Annual SASA show emphasizes universal theme of ‘Graduation’

Lauren Caruba

With a whirlwind of colorful costumes and culturally-infused dance and song performances, the South Asian Student Alliance held its annual show Saturday night, drawing an audience of about 950 people to Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St.

To channel the show’s “Graduation” theme, the four emcees wore caps and gowns as they performed short skits and played videos between the 11 different acts. The videos were mostly comedic pop culture spoofs, featuring an amended version of Rebecca Black’s YouTube song “Friday, ” a “Stuff Sophomore Indian Girls Say” video, an episode about getting lost in the Technological Institute dubbed “Techception” and a Harry Potter parody entitled “Hari Puthar and the Samosa Social.”

“Their humor was good because it was relatable for parents, it was relatable for SASA people and non-SASA people,” SASA co-President Rajul Parekh said. “There was a little bit of everything for everybody.”

The show was composed of a variety of musical and dance performances, with a dance group representing every grade. The band Zamin opened the show with two songs, combining classical and Indian instruments with a modern interpretation of Hindustani vocals. NU Raas, a new South Asian dance team that formed this year, also made its debut performance at Northwestern in the show.

Other groups in the show included the Indian-fusion dance team Mirch Masala, the Bollywood dance team NU Anubhav, the Punjabi dance group NU Bhangra and a cappella group Brown Sugar. The majority of the acts were cultural infusions, merging both South Asian influences as well as American hip-hop music and dance routines.

“Our teams and our acts incorporate a ton of different styles,” Parekh, a Weinberg junior, said. “The SASA show really brings together a ton of diverse and very different people.”

Members of the SASA executive board also participated in a short fashion show sponsored by Luxemi, an online Indian clothing store.

The show closed with an extended performance by Deeva Dance Troupe that followed a storyline modeled after “Alice in Wonderland.” Weinberg senior Farah Dahya, who played the part of Alice, said Deeva is unique because it integrates so many styles, from hip-hop to jazz to Bollywood.

The finale included a balloon drop and group dance by the show’s nearly 200 performers, which made the nostalgia of “Graduation” hit home, said SASA Cultural Chair Anisha Arora, a Weinberg sophomore.

Emcee Sahil Mehta, who was president of SASA last year, said the group decided to call the show “Graduation” because they wanted a broad and relatable theme.

“It’s something everyone goes through,” the McCormick senior said. “The four of us emcees are seniors and we’re starting to think about graduating soon. Freshmen are just coming off their graduation. It’s something that sophomores and juniors are probably starting to think about.”

Although the show was hosted by SASA, Weinberg sophomore Alex Hua said she noticed a broad range of backgrounds and cultural diversities, both onstage and among audience members.

“It’s an amazing way for us to showcase our culture to the Northwestern constituency,” Arora said. “Everyone comes from a different place when they come to college. It’s amazing that we’re educating them in a way.”

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