but despite those being in place, the year has presented us with many hurdles. However, all this meant was every single one of our successful endeavours was something major to celebrate. The pandemic also meant that I was able to work with other dance societies which harboured a fantastic sense of community spirit.”

Bristol Bollywood Society Women in Sport team photograph orange outfits Original photo by Sanjana Idnani

 

Why I love being a part of Bollywood Dance Society

Everything above has probably already made a strong case for why Bollywood Dance Society is such a lovable and fun society, but I’d like to close on how much this society means to me.

Like Priya, I had done some Bollywood dance before and Bollywood movies and music were an integral part of my childhood, so joining a Bollywood Dance Society at university was at the top of my bucket list.

However, I had no idea how much this society was going to be a part of my uni experience. Through BDS, not only have I found a great group of friends, but a supportive family. While we are primarily a dance society, I have been inspired and mentored by members in higher years in all aspects of my university experience.

Bollywood Dance Society has provided such a safe space for me to find, cultivate, and express my identity both through dance and through its supportive community. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for my time in this society.

 

This article is part of a themed content week celebrating Women in Sport. Thanks to all the teams and societies who have helped make this possible!