Purdue’s Indian Dance Club started as a group of students who just wanted to have fun and will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.
The club includes people of all ethnicities who are interested in learning to dance in a relaxed setting. The team does not compete in area conventions – they usually only perform on campus to showcase a new dance. Furthermore, the club has never repeated choreography or music in its 10 years.
Pratik Deshmukh, president of the organization, said that the dancers enjoy the low-pressure atmosphere.
“We don’t usually go out of our way to compete in Indy or Chicago,” said Deshmukh. “There are some teams that require dancers to put in over 10 hours a week of practicing. Since we do so many styles, not everyone has practice every night. We try to help each other out with our schedules.”
Many members of the team were dancers in India and practiced as children in specialized schools. The dancers focus on Classical Indian styles, hip-hop, fusion and Bollywood, as well as Latin. After joining the club, Jyotsna Uttamchandani, a junior in the College of Technology, learned to love Bollywood dancing.
“I always wanted to do something related to dance in my life,” said Uttamchandani. “I have been dancing since I was only four years old and I used to dance in the company of the famous choreographer Shiamak Davar. Being in his troupe I did have the opportunity to perform at the Commonwealth games in Melbourne but couldn’t go for it due to exams.”
To celebrate the 10th anniversary, the club will perform in an inter-collegiate bhangra competition in coordination with the American Speech and Language Association. The dance club has invited various teams on campus such as Boiler Bhangra and Boiler Breakers to perform. All the funds collected will be going to the association.
For Uttamchandani, the club has been the best way to forget about the stress she has as a college student.
“I always finish my homework during the day so as to enjoy my dance breaks during the evenings,” said Uttamchandani. “As for during exam times, we don’t have practice so I put on a song and dance with my boyfriend to teach him some moves.”