Vicki Eide (front left)

Vicki Eide (front left)

Exploring culture through dance

Bollywood inspires local dance teacher Tracy Kaye Holly and her students, who have embraced the rhythms of India while staying fit

When Tracy Kaye Holly decided to offer Bollywood dance classes in Vernon, she brought her long history as a dancer and love of all things Bollywood along.

Bollywood, the Indian movie industry based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), is hugely popular around the world.  India produces more films than any other country (more than 800 per year), and it is estimated that one sixth of the world’s population watches Bollywood films.

“Bollywood movies have it all — dance, music, drama, comedy, passion — and they are really good actors, dancers and singers,” said Kaye Holly, “they are so expressive with their movements and their eyes.”

Wanting to combine her interest in Bollywood with her other passions — dance and fitness — Kaye Holly created a Bollywood dance/fitness class to get people moving to the rhythms of a different beat. With classes designed to build strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness set to dynamic Bollywood music, the class has taken off in Vernon.

The Holly Bollywood Dance Troupe was a natural progression from the dance/fitness class to a performance group, as Kaye Holly also had a vision of choreographing for a group and performing those big Bollywood dance scenes she enjoys so much.

The large spontaneous street dance scenes indicative of more contemporary Bollywood films combine hip hop, jazz, disco, belly dance and Latin dance moves with traditional folk and Bhangra.

Troupe member Sarah Kennedy agrees.

“I love the idea of ‘mob dancing’ in Bollywood films, the big group dance scenes with spontaneous, simple dance, but when everyone is doing it together, the energy that comes from that is just the best,” she said.

Why the fascination with Bollywood in Vernon?

“Immigration is the driver, more people meet Indian people and then they have that curiosity to know more. With immigration we have more exposure to other cultures’ food, film and literature,” said Kennedy, an immigrant herself who feels Canada does it right. “When I first came from England I thought Canadians were being overly politically correct, but then I went back to the U.K. and realized Canada has it right, there is far better integration in Canada. Curry may be the number-one take out in England, but they haven’t embraced the culture like Canada has.”

It was the love of Bollywood music, the costumes, and a chance to perform on stage that attracted Susan Stiglic Prince and her daughter Petra.

“I did a lot of dancing growing up and thought this would be a great way to get back into it. This is a lot more fun than going to the gym, it’s high energy, a really good workout and my mom and I like doing stuff together,” said Prince. “Who wants to go to the gym when you can wear beautiful costumes and dance?”

Stiglic Prince also participated in Hawaiian dance and notes that in traditional dances sometimes the movements have meaning.

“And you need to be aware of what the dance is saying, you need to be respectful of the culture,” she said.

The colourful costumes evoke a touch of the exotic and add to the visual interest for the audience wherever the group performs.

“There is a lot of bling, a lot of sparkle and a lot of pizazz, said Kaye Holly.

The dancers appreciate the beauty and richness of Indian culture and have embraced the music and dance as a way of celebrating diversity in Vernon. The Bollywood craze seems to be catching on, with more than just the dancers.

“Everyone seems to love it, the costumes, the music, they think it looks like so much fun they want to join,” said Kaye Holly.

Kaye Holly  has many visions for things she would like to create, whether that is a new dance/fitness craze, choreography or a costume design, but  never one to rest on her laurels, she is currently busy combining her expertise as a whole foods cook with a love of Indian food to create a whole foods Indian cookbook.

The Holly Bollywood troupe will take a break for the summer, but Bollywood classes will resume Saturday mornings in September at Ruth McGrath Dance studio on 28th Street in downtown Vernon.

Donna McGrath is currently completing an MA in Intercultural and International Communication at Royal Roads University.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Family Literacy Week is being celebrated in downtown Vernon with the first ever Story-Window Walk Jan. 21-31. (Literacy Society of North Okanagan)
Catch a Yeti in downtown Vernon

Literacy Week celebrated with first ever Story-Window Walk

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

A Salvation Army bell is rung by Michael Cronin as he staffs the charity’s red donation kettle in front of a grocery store, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Lynden, Wash. The familiar ringing of handbells has gone silent at many Canadian shopping malls this year as the Salvation Army tries to cope with COVID-19 rules at a time of dropping donations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Elaine Thompson
Record-breaking Christmas for Vernon Salvation Army

$640K and significant food donations pour into local organization ahead of holidays

A 2002 F350 was stolen from a Whitevale home sometime overnight Jan. 14. (Contributed)
Truck stolen near Lumby overnight

Lifted Ford stolen from Whitevale Road

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Washington. The President is traveling to Texas. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
13 more cases of COVID-19 tied to Big White Mountain cluster

This brings the total case count to 175, of which 32 cases are active

RCMP on scene at a home on Sylvania Cres. (Phil McLachlan /Capital News/FILE)
Two Kelowna men arrested after Rutland home invasion

Two Kelowna men, including a prolific offender, facing slew of potential charges

Real estate sales in the South Okanagan grew by more than any other part of the province in 2020. (Marissa Tiel - Black Press)
South Okanagan fastest growing real estate market in B.C.

There was over $1 billion in residential sales in 2020

Most Read