The inaugural Times of India Film Awards in Vancouver on April 6— the Academy Awards of Bollywood cinema— was defined by large-scale production numbers devised by Shiamak Davar, an A-list Bollywood choreographer who divides his time between Mumbai and Vancouver.
“TOIFA is an extension of the cultural exchange that has been taking place between Canada and India for years now,” Davar told The Vancouver Sun. Many of the participating B.C. dancers were members of the Shiamak Davar Dance Team, the professional wing of his North Vancouver dance school affiliated with a string of international Shiamak style dance schools, including centers in Victoria and Toronto.
Davar, who served as both director of choreography and design for the Vancouver events, is widely credited with re-positioning Bollywood dance for an international market.
“When I started off 20 years ago,” he said, “Bollywood dance did not have a structure. The first movie I choreographed went on to win a national award, and introduced jazz technique to Bollywood. It was a first for Indian cinema to have properly choreographed pieces with dancers who were trained and had fit bodies. This movie—Dil Toh Pagal Hai—is considering a turning point for dance in Bollywood movies.”
A marker of his success is the fact that the term Bollywood now refers to a dance style, as well as to the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai. If old Bollywood dance was modeled on classical styles like bharata natyam and kathak, or folk dances like bhangra, the new Bollywood marries those older forms with western genres like contemporary, jazz, and hip hop.
Through a partnership with French movie theatre giant Gaumont-Pathé, four performances of Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet will be beamed to 300 cinemas in 12 countries, including the United States, Canada, Italy, Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, and France, as reported by CBC News.
Similar technology has made it possible for the Metropolitan Opera and the Berlin Philharmonic to reach audiences around the world. The Bolshoi performances will kick off December 19 with The Nutcracker, followed by Gisele on January 23, Don Quixote on March 6, and Coppélia on May 29.
In Canada, the performances will be beamed into Cineplex theatres in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec. Tickets are on sale through www.Cineplex.com.
To find a full listing of U.S. cinemas cooperating with the Bolshoi broadcast, visit www.bachtrack.com/find-a-ballet-in-cinema/Who/company=9453-Bolshio-Ballet.