Let’s start off with this: I’m pretty sure our Indian Cultural Exchange (ICE) Club has too much money to spend. But, I’m not complaining.
So, the exhibition above is just a highlight of what happened last night at the Classic Center in Athens. Qurbani from Georgia Tech won the dance competition, and even though their number wasn’t the same as the one in the video, it matched pretty well.
I’m putting this under “Performances in Theatre” because, let’s be honest, it was a performance in theatre. I showed up expecting full emersion into the Indian culture: that kind of happened, except there was no food L. And the after party was an extra $15 (hell no).
Everybody in the audience showed up with all these Indian clothes, even the people who weren’t Indian, and it was like they all knew each other. You know that saying that all Indians know each other? Haha it’s true. Performers came down from backstage to say hi to their friends in the audience because everyone was there for each other and everyone hadn’t seen each other in a long time.
You see, apparently this was the biggest Indian event in the state, and I was lucky enough to pay only $15 to view the show. For the first time, India Night was turned into a dance competition where 5 judges watched the show and picked the top 3 teams for prize money. Emory, Georgia Tech, UGA, Georgia Regents University, Georgia State…they were all there. So imagine a full house and all these Indians coming together – and most of them haven’t seen each other since high school.
Luckily enough, I sat next to one of my Indian friends who could explain to me what was going on, which made the performance so much more exciting. I don’t think I’ve ever sat so long through a performance, considering that it was three and a half hours. The MC’s came out and I have a feeling that their jobs are pretty famous and the people are hand-picked annually. The MC’s weren’t just from Athens, but also from the other schools who came down! They performed in between the dances, enhancing your typical Indian stereotypes, like overbearing Indian mother and dance culture.
Even if they didn’t know how to dance. That was left up to the performers.
Now, the performers blew my mind away. Firstly, I had no idea how much Indians drank, and let me just tell you that they do so a lot more than you would expect: before the show, during the show, during intermission, after the show. It’s hilarious.
And, then, the dancers get on stage. Qurbani is apparently known to be one of the most famous Indian dance groups in Georgia just because they practice so much and they have a “looks” standard. You’ve got to be a certain height and you’ve got to be pretty attractive. You’ve also got to be pretty good at school since you practice so much, so it’s a pretty big deal to be in Qurbani. All the girls were screaming and I felt like all they wanted to do was do Qurbani.
Understandable. That was pretty wicked.
The other dance performers were really good, too, though. There are different styles of Indian dance which made the performances so much more interesting. Qurbani is an example of a fusion team, where they usually have to tell a story without (or little) props. Then, there’s bhangra, which is founded on a folk-style dance where it’s closer to classical Indian dance. Finally, there’s saras, which fascinated me the most. These kids are twirling sticks above their head while jumping up and down and dancing synchronously.
All the dances were enticing for people who weren’t even Indian: if you don’t know Indian music (which is okay, because it sounds hella cool), then they fuse the music with pop culture: Anaconda, Black Widow, Turn Down For What. It’s all there. If you watch the video closely, you see how fast these people are moving, literally jumping up and down and moving their arms so fast within less than a couple seconds. Not only that, but they’re all synchronous and even if they weren’t fusion, they somehow told a story.
At the end, they had this guy named Arjun from London, who just recently signed with an Indian record label. Apparently he’s famous. Apparently he’s hot. He kind of reminds me of how Justin Bieber started out on YouTube and then became famous from there. But, it’s sort of cool I got to see this guy perform for $15. And it was sort of cool for other people who LOVE him to see him for $15 too. Excitement!
I loved it so much. I will definitely be going back every year.