At the 21st annual Culture Show, the South Asian Student Association (SASA) focused heavily on inclusion and Dostana (the Hindi word for friendship). In this day and age, it is easy to look at our differences, but instead, the audience was urged to turn to our similarities.
SASA represents five countries—India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The culture show started off with a performance of the Indian national anthem, sung by Simi Siddalingaiah, MCAS ’19, during which the audience was asked to stand to pay respect to one of the five countries represented by SASA. Much of the audience was composed of family members of performers (some of whom came from around the world to attend)— so this skillful performance resonated with many in attendance.
Next up was Masti, Boston College’s South Asian dance team. The team of dancers was both skilled and dynamic—it was obvious that each participant was experienced and extremely talented. Its performance blended traditional South Asian dance styles with modernized ones. Masti’s dance was energetic and vibrant, and was certainly an unforgettable experience for the audience.
After Masti, the culture show turned to a slightly more serious set. The classical dance has three categories: fast-paced, expressive, and team dance. Classical dance is widely known for using hand signals to illustrate a story through dance. Originally performed in temples to entertain the gods, classical dance was given a modern flare at the culture show. The group of five dancers provided an excellent execution of the number, and were clearly experienced in this style of performance.
To counteract the serious, traditional atmosphere of the classical dance, the freshman dance was lighthearted and funny. It was the first time onstage for most of those students, but their number was surprisingly held together well. Their performance was to a fusion of Bollywood and westernized music, which was upbeat and almost dizzying.
After a short interlude about types of friendship, SASA performed the popular Bhangra-style dance. A celebratory folk dance, Bhangra is well known for its fast-paced rhythm and energetic sound. The dancers were dressed in bright yellow and green, and the music and dancing was vibrant and fun.
Following another video about inclusion and friendship, SASA broke out into a dance battle between guys and girls. After well-choreographed sections between both groups, the girls took the prize as the audience erupted in cheers and applause after their set, which mixed Bollywood, classical, and hip-hop styles of dance.
The fashion show was next up after the intermission. Members of SASA walked the runway sporting modern South Asian attire. Soon after, freshman Sireesh Vinnakota, MCAS ’21, performed an individual performance that mixed South Asian styles with break dance. His energetic performance had much of the audience on the edge of their seats, as an unexpected move was always around the corner.
The second-to-last dance was in the Garba style, which utilizes sticks to create an interesting rhythm during a traditional form of dance. The large group of dancers dazzled in vibrant colors while performing the perfectly synchronized set.
At the end of the show, Pranav Parikh, MCAS ’20, presented a charity video about the Smile Foundation. All the proceeds from the SASA Culture Show go to this organization, which benefits over 600,000 children in India. Smile Foundation provides welfare, education, and healthcare in nearly 1,000 villages in India.
The show closed with the senior dance, which was exciting yet emotional for the performers, as many of them had performed with SASA since their freshman year. The celebration of Dostana was especially evident among the graduating class—the bonds formed over the past few years were clear, even to the audience. The senior dance was the perfect way to close out the show. Its colorful and contagious energy was invigorating, and the emotional aspect was reflective of the overall theme of the show.
Featured Image by Sanket Bhagat / Heights Staff