The night was filled with high energy and cheers erupting from the balcony of Blackman Auditorium as 15 dance groups performed at the annual Dance 4 Me competition Sunday to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Proceeds from the show went to Americares, an organization that helps those affected by poverty and disaster by providing health-focused relief. Second-year finance major Sameer Sheik and third-year communication studies major Amber Delotsang hosted Sunday’s event. Sheik, who is also the treasurer for [NU] UTSAV, a word meaning ‘festival’ in Sanskrit, is a South-Asian student organization on campus. NU UTSAV alongside RSA, VSA, Barkada, ASU, NASO, KPL, and PDPsi succeeded at bringing various organizations together for the event.
“Northeastern has a variety of cultural groups on campus. There is a great sense of diversity, Narciso said. “You don’t need to be a part of any particular culture to be a part of a group. [This event] is a great way to showcase what students are doing creatively.”
A fusion between the “Cha-Cha Slide” and “Jump on It” blared on the speakers as Northeastern’s Filipino/Filipino-American group, Barkada, took the stage. Coconut shell halves covered some of the dancers’ torsos and thighs as the group performed an indigenous dance called Maglalatik. The performance, which combined modern music with Filipino culture, won the Crowd Favorite award.
The New England Bhangra Club, founded in January 2013, is the only competitive and co-ed team that represents the Boston area. A co-captain of the club, Riya Malrani, shared the same thoughts about community at the event. “People were cheering so loud. The groups were so happy for everyone else on stage. It was good to see a community bond where everyone was cheering for each other,” said Malrani, a fourth-year health science major. “They were not worried about their own performance, and it was good to see everyone appreciate each other. There was no negative vibe.”
The Bhangra Club used saaps, accordian-looking props and khundas, hooked sticks, during their performance to showcase the history of the dance, which is historically performed by men. Their fluid movements and vibrant outfits which they designed themselves, gave audience members a taste of what Bhangra dancing entails.
Their culturally-driven performance earned the group the Best Competing Team award. The event allowed Malrani and her team to showcase their cultural pride.
“Dance, for our team personally, is a way to express our culture. Living here, you may not be exposed to much Indian stuff. However, it is a really cool thing to see the exposure [during the event],” Malrani said. “Dance is a form of art, a form of expressing yourself. Other people can do it by plays and art shows, so it was really cool to see other people’s cultures through dance.”