Bollywood dancers aim high despite TV show exit

Bolly-Flex on Got To Dance

Tower Hamlets based dance group Bolly-Flex have vowed to bounce back after their semi-final defeat on Sky 1’s “Got to Dance”.

The group were knocked out of the show on Sunday, despite glowing praise from the show’s judges. The group’s dance style combines traditional Bollywood dance moves with contemporary additions.

The group’s choreographer and founder, Naz Choudhury, hopes that the show will bring bigger and better things for the east London group.

“We set out to prove the point that Britain has great Bollywood talent – and we did that,” said Choudhury. “The hope now is to go on to do a national tour; a real dance spectacular. Since appearing on TV we’ve had a few interesting offers. Nothing is confirmed yet, but we’re hopeful.”

Choudhury started teaching dance professionally in east London more than ten years ago. In 2003 he set up Flex FX Productions in Tower Hamlets, which ran a series of not-for-profit dance projects and workshops in the local community, during which he discovered an untapped source of talent and passion for traditional Indian dance in the borough.

The 12-strong dance troupe have performed at a number of high-profile events across the UK. Last year their unique fusion of traditional Indian dance and young British talent made them the ideal choice for the Commonwealth Games handover ceremony in Glasgow, where the Delhi delegation passed the flag to their British counterparts. The show was produced and broadcast nationally by the BBC.

Their big break came in reaching the semi-finals of Sky 1’s “Got to Dance” hosted by Davina McCall. The group received a standing ovation from the judges and the audience and their ejection from the show proved a shock.

“When our name wasn’t called, it was really gutting,” says Bolly-Flex dancer Leena Patel. “Our aim was to win.”

But, says Patel, the group picked themselves back up again the minute they went backstage. “We reminded ourselves that the judges loved it, the audience loved it, and I’m sure a lot of people at home loved it too,” she says.

The vote was close-run with Bolly-Flex finishing only a few hundred votes behind eventual finalists Trinity Warriors.

Patel, who juggles her passion for dance with the demands of being a fifth year medical student at Queen Mary University, hopes that the show will open up “a huge door” for Bolly-Flex .

“We hope to take the group to a national level, maybe even international,” she said.

“I hope we’ve broadened a lot of people’s horizons,” said Leena. “Our aim was to help people understand what Bollywood is about – that its so much more intricate and technical than a lot of people think, and also that it’s not just for Asian people, but that everyone can do it.”

The group is taking a break in the wake of their “Got to Dance” exit, but Naz is confident that they can soon build on the publicity.

“Already we’ve put a new spotlight on Bollywood in east London,” said Naz “ Now we want to bring a taste of Bollywood into the mainstream”.

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