Michigan Sahānā hosted an energetic night of music and dance on Saturday with its annual “That Brown Show.” Approximately 500 hundred students, faculty and residents gathered at Hill Auditorium to watch Sahānā’s and five other dance groups’ student dancers and musicians blend classical and modern Indian dance and music.
Michigan Sahānā is a student group focused on the appreciation and performance of Indian classical music and dance. This year’s production of “That Brown Show” was the first “That Brown Show Championship” in which Sahānā opened the stage to performances from five other Indian dance groups including Michigan Izzat, Michigan Taal, Michigan Manzil, Michigan Bhangra Team, Wolveraas, Sahana Music, in addition to performances by Sahānā’s own dancers and musicians.
Sahānā Vice President Pranav Vijay, LSA junior, described how this event came to fruition.
“We do TBS every year, but this year we really wanted to do something special, something we had never done before,” Vijay said. “Around October/November, we had the idea for Championship, and, by luck, I guess, got probably the best team we could have asked for. Every single person was so qualified and all of us came together and put this show on and it was just a blast.”
According to Sahānā dancer Keshav Akella, Engineering freshman, this year’s “That Brown Show” served as a way for the various Indian dance groups on campus to express their love and passion for the art of Indian dance in its various styles.
“Sure, all of our dance clubs are different in what we do, because there’s classical, there’s Raas, there’s the hip-hop, Bollywood type dances,” Akella said. “But we’re kind of cut from the same cloth of Indian dance and the unity behind it.”
The night began with a performance by Sahānā’s musicians, using traditional Indian instruments and techniques. This performance was quickly followed by the dancers of the all-female Michigan Taal group, who fused classical and modern Indian dance, incorporating numerous other styles of modern dance as well.
Vijay explained the necessity of this fusion of classical and modern artforms.
“I think it’s really important to preserve our roots and culture and I think (That Brown Show) is something that combines modern elements of dance plus we’re still sticking to our roots,” Vijay said. “I think it combines that in an amazing way.”
Engineering sophomore James Pelkey said he came to the event after seeing the passion his friend, a dancer in the all-male Michigan Izzat troupe, had for dance. Pelkey echoed the ethos of the event when describing the importance of events like it.
“Dance is an exciting event in itself, and since it’s got that Indian cultural aspect related to it, it brings these students together,” Pelkey said. “Which makes it even more exciting.”