Dhoonya Dance Says ‘Jee Le’ to Packed Crowd in Washington DC !!

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May 17, 2012

Special By Geeta Goindi

WASHINGTON, May 5 – For the sixth consecutive year, Dhoonya Dance, the premiere Bollywood dance organization, presented its eagerly awaited show to a packed crowd at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts, in Georgetown. 

May 17, 2012

Special By Geeta Goindi

WASHINGTON, May 5 – For the sixth consecutive year, Dhoonya Dance, the premiere Bollywood dance organization, presented its eagerly awaited show to a packed crowd at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts, in Georgetown. 

Talented artistes of Dhoonya Dance at their annual show, ‘Jee Le’ (live it), held at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts, in Georgetown

This vibrant, energy-packed, highly entertaining event was sold out days in advance. Such is its enduring popularity!

Each year, the themes are interesting, even as they are intriguing and innovative!  This year’s theme ‘Jee Le’ (live it) revolved around the seven characteristics of a successful Dhoonya dancer: energy; determination; expression and cultural storytelling; teamwork; confidence; versatility; growth and development.  The message was stark clear: learn it, and then live it!

Bhangra dancers with Chaitali Baviskar, DC instructor at Dhoonya Dance and resident Bhangra expert

Kajal Desai, who co-founded Dhoonya Dance with Priya Pandya of New York and is the managing director for the Washington region, told the audience: “This year’s theme is very dear to my heart as well as I know to a lot of the other instructors and a lot of the other dancers.  When we do this (dance), we don’t just do it as an activity.  We don’t just do it for fun.  It actually is a way of life for us.  It changes our attitude.  I could be in the worst mood.  I go to class, I teach and I come back feeling entirely different”.

The show began on a vigorous note highlighting ‘energy’, an essential characteristic of a successful Dhoonya dancer.  In the performances that followed, tiny tots to teenagers, dressed in the most colorful attire, captivated the audience with their endearing fast-paced moves.  The dances followed in quick succession.  Attending a Dhoonya show is an exhilarating experience.  There is never a dull moment!

‘Chak de India’ dancers with their Dhoonya Dance instructor Kamallata Jones (right)

Act two displayed ‘determination’ featuring dances set to songs such as ‘Gun gun guna re’ (Agneepath), ‘Chak de’ (Chak De India) and ‘Yuhi chala (Swades).  Speaking on the relevance of determination in dance and in general, and why never giving up is an important quality for a Dhoonya dancer, Kajal said: “With life, with dance, with anything, you should never give up!  Sometimes, I see a step or choreography that’s really hard.  Determination is what is going to make you accomplish that.  Find a goal and reach for it.  You may fall a million times in between.  But, that doesn’t mean that you should stop.  You should continue to reach for it.  I can tell the students who are most determined by the way they ask questions.  They are asking because they are trying to develop an understanding”.

Chaitali Baviskar, DC instructor at Dhoonya Dance and resident Bhangra expert, stressed the importance of cultural expression and storytelling.  “A quintessential part of Bollywood is telling the story through song and dance”, she said.  On stage, this was vividly demonstrated in the bhangra dance ‘Boli Panieh’, a Maharashtrian folk dance on ‘Humko aaj kal hai intezaar’ and the popular ‘Dance pe chance’ from the film ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’.

Young students of Dhoonya Dance at its annual show, in Washington

A binding factor is ‘teamwork’ and Amita Sharma, a tots and kids instructor in Rockville, together with Kajal, focused on the importance of this feature in the making of a successful Dhoonya dancer.  The segment featured dances set to ‘Rind Poshamal’ and ‘Aasmani Chatri’, followed by the scintillating ‘Thug Le’ (Ek Main Aur Ek Tu) which brought the choreographers and instructors – Suhasini Yashodhar Attawar, Jeannie Baumann, Chaitali, Kajal, Soma Kalb, Amruta Yeolekar, Shital Sabne – on stage in a dynamic sequence.

Sini Jacob, regional director of Dhoonya Dance for DC and Maryland, emphasized the importance of confidence and versatility in dance.  The latter was highlighted in a re-mix of ‘Chamak Challo’ (RA.One).  It is interesting to note that Bollywood dance denotes a fusion form, constantly changing and evolving!

Dhoonya students performing a Maharashtrian folk dance to the popular song ‘Hum ko aaj kal hai intezaar’ (Sailaab)

Regarding growth and development, Kajal spoke about the need for continuous learning.  “Whether you’re 4 or 64, there is always room for improvement in dance and life generally”, she noted.  “There is always something new that you learn”.

Besides the aforementioned instructors, the Dhoonya Dance team included Kamallata Jones, Palak Sheth, Bahar Dave, Ashley Kallarakal, Yasmeen Mushtaq, Khushboo Rami, Marwa Sherzad and Saniya Suri.  Roshni Patel traveled all the way from Atlanta to serve as the stage manager and Nikhil Baviskar was the emcee of the show.

Some 200 dancers, who are also students at Dhoonya, performed in this annual event which has become like a ritual for all involved!  “These students, young and old, everybody has made such a big difference in our lives and they impact us every day”, Kajal told the audience.  “If this show was able to do even a little bit for all of you, then we’ve done our job”.

Tiny tots of Dhoonya Dance with their instructor Amita Sharma

Given the youthful make and nature of Dhoonya and its very focus on dance, fitness is an integral component of the school’s instruction.  And it’s popularity is ever on the rise.  The Washington wing of Dhoonya Dance has over 200 young students and growing!  In addition, there are drop-in classes which attract some 150 adults a week.  Classes are offered almost every day in different locations: Arlington, McLean and Vienna, in VA; Washington, DC; and Rockville, MD.

For more information, our readers can visit the web-site at www.dhoonyadance.com


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