Bollywood Dance club promotes cultural connections

Illustration by Allison Droege

Josie Lorenz | The Chronicle

Mason’s Bollywood Dance club is stepping up for more than just dance.

The Bollywood Dance club has launched back into action. “Bollywood Dance” refers to dance in the Indian movie industry originating in the 20th century. Original Bollywood dance centers around traditional and Indian folk dance but has evolved to consist of styles like Bhangra and Garbao. Bollywood dance was soon popularized in the U.S. 

Senior Manasvi Guduru founded the club with fellow senior Reva Reddy during her sophomore year. Both Guduru and Reddy noticed a gap in how their culture was portrayed throughout the school and other activities. To help fill that void and apply their love of dance, they created the Bollywood Dance club during their sophomore year of high school and made it open to any student looking to learn. 

“Reva and I have been dancing for all of our lives,” Guduru said. “But as we got older, we started to realize that we weren’t receiving as many opportunities to showcase our love for Bollywood. There wasn’t much representation of the Indian community in Mason and we felt out of touch with our culture. We decided to create the club to not only pursue our passion for Bollywood but also share our culture with others.”

Senior Raizel Raj joined the club in 2019 when the club was first formed. The club had to go dormant for the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19, which left a break in the progress they made. Raj joined back once able to and was captivated by the inviting environment of the dancers. Having talented peers of all backgrounds excited to teach and learn enraptured Raj. Raj said she enjoys the atmosphere and inclusiveness of the club. 

“The choreographers do a great job of teaching fun dances in a lively environment,” Raj said. “It’s a very fun club with an inclusive community. All the [members] bond over their love for Bollywood dance.”

Raj was pulled in by the shared the same passion and to exchange culture. She found it easy to connect with and form a bond with the other members and express herself through dance. Dance is a creative outlet for Raj who “loved the concept of dancing to Bollywood songs and having the opportunity to perform for people.” 

To members of the club, expanding their outreach and showcasing their hard work is fulfilling as they connect to their peers and their culture. Members have sought out opportunities to do so at all times. The club views events, such as the Taste of Mason as a great way to embrace and showcase their heritage.

“We perform for the Taste of Mason every year and are performing again this year,” Guduru said. “[The] Taste of Mason is such a great opportunity for our club to not only get promotion, but also to share our culture with the Mason community.”

Raj admires the all-encompassing community that surrounds the club and everyone in it. It is important to her that all are included and have the opportunity to learn and perform. She had been dancing since she was young and was excited to see peer leadership and the extensiveness of those participating.

“This club has been one of the most inclusive clubs I’ve been in,” Raj said. “It’s also completely student-led and run. So, I’ve seen lots of comfort and a strong community among the members. High-schoolers from all ages, races, and dance backgrounds have the opportunity to perform.”