Try A Bollywood Meets Hollywood Workout

The Boston-based dance workout program, BOLLYX, is expanding across the country.

BollyX class

photos by Stephanie Cohn.

When Shahil Patel was a senior in college, he led his Bollywood dance team to the 2009 semi-finals of America’s Got Talent. Patel, who fell in love with the Bollywood style of dance seen in India’s film industry, says that Bollywood dancing made him feel like a rock star. “It helps you get over fears, inhibitions, or whatever nervousness you may have,” Patel says.

Using his success from America’s Got Talent and his MBA in business administration from MIT, Patel went on to co-found BOLLYX—the Bollywood meets Hollywood cardio workout. “I’ve always been looking for the right way to share the Bollywood experience with the world, in a way that really connects the East and West and makes it something that people can dive into,” Patel says.

BollyX-lean

The company officially launched in June 2013 in Boston, and has since expanded to New York City, Chicago, Richmond, Va., and will soon be in cities in New Jersey and California.

The BOLLYX workout uses dance steps from traditional Indian dance styles, popular Indian music, and inspiration from Bollywood choreographers. “One minute you’re doing authentic Bhangra moves, which is folk Indian style, to an authentic Indian song, and the next you’re doing those same Bhangra moves but to a Top 40 pop hit,” Patel explains.

BollyX-twist

In the 50-minute BOLLYX class there’s hardly a moment of rest. The class keeps the energy high by mixing fast-paced choreography with slower movements that target specific parts of the body. This style of interval training allows participants to recuperate a little bit in between exercises.

Between the upbeat energy of the class, the motivating instructor, the unique fusion of cultures and music, it’s easy to forget you’re getting a great workout. But don’t be fooled: Participants have reported burning more than 500 calories in one class.

Patel says that every aspect of the workout is part of a specifically designed BOLLYX formula. The music selection has been carefully chosen and put in a specific order. Similarly, the choreography has been designed to maintain the authenticity of Indian dance styles and target specific regions of the body. One aspect that separates BOLLYX from other workout dance classes such as Zumba, for example, is that all the instructors maintain the same BOLLYX choreography and go through the same training program, so there’s consistency in all the classes, whether it’s in Chicago or Boston, Patel says.

BollyX-Jump

Anyone can participate in BOLLYX, even people with two left feet. “At its core, Bollywood is all about performance,” Patel says. During the class, participants are encouraged to find their own creative flare within the choreography. This is especially clear during the “finale” dance, where the instructors split the class in two and have one group perform while the other cheers on. The positive energy helps participants let their apprehension slip away, because no matter what your ability, the BOLLYX workout is meant to make you feel like a Bollywood, or Hollywood, star.

Prices and locations vary. bollyx.com