FORGET your modern day dance crazes such as zumba - it seems more and more Silhillians are stepping back in time to learn the art of classical Indian dance.
In fact the 3,000-year-old tradition is proving so successful with Solihull residents that a dance school dedicated to teaching the pastime has now opened in the borough.
The Chitraleka Dance Academy has been teaching the ancient Bharatanatyam dance in Birmingham for the past nine years. And with so many Solihull ladies flocking to learn the routine, Chitraleka and Sharad Bolar, who run the dance school, decided now is the time to expand into the area.
“We have so many people travelling from Solihull that we thought why not start running one from there too,” Mr Bolar, whose wife teaches the classes, said. “Anyone is welcome to the classes, of all cultures and all ages. We have children as young as five and we have ladies in their forties beginning from scratch.”
Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form originating from South India. The style denotes various 19th and 20th century reconstructions of Sadir, the art of temple dancers called Devadasis.
Bharatnatyam is usually accompanied by Carnatic music and takes its inspiration from the sculptures of the ancient temple of Chidambaram.
“Bharatanatyam is like learning ballet - it’s a life long thing,” Mr Bolar added.
“There are several grades to take and when the student gets to a certain standard, they will partake in their debut performance on stage.”
Training at the dance academy is recognised by the ISTD syllabus (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) and is designed to ‘reflect traditional methods of teaching and creating the necessary physical and cultural infrastructure for the student.’
The new classes are at Solihull Lodge Community Centre, Grafton Road, on Fridays, 5.30pm to 6.30pm and between 6.30pm and 7.30pm. For details, call 07789 967578.