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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

South Asian culture showcased this weekend

UC Davis’ South Asian Student Organization will be performing “Khayaal” as their 15th annual cultural show. The various cultures and dance forms of South Asia will be celebrated at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

SASO’s stated mission is to “promote South Asian cultural awareness and unity in an effort to bridge the gap between the South Asian countries,” which is something the performance intends to do.

Tanya Shah, president of SASO, explained the scheduled acts.

“There will be a range of classical and modern music and dance, there’s an instrumental act, there are singers and there are all kinds of regional folk dances. We have a very diverse show this year,” she said.

Swati Agarwal, vice president of SASO, remarked on how proud she was of the leadership.

“The great thing about it [the show] is that it’s all student-run. It’s students spreading their culture to other students and letting them know their heritage.”

The variety of performances includes two Hindi film dances; a South Indian film dance; a Pakistani dance; Bhangra, a Punjabi folk dance; Bharatnatyam and Kathak, two classical Indian dances; Garba Raas, a folk dance native to the Indian state of Gujarat; and vocal acts featuring Bollywood songs.

Agarwal noted how well the organization was able to represent India.

“Each different state in India has its own culture, their own dance and art form, and we portray their different styles.”

Also on display will be an intersection of western and classical Indian instruments, and a fashion show exhibiting both Indian designs along with some by South Asian designers from the Bay Area.

Shah said the organization has three main goals, all of which are tied to this event.

One is to create a network for South Asian students on campus, and the show provides an opportunity for many different people with different interests to meet.

The second is to make SASO’s presence known, Shah said.

“We want our family and friends to come, but we always work to publicize the show, especially to people who are not South Asian because we want the community to explore our culture.”

Their third goal is to advance their philanthropy, and this year SASO has partnered with Rotary International and will be donating proceeds from Khayaal to provide clean water to several villages in India.

Unlike South Asian organizations at other UC schools, the show is open to anyone who wants to perform, Shah said.

“Other places have an audition or selection process, but we wanted it to be so that anyone who wanted to perform got the chance to,” she said. “They don’t even have to be South Asian, or have any kind of experience, they only need to be willing to make the commitment.”

Agarwal added that the commitment to the show is not a small one.

“We’ve been working on this since December and it’s taken a full five months to put this together,” she said.

Tickets can be purchased at the Mondavi Center during their normal business hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 6 p.m. on weekends. General admission is $18, student tickets are $15, $12 for children under 12 years and tickets at the door are $20.


MIKE DORSEY can be reached at campus@californiaaggie.com.XXX


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