Brilliant colors, beaming smiles and sexy moves filled Strong Auditorium?s stage at Mela last Saturday, while extreme enthusiasm filled the seats.

?I thought it was superb,? freshman Nithin Raikar said. ?Everything was entertaining.?

Mela is a cultural celebration put on annually by the Association for the Development of Interest in the Indian Subcontinent. This year there were over a hundred performers.

?It was nice that other people joined in, that it wasn?t just Indians,? freshman Samit Shah said. ?It was a great range of performances ? it was full of energy and very colorful.?

Opening curtains

The first dance, ?Aashiq,? was a wonderful beginning to the program. It started with a beautiful scene of dancing and bright colors, and then quickly changed into a sexy rhythm. The women moved gracefully and sensually. This dance ended in an exciting tempo, leaving the crowd ready for more.

As the curtain opened on ?Ghazal,? sophomore Kavita Sharma looked like an elegant Indian princess. Although the unfamiliar sounds of her voice at first seemed strange to me, I was soon entranced. Her voice fluctuated in mellow tones while the notes came out slowly and beautifully.

?Rangeela,? the fashion show, was an insane optical experience. Women walked and danced in gorgeous attire, bringing solid colors and a shiny glow to the eyes of all spectators. Their jewelry sparkled as the men walked past in plain colors, contrasting the eccentric prettiness of the female styles.

?Tabla Jugalbandi? consisted of two drummers, sophomore Neil Dani and senior Anoop Sahota. These guys were talented. They began by going back and forth, one trying to imitate the other. Then they drummed together in a vigorous tempo ? in perfect unison.

In ?Nimbooda,? the women wore beautiful dresses in many different colors. They represented a rainbow both in looks and spirit. The upbeat music accompanied the dancers excellently.

The short pre-taped skit on ?How to be a Desi Player? was hysterical. Freshman Rajen Subramanian played the part of a pathetically misguided girl-chaser extremely well, and brought laughter to everyone in the crowd.

Black outfits with glittery wraps came with the next performance, ?Dus Mutiyare.? The women moved vigorously and exotically ? when the men joined them they added a strong masculinity, and the dance was perfected.

After the intermission, the girls looked cute in khaki pants with black shirts in ?Taal,? while the men looked very sexy all in black. At the end of this dance, three of the girls were lofted onto the guys? shoulders, while the audience bursted into wild screams.

?Raag Basant? is a spring welcoming. Three performers played the harmonium, tabla and tanpura, as a depressing but sincerely spiritual sound came from their harmony. The audience was left in a trance.

Sophomore Kavita Kadiwar and freshman Sheila Vakharia moved with a smooth easiness as they lead the other performers in ?Immortal Dandia.? All the women and men used sticks to create an interesting picture as well as a rhythmic sound.

Junior Sanjukta Sanyal performed ?Yeh hai Reshmi Zulfo? nicely. Her voice seemed to have trouble changing pitches, but once each new tone was achieved she sang smoothly. She sang very high pitches with strength.

The last dance

?That last dance was intense,? sophomore Paul Park said. ?Atom [Stanislaus, sophomore] and Reeshi [Ray, sophomore] were the best out of all the dancers. They danced with the most passion.?

In ?Power of Bhangra,? the dancers celebrated life, good times and the harvest.

This dance was, without a doubt, the best of all the performances. It contained more energy than I have ever seen on one stage. The men were extremely enthusiastic ? so much so that when two of them hit their sticks together, one broke in half and flew into the crowd.

The mistake added to the show rather than subtracted from it ? the vitality and strength of the dance were proven by this unintentional occurrence.

?It was fantastic,? junior Jasmine Ellison said. ?It was very professional, very high quality, and you can see that they put a lot of time and effort into it. They shined.?

Mela was an aesthetic masterpiece that brought extreme amounts of energy and beauty to all who laid eyes upon it.



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