Bollywood reigns supreme
Indian Student Association wins International Fiesta
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 24, 2013 22:02
Cultures clashed as a room of raucous applause, name-calls and shout-outs rang inside an almost-packed out Mainstage Theater inside the Center For the Arts.
Last Friday, the Indian SA (ISA) took first place at a sold-out International Fiesta with its Bollywood-influenced wedding story. Latin American SA’s dance troupe, Alma Nanichi, and Filipino SA (FASA) rounded out second and third place at the show, which all featured this year’s “Love” theme.
The exciting yet fierce competition featured each traditional dance as well as breakbeat hip-hop fusion and panoramic renditions of favored national thematic movements.
Indian SA’s show-stopping depiction of love merged traditional elements of the theme with its vibrant music and culture. The performance began with three women, each representing a different facet of dance within the culture, reminiscing about their experiences with marriage at a traditional Indian wedding. ISA came out clad in bright colors and its blend of tradition, pop culture and Indian electronic fusion captivated the audience. The Bollywood theme fit well with its performance because of love’s prevalence in the film genre.
The applause following the performance was deafening.
According to ISA president Mira Pandya, the group began preparing for last Friday’s show in late November after its Muqabla show. It was after months of consideration, planning and practice ISA’s 39 dancers achieved victory.
“The win is attributed to the dedication of the team members. They really put all of their effort into preparing for the show,” Pandya said. “The long hours that everyone puts in as well as during the weekends definitely paid off.”
Latin American SA (LASA) told the fiery love story of a couple, accented by multiple other pairs around them throughout the performance. The music featured contemporary bachata, merengue, tango and salsa as the male protagonist fought to keep his love alive and avoided temptation. The bachata segment, which highlighted the couple’s love, proved to be the most sensual as the main couple intimately posed alone and inches away from each other before temptation reared its ugly head.
LASA president Ricardo Ventura considers this year’s Fiesta a success, especially after not placing in 2012. He hopes the accomplishment helps more students learn about Latin American culture.
“A lot of our dancers [come from non-Latin] ethnicities,” Ventura said. “To see them come in and learn to dance … and after a month or two, practice [and see] where they are and [see] how much they really love the culture was the icing on the cake.”
Last year’s winners, FASA, hit the stage with over 40 dancers strong for its tale of tragic love. Its piece was the Filipino version of “Stomp,” with spear tapping and high energy, ending on a clock tower note in the setting as the main actor and actress stepped into a picture frame for a last embrace as the curtain fell.
Japanese SA (JSA), the first group to perform, graced the Mainstage theatre with its depiction of love between the princess and the Samurai. The story behind JSA’s dance showed love and heartbreak in an imperial Japanese style, beginning with traditional costume, string and drum music and fan dancing. As the routine progressed, a fusion of Japanese electro-mash up played, as the Samurai and peasant characters fought for the hand of the princess.
Color, emotion and imagery characterized the Samurai as the ‘bad guy’ and as the peasant-protagonist was cut down, the curtain fell to shouts and jeers from the audience.
Malaysia SA’s colorful blend of cultural themes held a strong theatrical presence. The performance held three themes, each representing the various cultures in Malaysia – Chinese, Malay and Indian. The dance showed disrupted harmony in the country and ended in a battle scene where four statuesque Malaysia heroes defeated invaders, where they concluded with a victory shout that resonated through the CFA.
Saung Budaya, which stole the show last year, exhibited an absolutely incredible glassware and plate dance act, representing the Indonesian culture’s ability to control danger and overcome obstacles. Live music accompanied the professional New York City dance group, played on delicate glass percussion instruments with body clapping adding to the beat, all with bright blues oranges and reds in the mesmerizing musical act. The dancers handled delicate porcelain plates and bowls, aligning them into a circle, dancing on the plates.
Senior math major Nick Carey felt the use of the porcelain plates and bowls helped add suspense to the performance and walked away content from International Fiesta.
“I really thought a plate was going to break,” Carey said. “I feel like I got a decent amount of culture tonight.”
With this year’s fiesta at a close, it will be interesting to see what both the International Council will premiere as next year’s theme and what each SA club will do to top this year’s performances.