Set your DVRs – ABDC Goes Bollywood

While some folks are addicted to American Idol or Survivor, my favorite reality competition show, for a couple seasons now, has been MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew (ABDC). ABDC brings together dance teams from across the country who compete in a variety of challenges and each week, the illustrious judges and America vote a team off.

Winning teams from previous seasons including the Jabbawockeez and Quest Crew have delivered some utterly showstopping performances that have set a high bar for the show in general. Full episodes from previous episodes & seasons are available on line and the ABDC’s top 10 performance recap is a great intro to the show.

Season 4 began a couple weeks ago with a new set of crews who’ve been assembled from across the country. While previous seasons were criticized for being overly weighted towards b-boys and hip hop, this time around, the producers have tried to venture wide and bring in other styles of music and groups. Towards that end, this week, the 6 remaining ABDC crews will be facing the Bollywood challenge

UPDATE – MTV’s blog has released a few snapshots & commentary from the upcoming episode

MTV’s ABDC blog provides a quick rundown of the music and style each group will be tasked with

MTV’s Bollywood Choreographer – Nakul Dev Mahajan

RHYTHM CITY “Jai Ho” A.R. Rahman & Pussycat Dolls

Challenge: BHARATA NATYUM…

WE ARE HEROES “Arab Money” Busta Rhymes & Ron Brownz

Challenge: GIDDHA…

AFROBORIKE “Dance Bailalo” Kat De Luna

Challenge: KATHAK…

VOGUE EVOLUTION “Calabria 2008″ Enur

Challenge: RAJASTHANI…

MASSIVE MONKEES “Bang” Rye Rye Ft. M.I.A.

Challenge: BHANGRA…

BEAT YA FEET KINGS “So Fine” Sean Paul

Challenge: GARBA…

Massive Monkees are my current fav for winning the season overall and with this challenge, they certainly got a lucky draw by grabbing perhaps the most crowd-pleasing, and hip-hop amenable dance style from the Desh – Bhangra. By contrast, Afroborike, for ex., specializes in a very sensual latin/salsa style and successfully meshing that with Kathak will be no small feat.

The new face of Kathak?

Assisting the teams this week will be California-based choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan. In a pre-show interview, he notes –

“It will definitely be interesting to see how they execute their style into the different Bollywood genres,” Nakul said. “Certain crews have intricate hand gestures and footwork … which take years to master,” he explains. “Accomplishing those techniques in a week will be mind-blowing.”

…given the recent upsurge of Bollywood-style dance, we asked Nakul whether he thought America was ready for an all-Indian dance crew next season. “I definitely think having a Bollywood crew on ABDC would add a new element to the show,” he predicted. “[They] would be one of the most entertaining crews to watch due to the diversity of movement that Bollywood offers.”

Should be fun. The Bollywood episode airs this Sunday night @ 9pm on MTV but, due to the popularity of the show, it will almost certainly be on heavy repeat later in the week as well. And, after some delay of course, the entire episode will be up on mtv.com.

Unfortunately, I’ll be travelling when the episode airs so I’ll miss the live show and it might be quite a while before I have a chance to post a followup so y’all will have to watch it without me. MTV has already promised fans several surprises over the course of the show

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18 thoughts on “Set your DVRs – ABDC Goes Bollywood

  1. I wish they wouldn’t lump all forms of Indian dance under the term “Bollywood”–bharatanatyam? Seriously? Still, though, it should be interesting to see, and it’s cool they’re doing more than just the typical movie choreography…I just hope they don’t oversex it since these are more rooted in religion than most other forms of dance I know of.

  2. Are you people sick of all this “Bollywood” stuff? I am. They have “Bollywood night” on “So you think you can dance”, they have some college “India night” crew on “America’s got talent”, they had it at the Oscars and now they are going to have it on this show.

    I really hate it because it makes Indian guys look so gay. It will be interesting if there is a group of all black guys who are used to “Krumping” and now they have to put on some sequence and have goofy smiles on their faces.

  3. While some folks are addicted to American Idol or Survivor,

    …or Top Chef.

    Also, that spelling of Bharatnatyam makes my eyes hurt.

  4. I’ve already been spreading this news for days!! Half of the desis I know don’t know about gidha – and now it gets an American platform?! Plus, I’ve always loved how gidha works well w/ certain non-Punjabi songs. My favorite personal examples (yes I choreograph gidha to non-Punjabi songs): Get Busy by Sean Paul and Single Ladies by Beyonce. I’m also psyched about seeing all the different dance forms up on that stage, since that crappy stuff you see on other shows is all mainstream America knows of Indian dance.

    The only thing I was waiting on was to find out which choreographer was going to help them….. and truly praying it wasn’t Nakul…. but alas. Now my excitement-balloon has been deflated. I hate his choreography. Hate. It.

    :( Boo.

  5. this show is fun – but not sure of how you can do some of these dances to these songs – doing the garba for sean pauls so fine should be interesting to watch – better title would be abdc does abcd ;-)

  6. Isnt gidha just old ladies clapping their hands and twirling, while they sing ear drum shattering songs about farming?

  7. Not sure how you do gidha to ‘Arab Money’ or bhangra to ‘Bang’. The beats and measures are way off.

  8. They are going to dance to “Arab Money” by Busta?

    I really wish they didnt do that. A nation of over a billion people shouldnt have to be lumped into the middle east because ignorant Americans want it that way.

    And that is just a really bad, ignorant song.

  9. Oh, great! More people looking ridiculous in Aladdin and Jasmine costumes being choreographed by a man who seems to know nothing about dance. I ask this as a Bollywood watcher, how did the entirety of Indian art and music come to be dumped under the banner of Bollywood?

  10. Yes! Bring on the “Dances of India: Classical and Folk Challenge!”

    It sounds like the theme of an India Association Diwali program. :)

  11. It does sound like an India Society evening!

    Actually I think this will be a trainwreck. Yes these folk styles contribute to Bollywood dancing but they are very different! I just don’t know what the producers were thinking. This all seems well-meant and utterly wrong-headed. And of course none of the songs are even Bollywood songs except maybe Jai Ho.

    Also, I am tired of Nakul and his hyper-speed folk dance style. I guess that’s why he’s assisting this week. Just don’t be surprised if almost all the crews fall down on their tasks; although I wouldn’t blame them one bit.

  12. This was better than I thought. Rhythm City and Afro Borike had the numbers that most looked like they could have come right out of a Bollywood movie, and We Are Heroes managed to make it work. Everything else was rather boring. I wish they had shown more clips from Bollywood movies ( rather than just Slumdog) and explained how all the styles chosen had any connection to Bollywood. But it looks like they made an earnest attempt at cross cultural exchange… could have been worse!

  13. Lordy that was terrible. I caught the second half of the show and turned it off before they announced who had been eliminated. I don’t know why they bothered with having a theme, none of the groups I saw made any effort whatsoever to incorporate their assigned dance, they all just basically did whatever they wanted. The kathak performance had, at most, four beats of what might be described as kathak-inspired dance. The garba was so bad it made my hair hurt. I’ve only been studying Indian folk dance for a year-ish, but I’m confident I could have done a better job than some of them did. This was basically MTV trying to cash in on something popular, but then again its MTV so I would hardly expect different.

    The Australian version of So You Think You Can Dance tackled the Indian dance theme much better-better music, more insistence on actually doing the dance they were assigned.

    Also, I got really sick of Mario Lopez announcing each song as a “Bollywood classic.” I’m sorry, but Sean Paul is not a “Bollywood classic.” End of story.

    Epic fail.

  14. RYTHM CITY absolutely killed it (in a good way)!!! I loved how they took their shoes off to do Bharatnatyam. AFROBORIKE did great and so did WE ARE HEROES…but the song “Arab Money” really….? They made it work anyway as they always do.