Thirty minutes into Michigan Sahānā’s winter semester show, about 100 students and parents gathered at the Rogel Ballroom in the Michigan Union burst into applause after a Bharatanatyam performance presented by University of Michigan students. The show, held on Saturday night and called “Swaranjali: A Night of Indian Classical Music and Dance,” aimed to spread awareness and increase appreciation for the diverse Indian art forms on campus.
Information junior Spandan Rath, vice president of Sahānā, said the event was un-themed to give artists and dancers freedom in performing their crafts and to enable them to explore their creative depths through their performances.
“We just wanted to give the newcomers a chance to go crazy with their creativity and do whatever they want because sometimes themes can be limiting to dance styles,” Rath said. “We wanted them to expand their horizons and collaborate with each other and portray different experiences and different stories through their dances and music performances.”
Rath also commented on the increase in popularity of Sahānā events and said he hopes the organization continues to grow.
“We have almost doubled in size of active participants in the organization,” Rath said. “This exact concert in my freshman year, (the venue) was about half-filled and today people are standing in the back. So it’s good to see that we’re getting record high volume in both attendance as well as applications to perform. We hope that we can culminate all our potential and talent and keep bringing in more and more new talent.”
LSA freshman Saumya Amanchi said she has been learning Kuchipudi, one of the 11 major Indian classical dance forms, since she was 8 years old. She recently graduated after completing her Rangapravesam, the marker of the transition of an artist from a student to a dancer.
Amanchi said she thought the event gave college students an opportunity to explore their talents and share them with others.
“I’m so happy that there is a club on campus for me through which I can continue to practice and showcase my talent,” Amanchi said. “I’m so happy that I have this opportunity to dance. It was a wonderful experience for me.”
Business freshman Lahari Vavilala attended the event to see a friend of hers perform. She said she appreciated Sahānā’s initiative to promote awareness about Indian culture on campus.
“It was so cool to see what (the dancers) could do and the aspects of their personalities,” Vavilala said. “It was so great to see so many people be able to come out for a cultural event and see so many people out for cultural awareness.”
Daily staff reporter Navya Gupta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.