Hello! My name is Shweta Aggarwal. I was born in India, in Kota, Rajasthan. My parents also belong to Rajasthan. I come from a quite a traditional family in India, and my teenage years. I’m now in London today, and what I am doing in London is running a Bollywood dance company called Threebee Dance now and we like to call ourselves, bold, beautiful and very Bollywood.
My first inspiration to dance was in Japan itself… em… after I moved to Japan when I was eight years old, for a Diwali function. Generally speaking Bollywood acts really- popular Bollywood dance numbers. And, my first teacher, Mayusha in Japan, and she also is not a trained dance teacher or a professional dance teacher. She also was basically somebody who was about ten, twelve years older than us who did the same when she was younger, and therefore was a very good dancer and taught us when we were young children.
The styles that I have learned over the years within Bollywood vary from very traditional Bollywood to very modern Bollywood. I think that’s the beauty of Bollywood that if you are performing to the latest Bollywood sound tracks, then, depending on whatever is in fashion whatever is a hit, even that particular instance is what you are performing to. So we’ve done choreography that is purely something like the equivalent of Devdas today and we have done choreography that’s very much like, like Dhoom today.
My first professional job as a dancer actually was here in London itself and it was for a project called ‘One Night Only’ at The Theatre Royal in Haymarket, where a lot of high calibre celebrities, a lot of the Dames were there, like Judi Dench, Maggie Smith etc. etc. and we performed for charity for the Tsunami back a few years ago. And that was my first experience as a, as a professional dancer on stage, while I had already done performances in front of hundreds people before.
My first teaching experience was my first class that I started with at David Lloyd in Ealing and I like to call that class a Bollywood aerobics class because we focused on choreography and going step by step, but it did go quite fast paced as well. So it was some basic simple steps and we built on them.
I’ll never forget the day when I first my class at David Lloyd in Ealing and the first time that I walked into that studio and I had thirty people’s eyes literally right at me. And at the end of the hour I had people applauding at my class because they had had such a great time. And what touched me the most was that it was the fifteen year old applauding as well as the fifty-five year old applauding.
In our classes I would say there are… given that we are following the trend of doing the latest Bollywood soundtracks and surprisingly even a lot of non-Asians now follow Bollywood and know what the latest sound tracks are. And because of the latest sound tracks currently at the moment seem to have more and more of a contemporary side to them the classes that we run are, therefore, contemporary Bollywood.
The way you adapt traditional dance into Bollywood is almost implicit I feel because you’re almost forced to, depending on the nature or the type of the song that you’re choreographing to. You have to have classical elements or you have to have traditional elements. If you are teaching to a Bhangra based sound track from Bollywood, you have to have Bhangra. You can’t not do any Bhangra moves. Kathak for the expressions and its gracefulness, its beauty. Bhangra for it’s energy, and then after that, of course, you’ve just got plain old cheesy Bollywood.