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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 28, 2024

‘Empowering’ the South Asian community at Tufts through dance, music and culture: TASA’s Culture Show

The annual “C-Show” featured competitive dance teams and novice dance teams on Saturday.

TASA Culture Show.jpg

TASA Culture Show is pictured on March 2.

The Tufts Association of South Asians hosted its annual Culture Show in the Cohen Auditorium this past Saturday. The lively “C-Show” set was made up of 15 acts including four South Asian dance teams, four class dances, three solo acts, a guest performance and a comedy skit intertwined.

The C-Show is the culmination of months of student planning, choreographing and rehearsing. Junior Anoushka Madan, one of the co-presidents of TASA, shared her experience managing the 18-person e-board. According to Madan and junior Ishika Gupta, TASA’s other co-president, preparation for the show began last semester.

We have so much collective leadership where everyone is doing their role and doing their part,” Madan said. “So we really have split and divided everything as best we can, so that everyone has a big role in making it happen.”

The C-Show centers around the four main South Asian dance teams at Tufts: Pulse, JumboRaas, Tamasha and Bhangra. Despite differences, the dance teams cheer each other on from the wings of the stage and the audience. Madan described the TASA community as “very enthusiastic, close and vibrant,” in a way that reflects the greater South Asian culture.

Throughout the night, around 100 first-year, sophomore, junior and senior students took to the stage as part of class-specific dances. Madan said that dance is “a very much informal thing” in South Asian culture, and that the class dances are a great way for students with little formal dance experience to get involved in the C-Show. In total, around 140 students performed.

Riya Lahiri, co-captain of Tufts Bhangra, spoke on the folk dance that originates in the Indian state of Punjab. Tufts Bhangra competes in about five traditional competitions a year but incorporated a few Western songs in their C-Show performance to modernize their dance. In addition to the competitive set they perform, the team organizes open bhangra for new members of their team to recruit any other students who want to participate in the C-Show.

“I think I would describe our team as one big family that loves to dance and we really just want to share that with the Tufts community,” Lahiri said.

In addition to the four South Asian dance teams, Black-Out, Tufts’ all-male step team, was invited back for a guest performance. Madan shared the hopes that C-Show can be enjoyed by all Tufts students, not just South Asians, and incorporating Black-Out was one way to do that.

Between dances, the audience was met with comedy sketches performed by student emcees. This year, the theme was “Modern Desi Family,” based on the popular American sitcom that follows a 21st century blended family. Previous C-Show themes include “Nightmare on Desi Street” and “South Asian Night Live.”

“We wanted to be tied in with American pop culture so that the reference could be understood by the whole community,” Maheen Ali, a sophomore emcee, said. “We chose Modern Family because we wanted to be a very realistic, chaotic, big Desi family and [show] the kind of struggles and jokes that we make as a community.”

In addition to being an emcee, Ali also performed in the sophomore class dance.

“Being a student dancer, it was a little hard because most of the class dances are so big and not everyone is available at the same time,” Ali said. “Some people would miss the entirety of practice before the showcase but … most people got it down, and if they didn’t, it's okay because we all have a smile on our face.”

Each year, TASA partners with different South Asian clubs on campus to use the platform of C-Show for a political cause. This year, the South Asian Political Action Committee raised money for Migrant Workers Solidarity in India, with C-Show also displaying flyers for the Sudanese genocide relief.

“I think the whole point that C-Show was started for was that we raise money during the interval,” Madan said. “[We] make sure that we are putting on a big performance and we have a big platform where we’re talking about culture, and it’s a good opportunity for us to talk about a cause that’s really important in South Asia.”  

To Lahiri, the C-Show is more than just a performance.

“I would describe C-Show as definitely one of my favorite weekends of the whole year,” Lahiri said. “I think it’s super empowering and just really fun to be able to come together with the whole South Asian community and to celebrate this vibrant culture that we all have.”