Last year at Top of the Park, BollyFit planned a flash-mob. It started as a performance by the BollyFit guides – dancing their blend of classical Bharatanatyam, Bhangra and Bollywood dance – when suddenly more dancers emerged from the crowd and onlookers themselves joined in, creating one big dance party.

Dance with Bollyfit

Tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Top of the Park

“There was just this energy in the air that you couldn’t quite explain,” said the CEO and Founder of BollyFit, Anuja Rajendra. “It wasn’t like one of those corporate flash mobs, it was really to bring people together and have a good time, and it totally achieved that.”

This year, it’s not a surprise. So get ready.

As part of this year’s Top of the Park wellness retreat, Anuja Rajendra and BollyFit dancers hosted a fun and uplifting BollyFit class this past Sunday on the Power Center lawn. Community members grooved to energetic Indian rhythms as they learned a simple dance to a Bollywood mash-up.

On Wednesday, be prepared for an all-out dance jam, as BollyFit guides and community members will bust some of their moves together.

But how does one get the public to relax, loosen up and move in different ways?

“We have this sweet spot, without being in a competitive way, (of) letting people be themselves and move how they want to – without feeling like they’re being judged or anything and to really feel alive and vibrant,” Rajendra explained.

Rajendra is a University alum, and she used to perform in all the shows for the Indian American Student Association (IASA). After having stopped dancing for 10 years, she found herself returning to this style of dance for exercise as well as for spiritual well being.

“There’s something dormant inside of us that is alive when we dance and move. That’s why we like the music,” Rajendra said. “It’s in there, but there’s all these layers of inhibition, so we try to peel through the layers, using mindfulness.”

As a new outlet for group exercise, BollyFit is growing rapidly. What began as one class taught by Rajendra has turned into multiple classes taught by several “guides” or instructors. Rajendra is developing a “Guide for Guides” course to work towards creating a national program. Yet her ambitions do not stop there. This summer, BollyFit will film its first DVD and by 2013, BollyFit will have its first training in Europe.

Perhaps due to its infectious Bollywood music, or its energetic and easy-to-follow choreography, BollyFit has caught on quickly, spreading with contagious intensity.

“I think something happens when you’re dancing that the mind stops thinking and you’re not focused on everything else,” Rajendra said. “But you’re right there, in the moment and it brings out this joy within everybody.”

Rajendra added: “If you can clap you can do it. If you can smile every so often, you can do it. If you can shake it, you can do it. There’s a dancer in everybody.”

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