School of Music


Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology (MA)


John Benham

Primary Subject Area

Dance; Education, General; Anthropology, Cultural; History, Asia, Australia and Oceania


Bharat Natyam, Bollywood, Dance, Education, India, Performance


Asian History | Cultural History | Dance | East Asian Languages and Societies | Education | Performance Studies


This project is a practical curriculum of Bollywood dance that can be used to assist in the preservation of dance forms in India through education and performance. The goal of this curriculum is to systematically equip dancers of all ages with the basic knowledge and experiences needed to excel as dancers and choreographers of Bollywood dance. This will be achieved through practical experience that is built from the basics of Bollywood dance and founded in classical tradition and theory as presented in Bharat Natyam. This curriculum is broken up into four sixteen-week semesters and covers a series of steps, basics in theory and application as it relates to rhythm and synchronization, mudras, expression and style, and choreography. The steps included in this curriculum are commonly found in many Bollywood dances. This curriculum also includes a series of Bharat Natyam steps borrowed from the curriculum taught by Rachna Chauhan through the Art Society of Mumbai, which are included to ensure students are able to correctly perform certain classical elements found in Bollywood dance. The data that has been gathered for this project has provided the basis for each aspect included in this curriculum and has been applied in the principle investigator's own life as she has studied Bharat Natyam and Bollywood dance. The constant evolution of Bollywood poses a challenge when attempting to form a curriculum for Bollywood dance, and as the demand changes and grows new steps will be added and older ones dropped as upcoming performances prepare to hit the big screens. However, the fundamentals offered in this curriculum are beneficial to anyone who is interested in learning the basics of Bollywood dance.