Rangeela Dance Company Brings Bollywood Fusion to Seattle – South Seattle Emerald

by Amanda Ong

Since 2016, Rangeela Dance Company has been the premier location for Bollywood fusion dance in Seattle. Rangeela, founded by Priyanka Jain Vora, teaches and offers Bollywood, BollyCardio, Bhangra, BollyHop, Urban Bollywood, Garba Funk, BollyContemp, and BollyClassical dance.

“I really wanted to create a platform for adult, post-collegiate dancers to come together and not necessarily compete, but create dance pieces together, create art together, share it with our community, teach dance workshops, teach our routines to adults and kids all over,” Vora said in an interview with the South Seattle Emerald, “And then also perform around the community to celebrate our culture. Ultimately, my goal is to preserve our Indian culture and pass that on to the next generations. I really think that doing that through dance and art is a very powerful way to deliver that message.”

Vora was studying physical therapy while teaching Bollywood cardio classes on the side and choreographing for events and weddings. “My personal goal was, after college, to keep dancing and figure out how to keep that in my life,” Vora said. “And then I realized that there must be other people like me, and that’s how I found my community in Seattle, other dancers who share that same passion. And then it just grew and grew and grew, and now we’re a pretty big organization.”

Since then, Rangeela has been featured in an exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry and performed at major corporate and nonprofit organization events, like Boeing, Microsoft, Zillow, Facebook, and API Chaya. Rangeela has also worked with and performed for the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Northwest Folklife Festival, where they performed this past Monday.

“Our most exciting corporate [event] was Boeing,” Vora said. “It was a grand opening for their new plane made by Boeing. And this is an Indian airline, so Boeing made that airline, that aircraft. And so we performed at the opening gala for that aircraft. It was pretty cool.”

Rangeela also has a thriving YouTube channel. During the pandemic, it began creating YouTube videos, like 15-minute Bollywood cardio and HIIT workouts, some of which have reached nearly a million views. Its connections on YouTube have also connected it with guest instructors from all over the world, including YouTube celebrity dancers as well as famous choreographers from Bollywood.

This is one of a series of articles sponsored by the Seattle Office of Economic Development in recognition of Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Amanda Ong (she/her) is a Chinese American writer from California. She is currently a master’s candidate at the University of Washington Museology program and graduated from Columbia University in 2020 with degrees in creative writing and ethnicity and race studies.

Featured Image: Rangeela Dance Company was founded in 2016 by Priyanka Jain Vora. (Photo: Amit Bhardawaj)

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