Wedding choreography: Shall we dance?

Published: December 14, 2010
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Dances on Pakistani weddings are largely inspired from Bollywood hits. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Dances on Pakistani weddings are largely inspired from Bollywood hits. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

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.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • SRK
    Dec 14, 2010 - 10:08PM

    I don’t know who you are but it is a fact that you are good writer. well doneRecommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Dec 15, 2010 - 3:18AM

    Wedding are becomg more colourful now-a-days. It is another expense which only the elite class can afford.Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Dec 15, 2010 - 4:11AM

    Only good thing about Bollywood is that it is providing songs that are ‘danceable’. Otherwise I hate typical masala stories and sad songs!Recommend

  • rizwan
    Dec 15, 2010 - 7:57AM

    My dad says that we ,pakistanis, started dancing in weddings after watchin DDLJ and other indian movies in 90’s.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Dec 15, 2010 - 10:10AM

    Your dad is a smart man.Recommend

  • perahan
    Dec 15, 2010 - 10:51AM

    as much as i like the dances, i miss the dholak ki thaap and singing traditional tappay or amir khusro songs at the dholkis.
    the dances with all the masala latkas and jhatkas are quite disturning if you look at all the strangers ogaling at the ladies.fun it surely is for the close family rest just come to see the tamasha.Recommend

  • Critic
    Dec 15, 2010 - 1:41PM

    Raqib Ali…..haha I agree with you. The only thing watchable/listenable about Bollywood is their songs. And thankfully that too is starting to have a Pakistani mix in it…nowadays, half the Indian movies will be incomplete without a song or two by a Pakistani artistRecommend

  • Anoop
    Dec 15, 2010 - 4:36PM

    @Critic,

    Hardly.

    Dancing and Singing is part of Indian culture. Very infectious. We make World Leaders dance, like we did for Michelle Obama. Recommend

  • Rajat
    Dec 15, 2010 - 5:04PM

    hey critic, what’s up with the comment- “nowadays, half the Indian movies will be incomplete without a song or two by a Pakistani artist”. Its like you are trying to satisfy a nagging itch within you that India cannot survive without Pak… and chest-beating that Pak can also be a part of the great indian tamasha.Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Dec 15, 2010 - 6:53PM

    @ Critic

    I wasn’t talking about ‘crying’ songs. ‘Danceable’ songs are mostly Punjabi culture. Pakistani singers in India is a recent phenomenon. OUR SONGS have been there long before. Anyone can watch this one example (Part 14 of compilation of such songs. watch all of them and decide yourself!!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSfQgtxjA20 Recommend

  • Nwaq
    Dec 16, 2010 - 6:18PM

    I feel bad and sad after going through this article.It is written that wedding choreography takes amount ranging from 50,000 to 200,000.OMG this amount is enough for the marriage of 2 or 3 poor girls.Our religions base life on simplicity,where it is gone?After watching Indian movies we are misled into thinking that it is our culture and we feel proud in following it.Wake up Pakistanis and remember your rich islamic heritage which has no place for this pomp and show.Recommend

  • Jan 6, 2011 - 1:31PM

    Choreographing wedding dancing is also very popular in the USA right now. I think it is a wonderful trend that is good for exercise and also very entertaining for the wedding guests. Recommend

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