The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Mazaa brings Bollywood to Milwaukee

Marquette students with an interest in Indian traditions have the opportunity to express their personalities and culture through dance, thanks to Marquette’s first Bollywood Dance Team.

Photo by J. Matthew Serafin /
Photo by J. Matthew Serafin / [email protected]

This creative expression was unavailable to students until last semester when Jake Philip, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences, took initiative to remedy this situation and formed Marquette Mazaa. Using routines similar to those found in Indian cinema, it allows students to show their appreciation for Indian culture through dance and promote diversity on campus. The group will have its first performance Saturday at the Indian Student Association’s annual culture show.

Philip instantly gained the support of numerous students when he went through the process of starting the team. Once MUSG and the Indian Student Association approved the new organization, he spread the word about clinics and try-outs through general meetings and a Facebook page. From the try-outs, he selected 17 people for the team and began to work on their first performance. One of the dancers selected is Danny Kaniyaly, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, who auditioned to help his friend and share his passion with the Marquette community.

“I have been dancing since I was able to walk,” Kaniyaly said. “I knew Jake before coming here and gave him the support he needed. Dance is a great way to show people the culture and heritage through what we love to do.”

“Mazaa” means fun or playful in Hindi, and it appropriately depicts the approach the team is taking for its first performance.

“I hate how cheesy it sounds, but this group is the difference I wanted to see from Marquette,” Philip said. “It is unlike anything Marquette has ever had.”

Their performance in the upcoming ISA show consists of an eight-minute routine complete with costume changes and  Bollywood dialogue.

“Bollywood storylines are a rollercoaster ride of emotions,” dance captain Rushi Shah, junior in the College of Business Administration said, “but everything always falls into place at the end.”

Team members describe the upcoming performance as vibrant and dramatic. It focuses on an unfolding love story between Philip and fellow dance captain, Meera Patel. All of the dancers contribute to the storyline through numerous styles including hip-hop, pop and modernized Indian dancing. They spend several hours rehearsing so every dance move is perfect and all actions are overdone to add to the intensity.

“No training is required,” Philip said. “All you need is rhythm and energy.”

The costumes in the show enhance the performance. The performers have multiple costume changes throughout the routine, taking about 30 seconds between dances. The group made all the costumes by taking basic clothes from department stores and spicing them up. Costume chairs were even appointed to control the elaborate process.

“Students can expect to be left in awe after the performance,” Singh said, “and be proud that Marquette has their very own Bollywood dance team.”

The team hopes to start competing around the country next year, even performing at other universities like the University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Bollywood dance competitions are extremely intense, and I want to get Marquette’s name out there,” Philip said.

Team members agree there is a huge satisfaction that comes along with all their hard work.

“I love all the feedback,” Patel said. “There is so much hype to look forward to after each performance.”

Between group dinners and rehearsals, the dancers spent the past few months together and, in the process, formed strong bonds of friendship.

“It is not easy being a minority on this campus,” Philip said. “The team provides a place for possible incoming freshman to fit in right away.”

After Saturday’s performance, students can look forward to seeing the team perform at the Hype hip hop show and the Bayanihan Student Organization cultural show.

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    sam stoneFeb 27, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Great article and is very interesting to read about the diversity at MU!