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Hip-hop meets Bollywood: PoisE’n Bollypop

Jess Pang

Tue Jan 17 2012

Gary Lee and PoisE’n Bollypop, Hip-hop Bollywood dance crew from Melbourne

THIS award-winning group of students have come together for the love of dance, and they’re looking for new members to join the fun.

FOR Gary Lee, to dance is to break away from mundane daily routines, to unleash an inner wildness and turn it into an art form. This was the thinking that inspired the dance teacher and City of Melbourne international student officer to start the dance collective PoisE’n in 1997. Group members – most of whom are international students – share a passion for hip-hop, funk and performing arts and are inspired by pop musicians, contemporary dance movements and martial arts.

Gary never settles for the same old trick and keeps on experimenting with different looks and styles in order to take his dance crew to the next level. When his interest was sparked by Indian groove last year, he created subgroup PoiseE’n Bollypop to perform a hybrid of Bollywood dance and hip-hop.

The dance crew – who in December won RMIT’s Arts and Culture Achievement Award – have already made appearances at various events and have become a favorite on and off-campuses. They have performed at the Mind Body Spirit Festival at the Melbourne Exhibition Center, the Diwali Fashion Show and the Stand Centre Front young performer conference.

“The award is great kudos to the students who come together for the love of dance,” Gary tells Meld.

PoisE’n Bollypop’s “Indian classical queen”, Remya Ramesh, agrees.

“It is an amazing result of the hard work, dedication, passion and team work of all dancers,” Remya says.

“Being part of the team is a priceless and liberating experience.”

The team aims to constantly change their look to bring audiences visual excitement. Photo supplied by Gary Lee.The team aims to constantly change their look to bring audiences visual excitement. Photo supplied by Gary Lee.

Most members of PoisE’n are university students who juggle work, study and rehearsal hours. Despite the small amount of time the crew has to spend together, they have bonded through their mutual passion.

“Everyone is very cooperative so it never felt like a hard time,” says Rohit Dudeja, another crew member.

“It’s all about having fun together. We are like a family now.”

The crew demonstrated a flair for Bollywood moves and styles when they were flown out to Hobart in December for the annual conference of ISANA, Australia’s international education professionals association. They also put on a dance workshop that attracted a crowd of keen Bollypop learners.

The benefits of the dance style extend beyond mere fun, says crew member Catherine Goh.

“PoisE’n Bollypop is a fantastic workout. It involves a high level of energy, sweat and cheesiness – at no apologies,” she jokes.

“We express ourselves freely; we dance to the words and moods of Bollywood songs, and that is when creativity has no limit to it.”

It may be too soon to predict the level of their success, but the fire within PoisE’s Bollypop is definitely burning with great force. With impressive local and interstate performances under their belt, the dance team is looking to build on their momentum, gather more dancers and continue engaging in the local community.

PoisE’n Bollypop is now recruiting new members. For more information, email