Interview: Andrea Lam
Tell us a little about the background of Dance Masala?
Dance Masala was created in December of 2012 with the vision to respectfully and authentically pay homage to Indian culture through excelling in Bollywood dance.
Dance Masala is proud to be a reflection of our multicultural society and engage a wide-range of ethnicities in Bollywood Dance. We believe in creating diversity, honouring hard work, and building a culture of respect in our classes. It is our pleasure to help promote and share Indian culture in Australia.
Bollywood is a technical, diverse and profound art form, as beautiful and diverse as India herself. Bollywood draws from many influences, and Dance Masala is proud to be ‘pure Bollywood’, a lively fusion of Indian and Western dance. We believe in the tradition of dance story telling, and the importance of dancing with intention and purpose. We hope to inspire our students strive for excellence in technique, performance, and expression. Although Bollywood choreography is not “free licence” like a dance like the Macarena, we acknowledge that there is a vast existing repertoire of Bollywood steps. Our choreography has two main intentions: –
1. Homage: we seek to transport our audience by referencing specific cinematic moments through the use of ‘signature steps’ and very occasional dance covers and;
2. Originality: to create powerful, emotive and joyous performances, through original and exciting choreography.
In meeting with its cultural responsibilities, Dance Masala invests in building relationships with the Indian community, and giving back to the Indian community through regularly performing at cultural events.
What is your position? What do you do?
My name is Drea (short for Andrea), I am the director, choreographer, owner and principal dancer of Dance Masala.
What inspires you?
Naturally, I get a lot of inspiration from other choreographers (Saroj Khan especially) and other dancers / performers of all levels. I find the ability to move to music and express yourself through dance, really moving. I am inspired by all different kinds of performance, and film. Food is also very inspirational.
What was one of the most interesting/inspiring moments of Dance Masala/your career at Dance Masala?
I find it very inspiring to watch beginners take my choreography, and perform it. Around August of this year, I had choreographed my Wednesday beginner class to do a song called “Saree Ke Fall Sa” which involved a lot of individual expressions and improvisation. There was around 30-35 students, and they performed the steps without me, and it was so, so perfect… The comedy, the facial expressions, each individual put their own touch on the steps… It moved me to tears.
What does culture mean to you?
Culture is the creative expression of a group’s identity.
Is multiculturalism important?
Why Of course it is! Multiculturalism is the acceptance of the culture of others. We are in a culturally diverse society, and it is so important to allow people the freedom to express their own identity.
What are your future plans for Dance Masala?
Dance Masala is working on expanding, launching beginner classes in the Northside. We are currently looking for locations, but are looking at a location around the Brendale area.
How can people find out more about Dance Masala?
Find us on Facebook, http://facebook.com/dancemasala
Instagram, @dancemasala; and
Watch Us on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4LqRXQ_NcRM0WjIhfX-0BA/featured
Do you have any upcoming events?
Yes, our End of Year show is Friday November 28th at BEMAC, Kangaroo Point 7pm, a portion of proceeds go the Asylum Seeker Christmas Appeal. Catch us at Jam N Beats festival on November 29th at 4:30pm, workshop at 5:30pm. We will be at woodford on the 27th, 28th and 29th of December. And classes commence on the last week of January 2015! Sign up!
Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Bollywood is an awesome way to get fit, and train your brain while doing it. The steps are fun, infectious and, at the same time, do gentle left-brain, right-brain coaching. It’s awesome for improving your memory and cognitive function, and is sure to get you smiling.