Qatar- Bollywood dance is about enjoying music and expressing yourself

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) By Tania Khan | The Peninsula

Like most of the forms of dance, Bollywood dance is a pretty intense workout. Priyanka Mally, a certified fitness instructor, has been doing a commendable job of turning a seemingly dread-inducing workout for some into an enjoyable experience for all.

'Dance has been an integral part of my life, she said.

Her enthusiasm for dance stems from when she was still living in Bangalore, India and started learning ‘bharatnatyam' (a form of Indian classical dance) at the age of three.

She stopped pursuing dance as a career by the time she was 16 but picked it up when she moved to Doha after getting married.

On becoming a dance fitness trainer, she says: 'When I was in India, I used to attend early morning dance fitness classes. One day, the absence of the teacher gave me the opportunity to take her place and I was astounded at how natural I was at it. I felt an amazing rush after teaching because of all the fun-filled positive vibes I got from the students. That was the moment I realized I loved doing this.

Priyanka was a licensed Zumba fitness instructor for three years before she shifted her focus to Bollywood dance.

On becoming a Bollywood dance fitness trainer: 'I was looking for a class for myself. Though I loved the Latin inspired, Zumba dance fitness classes I was taking, I missed the quirky and fun Bollywood dance. When I couldn't find any, I was inspired to fill this gap and begin my own fitness classes.

Bollywood dance is not about perfecting any specific technique, it is more about the freedom to express yourself and performing with confidence.

It is not as rigid as classical and is a combination of different styles like folk, jazz, salsa and street. This unique mix is what makes it a perfect fun-filled workout.

Priyanka also said that this routine especially helped her after she suffered from post-partum depression.

She took it upon herself to find a relief from that state and danced her problems away.

She stresses that it is imperative to get moving when you're feeling low and that physical activity works like a natural medicine for mental and physical health.

Work out increases endorphins which help alleviate your mood. Just a few minutes of regular exercise that you enjoy can make all the difference.

The answer truly lies within your body; you just need to learn how to wield it.

'The grownup world can be quite a stressful and a boring place, so yes, my philosophy for fitness revolves around entertainment she said.

A workout needs to have a feel-good factor if you want to be consistent, she says. You need to want to come back for more and only then will the results be visible.

Her classes begin with a simple warm up to shake and loosen the muscles to prep for intense exercise. The actual workout consists of a blend of aerobics and conditioning incorporating the energy of Indian folk, pop and classical dance. A combination of low intensity and high intensity moves are used to create a full HIIT session.

The cool down is a mix of dance and yoga, so that you're still letting the music move you as your heart rate lowers down. 'I make sure to fixate on different muscles through yoga sun salutations to avoid sore muscles as much as possible.

On staying relevant she said: 'I have been especially fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with an elite studio in Doha. They have supported me and helped me grow. Word of mouth and a good social media presence have all contributed to my growing popularity here. I also send a reminder to my dancers before class assuring them that they will be working up a sweat and will have a great time.

Social media has been a major driving force behind her success. She practically gained overnight popularity when an Instagram account called ‘Zumba' with over 700,000 followers gave her a shout-out on their page.

Another factor that contributed to her success was the huge Bollywood fan following in Doha from different cultural groups. 'It was truly overwhelming to see how many people loved Bollywood movies and were inspired by them. People I least expected were the ones to show up the most and today, my classes consist of majority of non-Indians.

On one tip she would like giving to anyone working towards fitness: 'All I know is that workout is my go to medicine and I would recommend that any form of movement is the first step towards achieving any goal. Also, the most important step is to keep your goals small and realistic for better results and lastly, as if I haven't said it enough already, make sure you are enjoying yourself and having fun. A workout in my opinion need not to be a punishment.

Priyanka says her goal is to keep dancing and spreading the joy of the fun Bollywood dance is to as many people as possible. She plans on creating more awareness through routine video uploads and harness the power of social media to gain more clients.


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