Representing the season of ‘Fall’, the season of transitions and endings, Ritu is a dancer who embodies both elements with her history. Coming to Canada from India as a young bride, she struggled to find her place in the new country. On top of the cultural clash, her marriage is fraught with constricting rules that force her to hide who she truly was. The emotional turmoil, the lack of support, and the loneliness leave her feeling like a solitary leaf struggling to hold on against the cold winds that try to bring her down.
When her marriage finally ends, Ritu finds herself alone for the first time. Unsure about herself and her future, Ritu returns to her first passion. Dance. With each performance, Ritu regains bits of her old self while also discovering new aspects of herself. Her enthusiasm and enjoyment gets noticed and people start asking her to teach them.
Pushing past her own self doubts, Ritu begins to teach Bollywood dance to anyone who is interested. With each class of students of all ages, she grows more confident in herself and her new place. And with that confidence, she gives back to the community that she now calls home.
Ritu's Dance Styles
As one of the eight major forms of Indian Classical dance, Kathak originated from the travelling storytellers – the Kathakars of North India. These Kathakars acted out stories from the great epics and ancient mythology through dance, song and music. They used hand movements and extensive footwork that synced with the sounds of a tabla, and expressive facial expressions to convey their stories. With a history that can be traced all the way back to 400 BCE, Kathak has evolved over various eras but it has kept it’s core value of storytelling and spiritual themes through dance.
The dances in old Bollywood films are usually modeled on classical Indian dance like Kathak, folk dances like Bhangra and even historical dances of courtesans. Over the years, Bollywood has adopted and blended in more Western dance choreography for a more modern look and feel. But no matter the styles, many movie watchers often learn and mimic the dances to the best of their abilities. Being able to dance to certain songs played at functions help people build connections and feel like part of a bigger community.