Indian dance club gives students chance to dance

Students learn an energetic dance at the Indian Dance Club workshop held at LAR Tuesday night. Alex Nowak

Students learn an energetic dance at the Indian Dance Club workshop held at LAR Tuesday night. Alex Nowak

By Tracy Douglas

With hip-hop dance clubs, belly dancing workshops and swing dance groups, it may seem like there’s a dance workshop for every night of the week. But the Indian Dance Club (IDC) offers more than just dance moves – it’s a chance to learn a long history of both dance and culture.

The IDC is a recently formed registered student organization that offers University students the opportunity to learn traditional Indian dance forms at no cost.

“We are promoting wider awareness of Indian dance forms,” said Aditya Gupta, IDC vice president and sophomore in engineering. “There are 27 states in India and each state has a regional dance.”

One of the main goals of IDC is to teach people the dances and provide the space and opportunity to continuously practice what they learn.

“Instead of waiting for a dance each semester, we want to have it once a month,” said Jayraj Panchal, IDC treasurer and senior in engineering.

The club sponsors free workshops for students to learn the steps of three Indian dances – raas (also known as dandiya), bhangra and garbha.

“We teach three of the most peppy ones,” Gupta said.

Raas is a dance performed in two lines with partners. Each person has two sticks and, as the dance moves on, they switch partners continually. Bhangra is performed as a freestyle dance in circles with a few basic steps, where as garbha is a four-step dance with everyone in a circle. Dandiya and garbha are performed with festival music and bhangra music uses popular Indian music, said Nikita Sanghrajka, IDC president and freshman in LAS.

“Each dance has a meaning and history behind it,” said Sanghrajka, freshman in LAS.

According to Indian legend, Lord Krishna created raas in the year 5000 B.C.

“A 100 years later, his great-great granddaughter started garbha as a dance for women,” Panchal said. “However, it is for both sexes now.”

At a workshop held on Tuesday, IDC members demonstrated the dances to the participants and then walked around to make sure they were following the steps correctly.

Kim Kentfield, sophomore in LAS, attended the workshop because she wanted to practice the steps she learned last year at a dance sponsored by the Indian Student Association (ISA).

“It’s really beautiful,” Kentfield said of the dancing. “This year my entire hall (Allen) is going to the ISA dance.”

Esther Ramos, senior in LAS, said she went to the workshop because her friend signed up for IDC on Quad day and recommended it.

“Last year, I just watched at the ISA dance,” Ramos said. “But this year, I want to dance.”

There will be a workshop in the Trelease Lounge of the Florida Residence Hall tonight from 7-9 p.m. and another one will be held on Saturday.