The Daily Illini

Indian Student Association to host Diwali Night talent competition

Ghungroo+Dance+Company+performs+in+Indian+Student+Association%E2%80%99s+India+Night+at+Foellinger+Auditorium+in+March+2013.+They+are+one+of+three+dance+groups+that+will+perform+at+Diwali+Night+at+Lincoln+Hall+Theater+on+Saturday.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Indian Student Association to host Diwali Night talent competition

Ghungroo Dance Company performs in Indian Student Association’s India Night at Foellinger Auditorium in March 2013. They are one of three dance groups that will perform at Diwali Night at Lincoln Hall Theater on Saturday.

Ghungroo Dance Company performs in Indian Student Association’s India Night at Foellinger Auditorium in March 2013. They are one of three dance groups that will perform at Diwali Night at Lincoln Hall Theater on Saturday.

Ghungroo Dance Company performs in Indian Student Association’s India Night at Foellinger Auditorium in March 2013. They are one of three dance groups that will perform at Diwali Night at Lincoln Hall Theater on Saturday.

Ghungroo Dance Company performs in Indian Student Association’s India Night at Foellinger Auditorium in March 2013. They are one of three dance groups that will perform at Diwali Night at Lincoln Hall Theater on Saturday.

By Saher Khan

The Indian Student Association will celebrate its biggest cultural event, Diwali Night, with a talent show competition at Lincoln Hall Theater on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The registered student organization ISA has celebrated Diwali in some form since the start of the organization. It was transformed from a performance and banquet to a talent competition four years ago to expand the celebration. The event’s purpose is to bring the student community together for a night of fun to celebrate Diwali, aka Divali or Deepavali, a five-day Hindu festival and unofficial holiday in India.

Hiteshree Patel, ISA’s internal vice president, production head of Diwali Night and junior in LAS, said each night of Diwali holds a different significance. The fourth day of Diwali, which took place Nov. 3, is called the festival of lights. 

“Symbolically, it celebrates the triumph of good over evil, of giving the light to others,” she said. “A common symbol is a lamp because it gives light to others and it’s a spiritual purpose that represents spreading the goodness and hope.” 

Chintan Patel, ISA president and senior in LAS, said ISA aims to promote cultural events like Diwali Night on campus and believes that promoting cultural diversity is important.

“You really don’t get that sense of culture anymore on campuses because no one really focuses on it,” he said. “You have that sense of culture at home because your parents instill those values into you. But when you come to campus, no one really has that over arching figure to kind of tell you, ‘Oh this is what we do and this is why.’ So this is our way of promoting learning about different cultures.” 

The show will have six different acts — three dance groups and three bands. All of these acts will do predominantly Indian song and dance routines, and three judges will come up with a winner. The judges usually include a faculty member and alumni that comes to campus for the event. ISA recently incorporated a People’s Choice element as well, where audience members get to vote for their favorite act at the end of the show.

Viraj Kamdar, senior in LAS, has performed at Diwali Night for the past three years with the Ghungroo Dance team, a fusion group that performs Bollywood, hip-hop and contemporary numbers. He plans to perform again this year in his last Diwali Night appearance. “The atmosphere at D Night is always great,” he said. “There is friendly competition among the acts and everyone is just celebrating and having a good time.” 

The process for picking acts was a long process, Kamdar said. The Diwali Night production team hosts auditions for non-competing dance teams, a cappella groups and whoever else is interested. The production team picks the best groups, and the groups then have two months to perfect their act for the show.  

Aside from the six acts, there will also be three different exhibition performances by the University’s Dance 2XS, the Special Ops and Chai-Town a cappella. 

Tickets for the show will be sold on their web site and on the Quad throughout the week for $10, and tickets will be sold at the door for $15. Free appetizers will be offered at the event as well.

“We’re definitely keeping the same celebratory atmosphere as in the past,” Hiteshree Patel said. “We want to have more people come out and celebrate with us to make it more cultural, make it more celebratory and make it a bigger and more fun event than it’s been in the past.” 

Saher can be reached at [email protected]

Leave a Comment