By Ruhi Gandhi
College campuses are full of clubs and activities that help students uncover culture and experiences. This is a trend at all universities, where students are always encouraged to join clubs, even start them. That is exactly what Sharon Sextus, a senior marketing major, decided to do. Sextus has a passion for Bollywood dancing, and her passion led her to start a Bollywood Dance Club.
“When I was looking for universities, dance clubs, especially Bollywood dance clubs, were definitely on my check list,” Sextus said. “When I found LIU-Post I instantly fell in love with the campus but the lack of a Bollywood dance club did not go unnoticed.”
Sextus and her friend, Neha Narvekar, a senior speech pathology major, started out competing in talent shows on campus where they won first and second place. It proved that the students definitely had a good response to the dance, and form there, LIU Post NAACH began.
Sextus is the president of this new club; Narvekar is the vice president. Other board members are senior Sana Zahra as the Treasurer, and senior Ridda Zahra as the secretary. Sextus has trained for two years in Bharatanatyam, Bhangra and has taken several Bollywood classes. She also instructs private clients for special events.
Narvekar has trained in Kathak since the age of 8, alongside having participated in various dance competitions as a child. She also teaches her friends and family on occasions.
Meanwhile the Zhara sisters, “dance for fun”. They may not have training but they do have a passion, they say.
They are all excited about the new club and hope to find a non- profit organization to which all proceeds they collect over a period of time can be given. “We want to give people an understanding of the movements and what Bollywood dancing is all about initially, which is why we want to start off as a club rather than a team,” Narvekar said. “We want to spread the culture, and make it even more vast than it already is at the LIU Post campus.”
Sextus added, “We want to start off with simple things like Bhangra and a Hip-Hop/Bollywood fusion. This way the movements aren’t too drastically different for people who want to learn. Later, however, we would like to incorporate little bits of Kathak and Bharatanatyam, which are classical Indian dance forms.”
The meeting space is still undetermined. All the places are either full, or already rented out all over campus, and this has them a little worried. “The place we currently or potentially have has no mirrors! How do we dance without mirrors?” Sextus said.
The girls are, however, trying their best to make arrangements so that they can at least get the club up and running. The girls have opened up the sign-up sheets for anyone interested. About fifteen members are ready to give it a try, mirror or not.
“We are a little concerned with how many people will turn up at the club, and how fast it will grow,” Sextus said. “No one has tried a Bollywood dancing club on campus yet and the whole culture is so new and different, we feel like people might not even be willing to give it a proper try.”
She, and the other Board members, hope it is a success and aim to perform at the Pep Rally this year on campus. “We have a bunch of great ideas if this turns out to be a success! We are sure it will be and hopefully we can put together a fundraising event soon where we’d be able to invite dance teams from other campuses and have some sort of dance off,” Sextus said.
“So many other universities have legitimate Bollywood dance teams that compete against other colleges. It’s like a sport, and I really want LIU-Post to be a part of that community,” Sextus added. “We want everyone, not just Indians, to be a part of this dance community and reach out to people with similar interests. Plus, it would be so much fun!”
“As a student I feel like this would be a great experience, and I’d be willing to give it a try, provided that the people in charge or teaching know what they are doing and how to do it because that would take away from the fun of it,” said Maya Mariner, a sophomore majoring in psychology.
Narvekar and Sextus have already started on the choreography for the first meeting that they intend to have in the coming week.
LIU Post NAACH is on social media for those who want to stay updated with the activities. They are on Instagram @liupost_naach and are also on Facebook as LIU Post Naach. They have a signup form for anyone who is still interested in joining. Sextus is in high hopes that the club will form into a strong community that she can then create into a team.