Pulse performs in nationwide Indian dance competition
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 02:03
Pulse, Tufts’ Indian classical dance team, wrapped up its season with a well-received performance at the University of Maryland (UMD)’s inaugural national intercollegiate competition for classical Indian dance, titled Mayuri, on Saturday.
Though Pulse was not awarded the first- or second-place prize, audience members gave the group much positive feedback, Pulse co-captain Avani Patel said.
“A lot of people in the audience didn’t necessarily have Indian classical dance training, and even those people were able to understand our piece from the beginning to the end,” Patel, a senior, said. “In the competition we weren’t allowed to use props, and the entire story has to be told with your body. Some audience members told us that [ours] was the only story they were able to understand.”
Pulse competed against seven groups from colleges nationwide, according to Patel.
Made up of eight students, Pulse combined classical Indian dance styles — Bharatnatyam and Odissi — with modern moves in this weekend’s performance, according to Pulse co-captain Shreya Ishita, a senior. The team recreated the biblical Adam and Eve story for its performance, she said.
“We wanted to bridge the gap between religions by using dance as the connecting thread,” Patel said.
Pulse qualified for the competition after sending in an audition tape and being selected by a committee of judges, according to Patel. Fifteen teams applied in total.
The team won first place and the Audience Choice Award at Johns Hopkins University’s Nritya Mala competition in November, Patel said. At previous shows, like Duke University’s Laasya classic Indian dance competition, judges have given Pulse more favorable remarks than those they received at the UMD competition, the co-captains said.
Pulse formed at Tufts two years ago in an effort to create a new campus outlet for Indian dance and mix traditional Indian dance with English music, according to Patel. In its foundation, the group performed for various dormitories’ hall snacks and at Hotung Café.
“The small amount of time we put into it was still so productive because I knew it was headed somewhere big,” Ishita said.
Patel said that though they initially fought resistance to form Pulse because the other South Asian dance groups at Tufts would have fewer trained dancers to choose from, the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate’s funding and logistical support helped the founding members create the club on campus.
“We’ve come a long way. We never got complacent, and that’s what I respect about our team,” Pulse team manager Neha Madhusoodanan, a junior, said. “We keep striving forward.”
Pulse has plans to perform for musician Adnan Sami, who specializes in Indian music, on March 31, Madhusoodanan said. They will also perform at other off-campus competitions, with Tufts troupes for on-campus shows and for Boston-area theaters.
“When our team graces the stage, we enter a pulse orb,” Patel said. “Once you’re in it, nothing exists outside that orb. That’s how we ignite the feeling that we’re creating the universe.”