KARACHI: Wedding choreography isn’t just about copying steps from dance videos.
Nida Butt of Music, Arts and Dance School, who provides wedding choreography services, believes that “The trend of wedding choreography is really picking up in Karachi because people are realising it is a large part of our culture and the inspiration is mainly taken from Bollywood numbers.” However, she thinks that hiring choreographers is still considered an added expense. “Compared to other expenses of a wedding, the amount spent on choreography is small,” she says.
Hasan Rizvi of BodyBeat Dance Studio says, “It’s amazing. Friends fly down from all over the world to be under one roof and dance.”
Has the trend really picked up? Rizvi says, “The trend picked up a long time ago. Twelve years ago, I remember dancing at my sister’s wedding. Today the dhol is nowhere to be found. It’s great that we are taking an interest in dance not just as a form of art but as a way to vent, unite and just express happiness.”
Rizvi, whose wedding choreography service is exclusive to his close friends, shares his own wedding’s experience, “My wedding was the mehndi I had dreamed of. There were 15 songs, each two minutes in length, and the performance lasted for 60 minutes after which we opened the dance floor to all the guests.”
Mohammad Ghani, who teaches hip-hop dance at Act One Lounge, choreographs wedding dances in his spare time. “For the past five years this trend has really picked up in Karachi. People are no more interested in variety items (elaborate shows by the comedians) or music shows on mehndis.”
Shoaib Jazzy, a dance instructor at the Lahore Grammar School, believes, “Wedding choreography started around 2001.”
Unlike traditional dances, different themes are becoming a part of the wedding dance sequence in Pakistan. According to Ghani, the current dance themes are, “Bhangra, English songs or Bollywood item numbers. People even try and give a shot to salsa on mehndis.”
While Ghani prefers to pair up the participants, Jazzy follows Lahori trends in preparing the dances. “Fast track numbers are played which have bhangra elements in them. Eight to 10 girls participate in them and the dances are completely choreographed,” says Jazzy.
How much does it cost to hire a wedding choreographer? “Now people hire choreographers starting from Rs50,000 going up to Rs 200,000 for a night’s preparation,” says Ghani. With payments usually made per minute, Ghani does shows for as long as 150 minutes. However, he believes that there still is an initial hesitation before people finally choose to spend on wedding choreography.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2010.