Bollywood dances mix and merge classical Indian with folk dances, belly dance, popular Western dances, Arabic and Latin dances, and jazz. There are different classical styles from different areas of India, such as Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Kathak and Manipuri, incorporated into Bollywood routines. Many folk dances like Bhangra can be recognized in Bollywood choreography too. Western influence can be recognized from the disco and hip-hop dance moves. †Often, dances mix dance styles so successfully that their origins are not recognizable anymore.
Bollywood choreography for women focuses on the hips and torso, while men dance with their feet; both men and women borrow hand gestures from classical Indian dances. Every hasta or hand gesture has a meaning. There are twenty-three double and thirty-two single hand gestures. These allow dancers to show their feelings and tell a story and even to carry on a conversation strictly based on hand movements. Costumes are usually colorful, can be sexy or they are replicas of old times if the movie is placed in historic times. In contemporary Indian society, life imitates art and it is not uncommon, if it can be afforded, for wedding planners to hire Bollywood choreographers to choreograph wedding participants and guests!
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