Monday, October 19, 2015

RETRO POST: Diwali Dances for Kids

**Reprinted from Masala Mommas, October 2013 issue:

It's the most festive, exciting time of year according to me. It all starts with Navarathri which means a whirl of garbas and Durga Puja and visits to see people's Golu (South Indian custom). This is quickly followed by what feels like an endless stream of Diwali functions - community showcases, dinner dances and so on. And a guaranteed feature at these events is a whole bunch of kids dances!

Year after year I attend these functions and alternately find myself enraptured by or horrified by some of these displays. Sometimes the kids are amazingly coordinated or immaculately dressed, other times I find myself seriously questioning the parents that sanction sparkly booty shorts as appropriate costumes for children.

This is actually the first time I'm finding myself involved in these types of items. As a child I was always separated from these community items by virtue of being a Bharata Natyam dancer - so our items were set apart and usually themed on either Ram's return to Ayodhya,
Krishna defeating Narakasura or generally about Mahalakshmi or Devi.

Now as the parent of an almost six year old boy, I'm experiencing my first community Diwali dance - and it is beyond adorable. But it also led me to think about what songs I'm seeing performed at local events. Now if you are organizing a show you are likely to see the same songs popping up over and over -- One Two Three Four Get On The Dance Floor from Chennai Express, Radha from Student of the Year and either Badtameez Dil or Dilliwali Girlfriend from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. These seem to be the hot picks for Diwali 2013.

But supposing you wanted a more unique choice - something more age appropriate than lyrics about "booty shaking" and Radha's "sexy body". What songs exist out there in the Bolly Universe that could suit the occasion and the age of the performers? I had a great deal of fun pondering this question and thought I would share my short list - and I'm sure there are a great many more out there so we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

So here are my picks for Kid-Friendly Diwali Performance Songs from Bollywood Films:

For the younger set (songs that are a bit easier-paced for more lyrical moves than complicated steps but still fun and cute):

For elementary to pre-teen aged kids (more upbeat and/or would require more complex choreography):

For diya/candle dances (better for older children, probably 8+ to handle diyas):

No matter what song is chosen though, any efforts parents make to get the children involved in the spirit of celebrating our traditional holidays is a plus in my book. And as a little extra incentive, I definitely recommend getting a hold of some sparklers to light on Diwali night! My own childhood memories of Diwali definitely include the excitement (and slight fear) of sparklers.

I wish you all and your families a very fun-filled holiday season, whether you are celebrating Bakr Eid or Diwali or any other tradition!