Rhythm India Relives Bollywood

rhythm 4in

Photos: Navin Mediwala & Msanphoto.com


Click here for Photo Collage


By Vanshika Vipin

STAFFORD: The Old Stafford Civic Centre was bustling with beats and rhythm on Saturday, April 4, when the entire troupe of ‘Rhythm India’ gathered together to showcase their talent on their Annual day programme. More than 275 performers were actively involved in putting together this grand show of dance choreography and theatre play on this glittering evening. Ideated, conceptualized and directed by the very talented Arzan Gonda, the Founder & Artistic Director of Rhythm India. ’Just Dance 2015’ was the celebratory culmination of the year long lessons taken by the students at the Rhythm India Dance Company in Houston.

Rhythm India was started by Arzan Gonda in 2005 with a mission to create awareness and spread the South Asian culture and heritage through the means of dance and theatre in Houston. She aims at formalizing the teaching of Bollywood dance, thus developing a structure to the entire dance sequences. This year’s Annual day, thus was focused on showcasing the influences of folk and classical dances from various regions of India, from north, east, west and south and how they were skillfully amalgamated in the Bollywood dance sequences.

rhythm 2in

Arzan Gonda

There were two shows of ninety minutes each that were conceptualized and directed keeping the ‘Folk theme’ in mind. The idea was to showcase the Folk dances of various parts of India and demonstrate their influence in the evolution of Bollywood dances over the decades. The shows that were scheduled at 4.00 pm and 8.00 pm each had a gigantic crew of 275 performers bedazzling the audience with their synchronous performances and their splendid costumes that were specially created and shipped from India. The Old Stafford Civic Centre was jam-packed with the audience that comprised of the performers families, friends and supporters of this magnificent show.

Since the essence of the choreography was Folk dance, Arzan had very skilfully weaved the theme of the dances so that there was a seamless interpretation of the performances without any glitches. The eastern folk dance, typically done with Bamboo sticks, was performed on the famous Bollywood number ‘O Re Kanchi’ from the famous movie ‘Asoka’. The dancers enthralled the audience with their high adrenaline performance. The iconic movie Navrang’s famous folk dance ‘Aa re Jaa re Natkhat’ wherein the dancer dresses as a half male and half female was one of the the inspirations to a performance on the latest song “ Tharki Chokra”  from the critically acclaimed movie PK of Amir Khan. It had a snippet of the puppet dance in the beginning, then the Navrang dancers and then the chorus brought on other Rajasthani performers too. This was one of the main highlights of the show, as it showcased varied dance styles within that one song. The effects of lights, stage and the colourful costumes were an added attraction to keep the audience engrossed in the 90 minute show that went on without a break.

rhythm 1in
Besides the mesmerizing dances, there was an entertaining film which connected the performances together. It was created, scripted and directed by Ajay Sarpeshkar of Lazy Picture. The main cast of the film included the very talented Prateek Karkal, Sara Kumar, Raheel Rajabali, Vidhi Sundar Nayak, Ruzbeh Gonda, Asif Sayani, Yaksha Bhatt and Sneha Dama.

The grand finale of the show was brought in by the senior dancers and the entire cast and crew of the show on the high octane song ‘Dhating Naach’. It received a standing ovation from the spellbound audience.

At the end of the rapturous  performances, Arzan Gonda , thanked the entire cast and crew of Rythm India including the choreographers, dancers and  their families to help her put together such a brilliant show year after year.  “As a teacher, it is rewarding to see how all our dancers have grown over the years and for some over the last few months. Rhythm India would like to thank all our dancers, their parents and families for your cooperation, understanding and commitment”, said Arzan.

rhythm 3in
Being a people centric leader of Rhythm India, she went on to appreciate Rashna Oak, the backbone of the show and added,  “I would like to thank our entire Rhythm India staff and team, instructors, choreographers and administrative staff members who have worked tirelessly to help us grow each year. I thank our youth intermediate 2, youth advance and senior company dancers, who have worked so hard throughout the year, helping out with rehearsals and choreography. Their commitment and dedication constantly inspires me to do my best”. She made an announcement of starting their vey own new Bollywood Dance Studio in June at the border of Sugar Land and Stafford, adding one more feather to her existent cap that claims of centres in Houston, Katy, Plano and Sugar Land.

‘Just Dance 2015’ received rave reviews on its conceptualizing and choreography, some terming it as ‘ the Best performance’ so far in the history of Rhythm India’s shows. While the dancers and their families went back home with beaming smiles on their achievement of superb synchrony in the show, Arzan sat there reminiscing the pleasant memories that Rhythm India has been consistently creating in Houston.