Fifteen minutes before the start of Michigan Sahana’s fall semester show, LSA senior Hamsini Rao, president of the organization, stood in front of a group of 30 students and Sahana members to deliver one of her final pre-performance speeches.
“This is my last fall show, so I’m a little sad,” she said. “But when the whole auditorium is giving you a standing ovation, you’ll feel so good about yourself and you’ll feel like this is what Sahana is about.”
Friday’s show was called “Tulana,” a word that means contrast and appeared as a recurring theme in all the performances. The group performs three times each year.
Engineering senior Sandeep Siva, vice president of Sahana, said the goal of this year’s concert was to educate attendees about various aspects of Indian classical arts. The group’s fall concert is the academic year’s introductory concert, which is why it is themed, unlike the winter and spring concerts.
“What we’re trying to do with this concert is show different elements in Indian classical music and dance and how all of these elements have different sides to them,” Siva said. “By putting them together, you create something equal and elegant.”
LSA senior Esha Biswas said the fall concert perfectly portrayed the meaning of tulana, because there are many performers from different musical and dance backgrounds.
Biswas was a Kathak performer — which is a north-Indian classical style of dance. Biswas, who danced with two other girls, was part of the only Kathak group in the show. She has been dancing since she was seven years old and has been practicing the style of dance since she was 10.
Biswas said coming to the University and finding a group like Sahana has helped her continue keeping in touch with the art form and connecting with others who are passionate about it.
The dance her group performed is a Hindu prayer about the two reincarnations of Lord Vishnu, a Hindu deity.
“It’s important because so much of our dance is focused around Hinduism and there’s a lot of duality in Hinduism in the form of reincarnations of gods, which is what our dance is going to be showing,” she said. “Just in general, I think it’s just a really good theme because there’s so many different ways to explore it.”
Biswas has been part of every Sahana show since her freshman year but, like Rao, she said her final fall show was a bittersweet experience.
“I’m trying not to think too much about it,” she said. “When the board members were giving us a pep talk I realized I was getting emotional about it already, because it’s been so amazing just performing at every single show.”
Farmington residents Kiki Bayen and Carolyn Chow, who attended the performance, said they found the Sahana performance both educational and eye opening.
“It’s been a while since I’ve heard that much classical music in such a short amount of time,” Bayen said. “It’s really nice to be able to fully appreciate it as we’re older now and put it all of it into perspective.”
Chow said she had never seen or listened to live Indian classical music before watching Tulana.
“I thought it was really wonderful … and it was really amazing to see that this is an age-old tradition that’s still passed down,” Chow said. “I’m really glad I saw it because I had an enriching experience viewing another culture.”