Bollywood Dance Club Hosts First-Time Performance at Multicultural Night


Fisal Raza

BDC members Shanzé Raza, Vibha Ghadiyaram, Ankitha Rajesh, and Priya Bongu stunned the crowd at Multicultural Night with their dances.

On February 8th, the Bollywood Dance Club (BDC) performed four songs at the Multicultural Night hosted in the cafeteria.

BDC was started in the fall of the 2022-2023 school year by senior co-presidents Priya Bongu and Shanzé Raza.

“The reason why we both decided to do the club was mainly [because] we saw a lot of people of our culture,” Bongu said. “We just felt that we love to dance, we both love our culture, and that we would want to share it with more people.”

Bongu has participated in multiple forms of dancing including Bollywood, belly dancing, and Kathak, a form of Indian classical dancing.

Raza is just as passionate about the art.

“Ever since I started walking, the only thing you’d see doing me doing was dance to Bollywood music,” Raza said.

Before stepping on stage, the club’s dancers felt a mix of nervousness and excitement.

“Performing in front of a lot of people is something I get a lot of anxiety from,” said senior Ankitha Rajesh. “But it was really fun preparing for it—the dance practices we had before, learning the dances—I think all of that was really nice.”

Rajesh partakes in Bharatnatyam, another form of classical Indian dance, outside of school.

Bongu shared similar sentiments.

“I was more intimidated by the fact that I was performing, and as a new club it’s a lot of pressure because not everybody recognizes you yet,” she explained. “The fact that people mentioned that [Bollywood Dance Club] might be happening for a couple of years to go, [it felt like] we started something—that was the exciting part.”

Given less than two weeks’ notice before Multicultural Night, the club was able to put together all four performances within days. They started off by choosing the songs for the dances, which took some brainstorming as a group. After everyone agreed on the songs, Bongu and Raza organized the choreography on their own.

“We changed our songs a couple of times because we didn’t feel like they fit the proper music culture of India. Plus, we had basically four days to make that entire performance,” Bongu said. “Something that was really important was that [the dances] should look beautiful and elegant. Any upbeat song should look fun and entertaining.”

When the choreography was set, all members came together and crammed in as much practice as possible.

“The whole week [before] Multicultural Night, we stayed after school and practiced. We also practiced at my house, in the hallways—everywhere,” Raza recalled.

In the end, all the members were very pleased with how their performance turned out.

“I felt really proud and very emotional because dance is very special to me. When I do it with the people that I love, it’s much more special, so it was a beautiful experience,” Raza said.

Rajesh was in full agreement.

“Looking back, it was a great way for me to show my culture and some of the art forms that we have. Also, I just like having fun with my friends and spending time with them before I graduate,” she said.

Beyond showcasing a major aspect of Indian culture through performances, the club aims to establish a comfortable environment where members can share good times.

“We wanted it to be a time where we just enjoy our culture. I feel like in this school, with so much academic pressure, we tend to forget where we came from and who we are,” Bongu said.

“We’re not just not a transcript, not just grades,” she continued. We are students who have enriching cultures and experiences that differ from each other. Culture isn’t all about the country you were born in—it’s about learning: learning from the internet, learning from others, and learning from yourself.”