Belfast and Bollywood. They are not words you would usually see side by side. But the city has now hosted its first Bollywood flashmob. Crowds lined Cornmarket yesterday morning to see the spectacle, which launched this year’s Belfast Mela festival.
For seven minutes, 50 professional and amateur dancers swayed, shimmied, dipped and whirled to popular Bollywood songs, as well as some tracks which would be more at home in a 1990s rave.
The performance was choreographed by Milna Jaison (21) and Kousalyaa Somasundram (24).
Over the past month the professional choreographers have been training 40 volunteers in the basics of Bollywood dancing.
“It’s been a great experience, we have met lots of different people and it’s exciting to be performing,” Kousalyaa said.
The fluid, colourful routines were a departure for the Highland dancers of Belfast’s Bright Lights dance troupe.
“It’s very different from Highland dancing. Bollywood is more about movement and the body. It’s a younger style of dancing,” said Faye Adamson (14) from the troupe.
Nisha Tandon (54), who founded South Asian Dance Academy in 2006 and directed yesterday’s flashmob, said: “This is the first Bollywood flashmob in Belfast. It’s fantastic.”
Amy Dean (14) was one of the volunteers who took part in the event after just one week of training. She said: “It (Bollywood dancing) was easier than it looks.
“I was asked to take part last week. It was great fun.”
On Sunday, August 26, Botanic Gardens will host the sixth Belfast Mela, which has become Northern Ireland’s largest multicultural arts festival.
Every year more than 20,000 visitors flock to the colourful event.