Show promotes Indian culture

Lauren Giudice

A student organization gave the UT community a glimpse into Indian culture at “Jhalak,” an educational and entertaining event about India’s history.

The show featured eight dance performances and four singers at the talent competition, which included teams from Rice University and Texas A&M University. To fund Friday’s event in the Hogg Memorial Auditorium, the Indian Cultural Association raised about $15,000. The association paid for the housing and transportation costs of out-of-town team.

“It was a tough thing planning out and we had to fundraise a lot so we could make this free for the UT community,” said petroleum engineering sophomore Nabeel Abid. “I think it’s worth it to see the smile on everyone’s faces. All of the performances went very smoothly.”

Abid, who is on the group’s executive board, said the event planners wanted to reach out to all audience members by including traditional dances from across India.

“We wanted to showcase to them all the dances that India has to offer, not just one kind,” he said. “We wanted to fuse the West and the East together.”

The event’s theme, “India Today,” highlighted contemporary life in India, including education, military and business issues.

“I think the videos got a really positive response,” Abid said. “Overall, I think it was a very successful event.”

Two UT dance teams, the Mohini Dance Team and Texas Raas, tied for first place in the dance category. The Mohini Dance Team combined classical, Bollywood, jazz and hip-hop choreography into their routine, while Texas Raas chose a more traditional dance style. Biology freshman Arjun Adapalli bested three other competitors in the singing category to win $650.

Biology sophomore Sabeena Shaikh, a member of the Mohini Dance Team, said her team’s long practice hours helped the group tie for first place.

“Winning is a thrill, it’s a rush,” Shaikh said. “But after all of our hard work, it feels amazing. We practiced three hours every day for the past two weeks, but it was totally worth it.”

The dancing teams’ precision impressed biochemistry freshman Vivek Sreeram.

“I thought it was a brilliant performance,” Vivek said. “Everyone was so in sync. It was very professionally done. My favorite team was Wreckin’ Raas, even though they are from A&M. They were amazing.”