Hooray for Bollywood
Published: Monday, February 7, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Brightly colored and highly spirited, the South Asian Student Association of Boston College (SASA) presented their 14th annual culture show Dholi Taro Saturday night. SASA organized the production and brought together the efforts of several on-campus groups, including Shaan, the South Asian a capella group, Masti, the official dance troupe of SASA, and dance representatives of every class, to celebrate the culture of South Asia.
In a production containing a sonorous a capella performance and a presentation of beautiful, South Asian-inspired fashions, the dance performances earned a heft of the performance time. South Asian dance has evolved from the time of more traditional dances, such as the Kathak, to more modern and stylized dances, such as those popularized by Bollywood films. The SASA Culture Show brought these twostyles and every one in between to life.
The competitive entry in AHANA Leadership Council's annual Showdown, Masti's performance was an expected highlight, and the troupe of 14 delivered in spades. With a special appearance by Sexual Chocolate, Masti took the dramatic, languid choreography of Kishan Bhakta, A&S '13, Ariel Durgana, LSOE '12, Shikha Sharma, CSOM '11, and Sonika Verma, CSOM '11, and performed each move with a sharp precision that kept a thrilling and energetic tension throughout the performance.
Similarly, the Garba-Raas dance offered a lively and riveting tension through the use of props. A dance associated with the festival of Navaratri, the dancers used dandiya, or sticks, to emphasize the rhythmic importance of the dance and offer a wonderfully crisp, quick pep to the performance. The beginning of the dance may have been the most playful moment of the night, though, as the dancers began in the dark with only multi-colored glow sticks signifying their place on stage. The neon collage of color was a mystifying sight.
Perhaps the best dance of the night though, was the Bhangra Dance, a dance that incorporates walking sticks, known as khunde, to imitate the motions of laborers. The orchestration included the dhol, a strong drum whose beat celebrates the joys of life, and by coupling the beat of the dhol with the powerful use of the khunde produced a wholly sensory experience that left Robsham Theater reverberating with power. The dance also happened to include the best partnerwork as choreographed by Umang Gupta, CSOM '13, Nida Javed, A&S '12, and Sarina Sadana, A&S '12. Each male-female pair stayed in time with one another and executed the moves with grace and strength.
The partner work in other dances was not as successful, as the show proved to be a moment for the women of SASA. A handful performed one of the most beautiful dances, the Kathak. Dressed in gorgeous blue saris, the woman moved effortlessly, forming intricate geometric shapes with their bodies and bringing a softness unique in comparison to the other dances. All the girls joined in for a fiery, wild Bollywood dance and brought spice and attitude.
The guys could not follow the women up with as much ease. In most of the partner dances, particularly the opening sophomore-junior dance, the men often scrambled to correct their off steps. The all guys dance, however, proved to be a success as the choreography by Bhakta and Gupta utilized the athleticism of its members. While surely goofy, the men were just charming enough to offer a highly enjoyable number.
With all the energized dance numbers, it would be easy to forget the other moments, but Shaan's excellent performance was certainly memorable. Anchored by the beatboxing of Sean Talia, A&S '12, the members of Shaan harmonized beautifully in a mesmerizing performance. A group that does not earn much ink, Shaan's voices are easily among the most beautiful in BC a capella.
The filler interstitials between each performance proved to be the only issue with the production. A love story between a BC college student (Courtney Dower, A&S '11) and the South Asian man who helped her fix her computer (Chirag Zaveri, CSOM '13) received mostly forced laughs. The uncomfortable length of the filler forced the participants to stretch their material. Dower and Zaveri were particularly good sports, though.
Overall, the production brought to life the beautiful culture of South Asia with stunning fashion and great energy.