Friends of India Dances On

A bunch of college students getting down to some Bollywood fusion  music is a rare sight. Recently here at Hendrix it has become a bit more common as Friends of India gears up for their part of the Multicultural Dance Showcase.

The Dance Showcase was begun by another cultural club last year, Students for Black Culture. Friends of India joined the event in order to share Bollywood dance.

“My freshman year, I remember a group of my friends and I decided to choreograph a dance for Bollywood Night,” said Senior Dimple Shah, “and ever since I have really enjoyed being a member and later being an executive member by planning different events.”

Shah’s passion for her culture comes out in her choreography.

“ I have been very fortunate to choreograph all four years and have absolutely loved having that experience,” Shah said. “It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to meet so many people all at once. I’ve met some of my closest friends through choreographing.”

Friends of India does far more than just participate in the dance showcase. They offer community meals, meet regularly to discuss Indian culture, and put on the Holi Festival. All these events can be linked back to Senior Pratheepa Ravikumar, who restarted the club her sophomore year.

“I helped restart Friends of India my sophomore year as a way to help share and bring awareness to the Indian culture, tradition, and wide array of practices,” Ravikumar said. “I wanted to help create an environment that would allow students of Indian backgrounds to be able to embrace their culture and for other students to be able to learn and experience parts of that culture.”

Working with the club has become a big responsibility for its executives. Both Shah and Ravikumar have had enough on their plates working to graduate. Balancing all that work has been difficult, but Ravikumar finds a way to manage.

“I’m able to just plan my time accordingly and organize well enough to be able to juggle Friends of India and other commitments,” Ravikumar said. “It hasn’t been much of an issue, but I couldn’t have done it without the help of my executive team and other members and friends who have stepped up to help many times over the course of the years.”

As Ravikumar and Shah graduate, the responsibility to keep the club going falls to the younger Indian students here.

“I’m honored to be a part of FOI,: Freshman student Monish Shukla said. “I can’t wait to start planning events and helping cook meals that I love.”

He and fellow freshman David Addepalli are choreographing one of four dances FOI will be putting on at the showcase.

“I’ve never choreographed a thing in my life, and do not have much confidence in my own ability, but it’s fun regardless,” Addepalli said. “Bollywood music is worth it.”

The Showcase should be a colorful and vibrant display this year, and Shah hopes to continue that legacy this year.

“I hope students enjoy and see the hard work all the choreographers and participants have put into their dances to make this a great showcase,” Shah said.

Photo Credit: Aditya Katke

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