After more than nine months of planning and the combined efforts of about 300 students, the Indian American Student Association”s annual cultural show debuted Friday to an audience of 3,000.
The show at Hill Auditorium, titled “Ranga Shades of Brilliance,” featured dance segments from the different states of India and incorporated modern and traditional elements of expression. Skits addressed the interactions between Indian American students and their parents and the challenges associated with being part of two cultures.
Show co-coordinator Adil Daudi said the performance was designed to educate people about India and give them a chance to take away a better understanding of India and the issues faced by Indian Americans on campus.
He added that it is important to let parents know that their children haven”t lost their Indian values despite growing up in America.
“The balance is trying to find where that blend is so you can feel like you”re adhering to the culture and they feel comfortable with how they brought you up,” he said. “When you go home you don”t want to be a different person than you are at school.”
Co-coordinator Smita Kalokhe said another of the show”s important messages was to recognize India”s different cultures and the need for unity between students from those cultures. She also said it was a good way to encourage understanding and discourage prejudice.
“Looking back at September 11 and what”s going on in India, we want people to realize that just by increasing awareness of another culture we can avoid so much hatred, pain and sorrow,” she said. “I think people will be surprised by how much they relate to it everyone will be able to, even people who don”t know about Indian culture. It lets them identify with at least a piece of that.”
LSA senior Arti Desai, who has been involved with the IASA show for the past three years, said it”s a good way to portray the pride behind the cultural identity and not just the stereotypes associated with the Indian culture.
“It helps break down the ignorance. This, like every other cultural event, is a way to get rid of stereotypes. This show just goes a little deeper into the culture,” Desai said. “Traditionally people have the image of us as all being Engineering or pre-med or as the really good students but we”re not just all about that, we have an artistic side and our culture has an artistic side that people don”t see on a daily basis.”
Engineering sophomore Tiffany Torres said she heard about the event and decided she wanted to see what it was all about. “It was an awesome show,” she said. “I really liked the dances and getting to learn more about Indian culture.”
LSA sophomore Scott Valesquez said he was most impressed by the variety of the dances and their meanings.
“It”s real professional. I dance and I like to see how they mix in cultural dance with hip-hop to show the mix with American culture. I think it works really well and shows people a lot,” he said.