If you scroll through Instagram on a regular basis, chances are you would have stumbled upon some video—particularly reels—shot at weddings. In fact, such videos often gain immense traction in a sea of video content available on this social networking site.
From slow-motion videos of the bride’s entry to snippets of the couple’s friends performing enthusiastically to Bollywood numbers at the sangeet ceremony—most people cannot help but share such videos with their friend circle, drawing inspiration for upcoming (friend’s, sibling’s or own) nuptials.
A wedding that recently garnered quite the attention on social media, owing to their quirky yet meticulously put-together dance performances, was of Gurugram-residents Kamna Arora and Utsav Malhotra. Co-founders of Malviya Nagar-based YellowStripe Dance Studio (YSDC), both Arora and Malhotra are wedding choreographers themselves. The videos of their functions shared by the duo on social media—from the proposal to the wedding—have garnered lakhs of views.
When the couple began their wedding preparations in January this year, dance performances were not on their priority list. From outfits to venue, and later the decor, the couple found themselves to be “extremely particular about what they wanted '”. “We wanted that when people come to the wedding, they know Utsav aur Kamna ki wedding hai (They're attending Utsav and Kamna’s wedding),” shares Malhotra.
However, given they have choreographed dance performances at many other weddings, those around them were waiting to be surprised. “Since we are choreographers, the expectations were really high,” laughs Arora. The practise sessions, the couple admits, started a week before the wedding, only after immense pressure from family and friends. Certain that they wanted to add a personal touch to each performance—they claim it is the USP of their Studio—the couple attempted something different for each function.
If you go through their respective Instagram accounts, you will witness an array of performances. While the proposal featured a flashmob by Malhotra and the couple’s friends, the cocktail party was choreographed keeping in mind the dress code—suits and saris.
The couple and their friends performed an entry dance on many Bollywood numbers such as Badtameez Dil, Dil Chori, etc. The boys—Malhotra and his friends—delivered a performance to Bon Jovi and Michael Jackson’s numbers. “Since we had choreographed so many weddings, we knew there had to be something different in ours,” comments Arora.
The mehendi ceremony, too, brought everyone together—friends, family, and their YSDC team—with a series of dance acts. In fact, a video of Arora dancing with her friend on the song Jugni has over a million views on Instagram.
On the D-Day, Arora’s entry to the venue was accompanied with a performance while four of her friends sang. “There is this video of Utsav sobbing when I entered. It was really sweet.” The Jai Mala ceremony, quite interestingly, happened in a ball pit. “We made a 10-minute sequence. It was a dance but also like an obstacle course for Utsav and he had to pass through to reach me for the Jai Mala,” Arora adds.
Recalling the three days of multiple dance routines, Arora concludes, “This [dance] is how we met, it is our career, our hobby, it brings our bread and butter right now, and it will be with us through the rest of our lives. It wasn’t as it is for everyone else, it was about being true to ourselves.”
Sway with me
Dance performances have only recently become an integral part of wedding functions. In fact, Arora recounts that when she had started freelancing as a wedding choreographer in 2016, it was all about “putting together a series of steps on five to six songs, to compile a piece of about two to three minutes”. Quite evidently, the status quo has evolved.
Commenting on the shift, Arora mentions that “expectations, especially after the lockdown, have boomed” when it comes to putting together a dance performance. “We see choreographers are booked before everything else. This shows that people are very interested in dancing, and choreography is a priority for everyone,” adds Utsav.
Both of them mention that social media also plays a pivotal role in creating an ecosystem wherein people want to experiment as much as they can all while opting for “personalised performances that are inspired from their own stories and journey” .