It took weeks of aches and pains and tubes of Bengay for the Indian Students Association to win the tough dance competition at the March 3 International Fiesta 2018, held in the University at Buffalo, New York.
The event which is organized by the International Council, invites International clubs on campus to participate in a competition showing their culture, talent, and story through music and dance. The theme of this year’s competition was “Pride!” and the ISA decided to portray India’s culture by moving through the various regions in that country, Anmol Patel, vice president of the organization told Desi Talk.
The story behind the ISA’s portrayal went something like this, Patel, an Indian-American biomedical science major, explains — “Many Indian American kids are ashamed of their country but soon come to realize India’s rich history, heritage, and traditions while experiencing India’s diverse festivals through the year.
“We took the audience on a journey across the nation highlighting the north, south, east, and west of India,” Patel said responding to queries via email.
The group enjoyed the fun and the pain of putting their performance on stage. “Not only do we enjoy our fun, diverse festivities but we also take great pride in our culture and identity and value its importance,” Patel said.
The diversity was impressive – Classical dance was featured as Ganesh Chaturthi; Pongal represented South Indian dance forms; Garba and Raas represented Navaratri, Bollywood represented Diwali, Fusion represented Holi, “And overall, our great nation,” Patel enthused.
“When the whole team puts in their full commitment for the past month with body aches, foot wraps, going through countless tubes of Bengay, early morning weekend and late night weekday practices, and struggling with assignments and exams,” Patel said. It appears from her account that all that pressure and stress became just a memory when, “you hear your nation’s name at FIRST PLACE! It made everything worth it. I could not be more proud,” Patel added.
The ISA had been planning their story and performance for at least 3 months before it came to fruition on stage, Patel said.
“When Bobby Lundy showed off his intense acrobatics by flipping on stage Saturday night, the crowd went wild,” reported The Spectrum newspaper. “The dancers matched intense and intricate choreography with story-telling, rising above their competition,” the paper added.
The ISA competed against five other clubs on campus, including Malaysian, Latin American, which secured 2nd and 3rd place, and Bangladesh, Filipino American, Arab, and Balkan student associations.
“During a night of diverse performances, ISA told a story of cultural acceptance,” The Spectrum said. Patel told The Spectrum, she had a “personal connection to the performance and was proud to represent her heritage.”