Guests at the River Garden Christmas party were in for a treat this year with many entertainment sets performing throughout the night. One in particular was the Bollywood Dancers, 15 women dressed up to wow the crowd with lively dancing to Indian music. Myself, I had never heard of this particular kind of dancing, so I was in for a surprise to see that I personally knew about half of the group of women already. I was intrigued to learn more about it, which I did from the teacher and one of her students.
Irit Namatinia is from Israel, actually, not India. And her educational background is that of a chemist who also secured an MBA. Bollywood dancing wasn’t exactly what she thought she’d be doing when she began this hobby while living in India. As a student of a dancing group there, they performed, but Irit never taught. However, she and an Indian partner did open up a business providing evening entertainment — a dinner/dance show of Bollywood dancing. After moving to Beijing a year ago, she decided to offer classes and just enjoy helping others break out of their own comfort zones by dancing.
Lessons are currently offered in the basement of her Leman Lake home. Students can join in at any time, but the class always completes a dance program, so new students may be entering mid-session. Irit offers classes three times a week, but teaches the new moves only once per week. This way, students can come often if they want the extra practice, or just once if their schedules are full; all students will learn new steps at the same pace. One choreographed dance can take at least two months to learn from start to finish. Beginning in January, Irit will also offer classes at the River Garden clubhouse. Classes are only RMB 50 per class, and it’s pay-as-you-go. Irit really wants people to want to be there, so she does not have students pre-pay for lessons up front. If you come to one or two classes and decide it’s not for you, then you are free to stop. Likewise, if you’re really into it, then you can come up to three times per week to practice more. Interested prospective students can e-mail her at email@example.com for more information.
One student was featured in the December issue of beijingkids here. Neetha Jheeta is the only Indian dancer in the group at the moment, and she just began dancing this year. She says that it’s great fun to meet and dance with women who are truly enjoying the process. Getting up on stage to perform creates jitters, but in the end they are all happy with their accomplishment of learning something new and sharing it with others. She highly recommends getting over any preconceived notions about the dancing and just getting out there and enjoying it.It’s a great, fun form of exercise – maybe those of you with New Year’s Resolutions will consider this your new workout regimen!