“More than anything, we wanted to show our parents that we truly do appreciate and acknowledge our Indian culture and traditions, and we will never forget what they have instilled in us,” said the Indian American Student Association’s cultural show co-coordinators Jill Chokshi, an LSA senior, and Anu Sheth, an LSA sophomore.
They also said the show was focused on traditional but creative dances that represented different regions of India.
“A more traditional show stresses the importance of our culture and how we maintain that culture thousands of miles away from where it originated,” Chokshi said.
The title of this year’s show, “Prathanjali,” a combination of two Hindi words meaning “Preserving the culture,” also reflected this vision.
“I thought this year’s show was a lot more traditional than last year,” LSA sophomore Smitha Vilasagar said, who was in a bamboo dance where participants dance in between bamboo sticks that are clapped together to the beat of the song. Although this type of dance originated in the Philippines, it is also found in the northeastern part of India.
Other acts included perennial favorites such as a fashion show that showcased outfits from many of the different regions of India and the “Smokin’ Raas,” a traditional dance that utilizes wooden sticks called dandia.
The show also had less standard acts such as the “Ghagra,” which means dress in Hindi, a gypsy dance that showcases girls in skirts with tambourines, and “Moksha,” an a capella act that sang primarily traditional Hindi music.
Although all of the dance titles were in Hindi, introductions to the dances were often done in English and the language of the region in India where the dance originated, such as Assamese, Bengali, Gujurati, Marvari, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, and Hindi, India’s national language.
The many different languages spoken and the variety of dances from different regions of India reflected the diversity of India, which encompasses a variety of cultures and languages.
The show’s focus on tradition, however, did not mean that there were no elements of modern culture.
“It still had lots of modern music,” Ruchi Shah said, who attends the International Academy in Bloomfield Hills. “I think every year they incorporate both traditional and modern aspects.”
Chokshi said there were around 300 participants in the show.
“It was our goal to make sure that the show internally was catered to our participants. We wanted people in the audience to acknowlede that this was the particpants’ show, all student-run,” she said.
Chokshi said because of renovations of Hill Auditorium, where the show is usually held, both the matinee and evening show had to be moved to the Michigan Theater. She said they usually sell out more seats at Hill; 4,000 seats compared to the 3,000 for the two shows combined at Michigan Theater, but that they enjoyed the closeness and comfort of the smaller Michigan Theater.
“Each show has a different personality to it,” Engineering sophomore Anar Shah said. Sheperformed in an act that featured dances to a compilation of Bollywood film music.
“There was so much work put into this that it paid off in the end,” she said.