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Andaaz celebrates culture and dedication to Bollywood Dance at ASU

ASU's Andaaz members bring together a passion for South Asian culture and a love for dance

Kanak Jha, broacast journalism senior, and Bhavna Ramesh, biomedical engineering sophomore, practice their Bollywood dance at the Sun Devil Fitness Center on Monday Oct. 24, 2016.
Kanak Jha, broacast journalism senior, and Bhavna Ramesh, biomedical engineering sophomore, practice their Bollywood dance at the Sun Devil Fitness Center on Monday Oct. 24, 2016.

Andaaz, a Hindi word that refers to one's "unique style" is also the name of an ASU club that unites dancers across campus to celebrate South Asian culture, dancing, creating strong family bonds.

Andaaz began in 2013 when two different student organizations, ASU AAG and ASU Aashiyana, joined together to create one big dance team. This year, Andaaz has become an official ASU sports club.

Since 2013, the group has performed at various ASU events and has competed at multiple national competitions, allowing the team to create long-lasting friendships and share their passion for culture and dance with the world.

Nikita Naik, journalism junior, has been a part of the team for three years and is now one of the three captains of the team.

“I really enjoy the family aspect of the team and the relationships I have built,” Naik said. “There is a safety net here and you can always count on everyone to have your back.”

The dance season started in August and goes until March. The team is currently gearing up for their first competition of the season, Jhalak, in Austin, Texas in November which will help them get one step closer to qualifying for nationals.

Naik noted that the team works to perfect one routine throughout the season, but may have to alter the choreography to fit the competition’s requirements.

Andaaz incorporates various types of dance including bhangra, hip-hop, lyrical, jazz and contemporary while infusing multiple costume changes into their routines.

Kanak Jha, journalism junior, is also one of the team’s captains and said her main goal for this season is to make it to nationals.

“This season we are off to a great start, and I am hopeful for the future,” Jha said. “I love seeing everyone come out and share their love and passion for dance. It’s something that a lot of us grew up with and something that some of us discovered while we were at school. It’s really neat to see everyone put their all into it.”

The team practices every day of the week at the SDFC, except for Fridays and Saturdays, but said they increase their practice schedule as the competition season gets closer.

Last February, the team took second in the Jhoomti Shaam dance competition in California and later took first at the Penn State Infusion dance competition.

Andaaz also won last year’s first ASU’s Got Talent, which is an annual event that showcases the top talent on campus, and received $1500 for their first place finish.

Arathi Kulkarni, economics sophomore, has been a member of Andaaz for two years and said she loves being able to compete with the team.

“The moments right before going on for a performance and right after you compete are my favorite,” Kulkarni said. “In those times you can’t really change anything and you’re just in the moment.”

Bhavna Ramesh, biomedical sciences sophomore, is also one of the team captains and said her favorite aspect of the team is how close all the members have become.

“I love to see how much of a family we are, since we all get really close throughout the season,” Ramesh said. “Being in this friend group and family is something that I really cherish.”

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