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Brookdale Newsroom

Brookdale Goes Bollywood During ‘Live at Lunch’
Brookdale students pose for a photo with four Bollywood dancers in the Student Life Center.

Dozens of students strapped on their dancing shoes and got an up-close look at one of the world’s most unique art forms on Feb. 27 as a team of performers from the acclaimed Sonalee’s Bollywood Dance Studio visited the Lincroft campus.

The event, sponsored by Student Life Activities as part of this semester’s Live at Lunch series, featured live performances and a wealth of information about the history – and evolution – of Bollywood dance.

The vibrant dance style, made famous in “Bollywood” song-and-dance films originating from India over the past several decades, blends elements of traditional Indian folk dances with more modern styles such as hip-hop, ballet, jazz and tap.

Between lengthy performances backed by booming Bollywood dance tracks, Sonalee Vyas-Jani and her fellow dance instructors explained the cultural significance and symbolic importance of the art form.

“We have a song for everything,” she said, explaining that many Bollywood dances are used to tell a story while conveying specific emotions and feelings for each character.

Instructors from Sonalee's Bollywood Dance Studio perform during Live at Lunch in the Student Life Center.

Instructors from Sonalee’s Bollywood Dance Studio perform during Live at Lunch on Feb. 27.

“If we are happy, we dance. If we are sad, we dance. If we have broken up with someone or if we are celebrating a holiday, we dance… In the end, it is a celebration of life.”

Vyas-Jani later taught audience members a number of traditional Bollywood hand gestures and basic dance moves before inviting students up for a group performance.

Attendees were also treated to a free buffet lunch, featuring traditional Indian fare including samosas, chicken tikka and motichoor ladoo,

“I loved it,” said second-year biology major Leah Waldron, who joined nearly a dozen classmates in a group Bollywood dance at the conclusion of the program.

“I mean, it was a little intimidating getting up there, but it was also fun because I was doing it with my friends. The entire program was entertaining and very informative as well. I’d love to see them come back again sometime.”

The Live at Lunch program was emceed by members of the Brookdale Student Life Board.

Learn about all upcoming campus events by visiting the Student Life and Activities webpage

Check out more photos of the Sonalee Bollywood Dance performance here.