UConn takes on the Festival of Lights: ISA Diwali Culture Show

On Saturday, Nov. 11, UConn’s Indian Students Association (ISA) hosted a culture show that featured a variety of musical performances in honor of Diwali, an Indian holiday that celebrates the new year and the triumph of good over evil. The event was hosted at Rome Ballroom and was attended by UConn students, alumni, their friends and their families, bringing a large crowd that filled the room.

Given how many talented groups there are on campus, the number of people that come out to support them is not surprising. The show opened with a three part Sanskriti set, which focused on classical music and dance, followed by singing and dancing performances from cultural groups, friend groups and Bollywood fusion groups on campus. Each performance had its own twist on it to make it unique and characteristic of the group the performers represented. All performers put in lots of time and hard work into their performance.

“Husky Bhangra practiced 6 hours a week on average prior to the show,” said senior Meha Sadana, a member of the UConn competitive bhangra team. “We split up the dance based on new dancers and returning dancers to give our entire team a chance to perform in front of their friends and family and really showcase the new talent we have come in each year!”

Husky Bhangra’s high-energy performance ended the night. Prior to their performance, other UConn Indian dance teams, like Surya, Kathak and Thunderaas, had breathtaking performances that showcased some of the most talented dancers on campus.

Among the many dance performances of the night, vocal performances stood out wonderfully. In fact, the first performance of the event was classical Indian singing, the first part of the three part Sanskriti set. Other vocal performances were from friend groups and UConn’s Bollywood fusion a cappella group, Husky Hungama.

“We love the Diwali show because it’s such a huge opportunity to showcase who we are to a huge audience who would understand both our Bollywood and American pop sides,” said freshman Ajitha Chivukula, a member of Husky Hungama. “We really had to feel the meaning of what the song was trying to convey, so we really worked on facial expressions, dynamics and our overall stage presence.”

In order to host such a large, packed event, ISA starts preparing early on. ISA has to organize everything from decorations, catering, scheduling performances and writing scripts for the hosts.

“We [prepare for Diwali] a little in the summer to gather what we need to do and actually start logistics in September,” said sophomore Mansi Chapatwala, one of the ISA Undergraduate Representatives. “This year proved to be more successful than it was last year...I heard from other people that they really enjoyed the show and that the food was really good; the show, the setup and the decorations were definitely good.”

All of the work they put in paid off, for an event that brought a beautiful, colorful culture to the forefront of campus for a night.


Armana Islam is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at armana.islam@uconn.edu.