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P. Senthil Kumar

South Indian Film Dance - Bollywood and Kollywood

Cinema in India: Young and old eagerly await the release of new films. Film stars are celebrated as much as popstars are in the west. Every film has song and dance sequences, starring the hero and heroine and supported by various background dancers.
Cinema thus has produced a very special kind of dance, called “cinematic dance” or filmdance, in the west normally known as "Bollywood". This is by no means a consistent style of dancing. All kinds of dance styles, old and new are merged in an eclectic manner. Analogical to the film-music, western and classical Indian musical instruments are combined as are elements of folk dance, classical dance, western modern dance, rap, hip hop etc. are absorbed and adopted.

Cinematic Dance also differs by region. Many people are already familiar with “Bollywood Dance” which refers to the Hindi-films produced in Mumbai (Bombay).
Southern India has its own film industries, which are nearly as prominent as Bollywood. From Tamil Nadu comes “Tamil cinema”, also known under the term “Kollywood” (after Kodambakkam, a suburb of Chennai where the films are produced).
Soundtracks to Tamil films are dominated by South Indian instruments and the dance style is influenced by South Indian folk dances and classical dances. It is very body conscious, powerful and dynamic, and differs depending on the mix of music styles.
Filmdance has no rules and gives dances a lot of freedom – having fun with it is most important!


In India there are various regions, even within the states, which all produce their unique melodies, music and movements. All folk dances originate from the everyday life of rural people.
For example, Indian women sing while working the fields as well as at festivals celebrating special occasions. Over the course of time regional folk songs and dances developed, were passed from generation to generation and are alive still today.
Generally folk dances are danced to simple joyful songs. They are usually group dances. Some songs are only danced by women, others by men, and in others men and women dance together.
In contrast to classical dance there is no theory behind folk dance and the joyful spirited movements are easy to learn.

Senthil Filmdance

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