If there is one language that is understood by all, it’s the language of dance. For dance emotes a thousand sentiments and is the most liberating of human expressions.
Here, we have made an effort to take a closer look at the various forms of dances that originated from the west but are taking lovers fast, in this side of the planet too. Here is a rundown of the popular western dances now growing popularity in Kathmandu.

 

1. Ballet
Origin: Ballet is a “romantic” form of western dance which originated in the Italian Renaissance courts, during the 15th century and was then developed and codified in France by the “Sun King” Louis XIV in the 17th century as a noble form of expression.

Entry in Nepal: In Nepal, ballet is taught by Marie Bertaina at the Kathmandu School of Ballet . “Ballet was introduced in Nepal 5 years ago by a woman named Willow Lama, who started teaching near Patan and established the Kathmandu School of Ballet. Then Renaire Huntley, another ballet teacher took over the school a bit more than 2 years ago. In 2010, I started teaching children and adults, in Boudhanath and Bhatbhateni. I will continue the work of Willow and Renaire in Patan as well from next October on, and teach in different schools of Kathmandu,” says Marie.

What is Ballet: Ballet is a highly technical and formalized form of performance dance. The movements are precise, artistic and acrobatic, and perfection of the moves throughout the body is considered. Traditionally, dancers performed to the music of an orchestra, with Pointe shoes and short white French tutus for the girls, giving the appearance of celestial beings on earth.

Places to Learn
1. Kathmandu Ballet School, 9808736082,
dancinepal@gmail.com;
2. Salsa Dance Academy, 4420564, info@salsanepal.com

2. B-Boying

Origin: Breaking or b-boying; commonly called break dancing, is a style of dance that evolved among black and Latino American youths in the South Bronx during the 1970s. It is danced to both hip-hop and other genres of music that are often remixed to prolong the musical breaks.

 

Entry in Nepal: With the gradual increase in the popularity of the dance, it captured attention when the first ever B-Boying contest was held in UWTC in 2008. Institutes were rare and all B-boys and B-girls were on their own. It was from the movies and Youtube that dancers learned. Among the popular groups are ‘Everest Crew’, ‘Doomsquad’ and ‘Monkey Guys’.

 

What is B-Boying: There are many different individual styles used in B-Boying. Individual styles often stem from a dancer’s region of origin and influences. Although there are some generalities in the existing styles, many dancers combine elements of different styles with their own ideas and knowledge in order to create a unique style of their own. Although this dance is not mood specific, it banks on aggression. Four basic elements form the foundation of breaking. The first is Toprock, a term referring to the upright dancing and shuffles. The second element is Downrock which refers to footwork dancing performed on the floor. The third element is the Freeze, the poses that breakers throw into their dance sets to add punctuation to certain beats and end their routines. The fourth element is the Power Moves. These are the most impressive acrobatic moves normally made up of circular motions where the dancer will spin on the floor or in the air.

Places you can learn
1. NBF, GAA Hall, Thamel
2. Steps Dance Institute, Kupondole, 5011684
3. Trikal Art Academy, 4370653
4. Sadhana Dance Institute

3. SALSA
Origin: It is a Cuban dance christened in New York but many Latin American countries have their share of input in making Salsa what it is today.

What is Salsa: left-right-left-pause…right-left-right-pause...Salsa is the motion of intense rhythm, it is sensual harmonization of music and footwork, and it is being in the beat and on top of things. The passion for salsa is surging worldwide.


Salsa dancing is done on eight-beat music, with dancers moving on three beats and pausing for one beat. The pauses in most salsa dancing feature some sort of flourish like kicking the lower leg, stomping the foot or casting out a hand. The dance is basically stationary with minimum movement around the dance floor. The dancers rely on the subtle but energetic movement of their feet and upper bodies to convey the dance.


Salsa’s roots run back to Afro-Cuban Rumba and Son dancing, and since it is open to improvisation, it is continuously evolving. The modern salsas take their names after the geographical areas that developed them. What sets apart the various forms of salsa are the timing, basic steps, foot patterns, turns and figures, body rolls, and the way the partners hold each other.


Salsa dancing is incredibly popular. Many dance studios across the city offers or are including classes in salsa dancing. Even though it is not the easiest of dance forms because of its high tempo, is it not particularly difficult and proficiency can be gained within a matter of months. In addition to improved body coordination and toned muscles salsa also reduces risk of heart diseases. And it wouldn’t be that farfetched if stated today’s salsa is influential to tomorrow’s social dances.

Places you can learn
1. Salso Dance Academy, Bhatbhateni
2. Salsando Instiute of Salsa, 9840050132

 

4. ZUMBA
Origin: It was the 1990’s and all the credit for this incredible dance form goes to dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez, who introduced Zumba in Columbia. He forgot his tape of aerobics music for a class so he took the tapes available in his car - which were of the traditional Latin salsa and meringue music and improvised a class using this non-traditional aerobics music. It was all a happy accident.

Entry in Nepal: Zumba made its entry into dance scene of Nepal a decade after it was founded.

What is Zumba: Zumba is exhilarating, easy to follow, effective calorie burning Latin-inspired-dance-exercise that is driving millions of people all across the globe towards joyful fitness.
A typical Zumba session lasts up to an hour and incorporates several dance styles. Unlike a typical dance class that employs counts, Zumba involves repetitive movements following the music. Zumba’s choreography incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, meringue, mambo, martial arts and some Bollywood and even belly dance moves. You come across squats and lunges too. The music includes both fast and slow rhythms, allowing for a great cardio workout as well as body sculpting exercises. And before you even know it your body is getting fitter and your energy level soars.

Places you can learn:
Salsa Dance Academy, Bhatbhateni,
Jasmine Spa, UWTC, Tripureshwor.

 

5. BOLLYWOOD
Origin: The name gives away the place of its origin. Bollywood! Yes, the Hindi movies from our neighboring country India is where it started.

 

What is Bollywood: Catchy songs, fast beats, extravagant movements, amazing facial expressions, swirls of colors that just lighten up the gloomiest of moods; we all know Bollywood dancing. How can we not, when we have grown up amidst, Hindi flicks loaded with Bollywood dancing popping up in every imaginable scene.


Arms, waist, legs, neck, you have got to synchronize everything from head to toe and Bollywood dancing is a great exercise for your body. The dances have a little bit of everything. Basic classical Indian dance, incorporated with various Indian folk dancing in abundance, spiced up with a dash of latino, Arabic of any other type of foreign movements. Modern dancing employs hip-hop and jazz elements as well. Bollywood dancing is also a great modem of expression. One vital aspect of Bollywood dancing is symbolism. The song lyrics are expressed through various body movements.


We have always been a host of Bollywood dancing. We all have tried to copy the dance steps and shaken our hips to Bollywood songs during parties. Even when we were in school, Bollywood dances were a great part of events and programs. And when dancing was not possible we did a jiggle in our heads or tapped our feet under the table to songs like “Munni”. Bollywood dancing is a complete package that ties fun and exercise together.

Places you can learn:
1. Steps Dance Studio, Kupondole, Lalitpur.
2. Arjun Dance Institute, Pulchowk, 9841118260

6. ON THE CONTRARY
Although we fall among the not-so-rich countries according to the Human Development Index, we’re definitely not poor when it comes to our culture. And so, our culturally rich and uniquely diverse country with myriads of ethnicities, comes woven with its myriads of cultural significations, a major one being their own unique dance forms.

Milan Moktan, Founder Director for Sadhana Kala Kendra, a dance institute now running on its 21st year says, “Nepal has hundreds of dance forms and so far we’ve been successful in discovering and preserving them.”

 

In efforts to do the same, Sadhana Kendra, also the oldest dance institute of the country, hosts annual dance competitions where the participants are required to perform long lost Nepali dances or those that are in the verge of being extinct. Here the dancer is required to do a thorough research before entering themselves for the contest but is awarded duly for their hard work as the winner goes home with one lakh rupees cash in prize.

 

“Just a small role we like to play in protecting our precious dance forms” says Moktan. Here, we now talk about a few popular Nepali dances.


Hudkela: Hudkela dance hails from the far western region of our country. A popular dance from the olden times which continues to prevail in some locales in the present too, it was especially organized for soldiers wishing them good luck before sending them off to battle. The same dance was also presented to the soldiers as a congratulatory act after they came back home with success after fighting wars.


Kaura: Kaura dance is a Gurung dance and it originated from the western part of our country. This dance is mostly performed during “Lhosar” each year – the ethnic New Year for the Gurung community.


Maghauta: Originating from the mid-western region, a local abode for the Tharus- an ethnic group, this dance is performed by them in the occasion of Maghe Sankranti festival. Maghe Sankranti falls in the Nepali month of Magh which according to the English calendar may fall around the month of January/ februrary each year. Maghauta which literally translates to “begging” the dancers make rounds of houses in their neighbourhood, dancing and asking or begging if you will for money.


Tamang Selo: A very popular form of Nepali dance indeed, Tamang Selo dance because of their powerful beats and rhythmic melody is not just popular and limited to the Tamang community but enjoyed by Nepalis of all ethnic backgrounds. Originally, these dances were first performed as part of a playful act between young boys and girls in various festivals and fairs that would take place in their community often. The jovial ambience created by the dancers make this dance a fun treat for the audience.


Singaru Tappa: An original from the Magar Community, this dance catches almost the same mood as that of “Tamang Selo”. This too is a playful form of dance, performed in duets, which originally started as sort of a mate selecting among young Magar lads and damsels.
Places to Learn


Sadhana Kala Kendra, Kamaladi Mod, 4440228