“Any Body Can Dance”: OC SASA takes the stage


Nikki Doiphode

BHARATANATYAM TAKES THE STAGE: Senior Ananya Badari and Woodbridge Junior Shrinidhi Sriram perform a Dhanashree Thilana.

Rhea Gupta, Viewpoint Editor

As the crowd made their way into the auditorium of Chinmaya Mission, a local temple in Tustin, anticipation and excitement for the long-awaited show echoed from its walls, with the muted tunes of Bollywood songs humming throughout the space. The backstage area was filled with over 250 students from all across Orange County, all of them rapidly rehearsing their school dances. OC’s South Asian Student Association held its annual culture show on April 23, showcasing talent from all across the country to celebrate South Asian culture.

The theme of this year’s culture show was “ABCD,” based on the Bollywood movie franchise “Any Body Can Dance.” Because dance is such a big aspect of the show, the theme pays homage to the industry that embodies how SASA is for anybody interested in learning and embracing South Asian culture. This year, the show was presented by the SASA organizations at each IUSD school and at schools outside the district including Beckman High School, Legacy Magnet Academy, Trabuco Hills High School and Troy High School.

“My favorite memory from the culture show this year was just seeing all the different schools coming together to celebrate one culture which showed that despite differences in the school we go to, the friends we have, something unites us together,” junior Jay Parikh said. “For example, after Northwood’s performance, the random people coming up to congratulate us felt really good and having that shared culture to celebrate made the event all the more memorable.”

The show opened with Namaste Northwood president senior Nikki Doiphode, University High School SASA president senior Shalika Suresh and Trabuco Hills SASA presidents, senior Vaishu Kagita and senior Arwin Chaudhary hyping up the crowd for the long-awaited show. Before the performances began, Doiphode and Suresh issued a warning for the parents in the crowd: “Don’t be alarmed if your child is dancing with someone of the opposite gender; I know Season 3 of ‘Indian Matchmaking’ just came out, but you all need to contain your inner Seema Aunty,” drawing contagious laughter from the crowd. 

“Being an emcee was a little bit daunting because I’m speaking to over 450 people, but despite the nervousness, I was still open to the idea,” Doiphode said. “My favorite part of the whole planning process was when we emcees were able to start writing our scripts, where we made sure to add in funny, desi jokes throughout the show, like the ‘Indian Matchmaking’ one I made.”

Performances ranged from each school’s big dance number, where club members from each school’s club performed to a medley of South Asian music, to Kollywood singing performances and a fashion show. One notable act was “Young SRK,”  a performance by students from a variety of schools, including Northwood, which combined Indian culture via songs in Tamil, Kannada and Hindi with modern English songs. The mixing of cultures was received well by the audience as it showcased how South Asian culture and American culture are able to easily blend together, much like the identity of South Asian American students participating in the event. 

Namaste Northwood documented emotions throughout the event via Instagram takeover by club members, juniors Jay Parikh and Tejas Bhardwaj. From videos backstage right before performing, to after the Northwood performance, celebrating the success of the show, the pair showcased the excitement of the event to the rest of the Northwood community.

“Now that the show is over, I feel so nostalgic but I could do it all over again,” vice president senior Ananya Badari said. “Somehow, I had the most energy at the end of the show because we had worked towards these performances, and despite the uncertainty with the show for logistical reasons, it was surreal for the event to happen. At the end of each dance I was a part of, it was one step closer to something we have worked for since December. ”

If you missed the opportunity to participate but are still interested in joining Namaste Northwood for next year’s show, the club will be hosting a bonfire along with the other OC SASA schools to celebrate the success of the show at the end of the year at Corona Del Mar from 5:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. on May 26.