The colorful, exotic aspects of Indian culture continue to fascinate those of us here in the West, and I’m no exception. Having bought my first full sari over ten years ago, and possessing an admitted penchant for large, Bollywood-style dance scenes that came to the attention of the general public through films such as 2005’s Bride and Prejudice, I couldn’t resist trying out Vancouver-born Hemalayaa’s Bollywood Dance Workouts DVD box set.
What most of us in the West have experienced of Bollywood (India’s version of Hollywood) is miniscule compared to the exposure that Hemalayaa received growing up in a home that devoured Bollywood films. This three-volume DVD set is an economical and comprehensive introduction to the high-energy body of work that this vivacious performer has produced in recent years.
This three-disc box set includes Hemalayaa: Bollywood Booty, Hemalayaa: Bollywood Burn, and The Bollywood Dance Workout with Hemalayaa. Each offers an up beat, heart-pumping dance workout with a slightly different thrust.
Bollywood Booty is focused on toning the hips and backside. The four 15-minute workouts are preceded by a warm up and followed by a cool down. These are definitely exercise workouts that include standard low-impact aerobic techniques that are accented by Indian influenced arm movements – you don’t really want to whip out these moves and try to pass them off as dancing at the club.
Disc bonus features include a seven-minute classical Indian dance performance and commentary (solo by Hemalayaa) which is quite restrained and subtle though technically demanding, an on-screen text biographical sketch of Hemalayaa. Sample instructional dance sequences are also included from Yoga Trance Dance - think wild thrashing to trance beats with New Age commentary, and Dance and Be Fit: Brazilian Body - Brazillian inspired low-impact aerobic moves.
Bollywood Burn actually gives Hemalayaa fans to work through three 15-minute exercise/dance routines by teaching a series of moves that are eventually combined together. Arranged in order of ascending difficulty, each is a stand-alone experience; including both a warm-up and cool-down in each workout. While the first is fairly tame, the third works up to a fast pace. Hemalayaa’s penchant to pop stretching sequences into the middle of her workouts is a bit different than what I’m used to, but it certainly provides a welcome break! A brief, rapid-paced freestyle dance performance by Hemalayaa and both her male and female assistant are included as a bonus.