Once again, one of Rochester’s many multi-cultural groups has successfully pulled off a smashing show. The Association for the Development of Interest in The Indian subcontinent (ADITI) featured MELA 2007, a three hour collaboration of music and dance from various cultures of South Asian countries on Saturday, April 7.

The massive effort put forth an excellent concert full of color and vibrancy with a broad spectrum of cultural outfits along with hilarious skits intertwined in the show. The theme of the show was a Southeast Asian wedding, where a young white male, played by senior Ted Limpert, meets the in-laws of his Indian girlfriend, played by senior Maya Gurme.

The beginning of the show featured a dramatic dance of Divyah Nagendra, who started as a just a silhouette of a figure and transformed into a magnificent dancer who transfixed the audience for the rest of the show.

After this beautiful Indian classical dance, much else followed. There were songs from Bollywood, which is the Indian Hollywood, to Indian classical songs, to Kathire Koyal, a dance created from Southern Indian farmers. Groups included the Rochester Kids Bhangra Club, featuring children as young five years old, and the UR Bhangra Club.

Gorgeous costumes were exhibited throughout the event, with elegant displays of different Indian fabrics in sadaris and other clothing.

“The show was exquisite, and the costumes were absolutely beautiful – I loved every last bit of the show,” freshman Kayleigh Duda said.

The skits featured throughout the show were hilarious, as they lightly poked fun at many of the stereotypes of Indian culture, including a short film where the groom puts an Indian GPS system in his car fully equipped with an Indian voice that tries to bribe a cop out of a ticket for $50.

Other skits included a dinner at Outback Steakhouse (really in Wilson Commons) where the American family attempts to buy a steak dinner for the vegetarian Indian family. However, the cultural clashes and tensions eventually dissipated into a final, beautiful wedding.

Puja Sood, dance coordinator for the Bollywood and UR Bhangra dances, was excited for this year’s smooth outcome and success, considering it is their biggest show of the year. She loves the group because of its expansion into not only the UR community, but also its involvement with the Rochester community, many of whom came to the concert.

“The whole show covers all aspects of Southeast Asian music as well, from folk, to classical, to modern venues. It really provides a great chance for the students to show their love for different musical forms and dance,” Sood said.

All in all, the concert was a blast, and was well accompanied by a loud applause from the audience. A dinner followed the event with many tastes of Southeast Asian countries, guaranteeing the satisfaction of the cultural experience and effort put into MELA. Without a doubt, this concert proved a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see some of the great things that Rochester has to offer. Don’t forget to check out any upcoming events by ADITI!

Miller is a member of the class of 2010.

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