Free Bollywood workshop for youths begins Feb. 23

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LEWISTON — Area teens and preteens are invited to explore the wild world of Bollywood dancing in a fun, four-week series of workshops being offered free of charge at Bates College beginning this Sunday, Feb. 23.

Bollywood dancing, whose name evolved through the blending of “Bombay” (the Indian city now called Mumbai) and “Hollywood,” is a unique East-West fusion dance style which has become an international sensation in recent years. It captured the attention of American movie-goers through its appearance in the Oscar winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” and since then has been featured on the popular “So You Think You Can Dance” television show. Both expressive and energizing, Bollywood combines the rich texture of India’s many classical and folk dances with elements of jazz, hip-hop, Arabic and even Latin dance forms.

Leading the Bollywood workshops will be Bates student Ramya Ghantasala, who is excited about the having the opportunity to teach young members of the local community about her native culture. “Bollywood allows me to connect to my Indian roots and share it with others through teaching and performing,” she said. “I loved watching Bollywood movies and dancing as a child, and being able to watch as others learn to enjoy it as much as I have makes it even better.”

Assisting Ramya in teaching the workshops will be Samreen Fatima of Pakistan and other members of the Bates International Club.

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The class will meet from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Skelton Lounge in Chase Hall, at 56 Campus Ave. It is open to any youth of middle or high school age, with no prior dance experience required. In order to reserve a spot in the class, those interested are requested to register in advance by emailing MaineFolque@gmail.com or calling 782-0386.

The workshop series is co-sponsored by the Bates College Dance Club and the Maine Folque Co-op, a local grassroots initiative committed to celebrating cultural heritage through music and dance.

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