Photo by Sarayu Rao
Jazba Jazzes it Up
April 26, 2017
Just a few weeks ago, our gym was transformed into a South Asian cultural scene, filled with samosas, dancing, and colorful sequined costumes. The event, Deewane, was put together entirely by Presentation’s own Bollywood dance team, Jazba.
Jazba is an Indian dance team that’s part of the International cultures club. The seven members work to create a high energy dance that incorporates five to seven different Indian songs, which they perform at various showcases throughout the year.
Hosted by different school Indian dance teams, these showcases allow for students to come together in a unique celebration of South Asian culture, as dance is paired with traditional food and stunning costumes.
When Jazba was first created only a few years ago, it began as a very unofficial group of students, says co-captain and junior Sarayu Rao. Since then its members have been working continuously to expand it.
Just a few weeks ago, Jazba hosted its own annual charity show. Named Deewane, the event not only showcased dances by Presentation Jazba and a dozen other Bay Area schools, but it also raised $1300, half of which was donated to Mission Drive.
The rest of the money was donated to Maitri, a non-profit that works to aid South Asian women in abusive situations by helping to integrate them into society. The money that the team raised would be used to buy saris and other clothes for these women, says co-captain and junior Prarthana Bhattacharya.
When asked what her favorite part of hosting Deewane is, Rao said, “Just watching all the numbers is really interesting, and meeting new people.”
Jazba allows for students to have fun dancing while simultaneously celebrating their culture and diversity.
“Celebrating culture is so important because we don’t get very many opportunities to do so at Pres,” says junior and Jazba member Alice Matthews. “Having cultural events like these really immerses people into different cultures and allows us to broaden our knowledge past the small number of experiences we have with other cultures.”
“I think it’s really important because the Bay Area’s really diverse so I think it’s really important to acknowledge all the different cultures,” says Rao. “Jazba and like these Bollywood teams are one way of representing Indian culture.”
Fitting to their celebration of culture and identity is Jazba’s dance style of Bollywood, a fusion of Eastern and Western dance. Bollywood and Hollywood are constantly taking from and influencing one another, making Jazba’s style the perfect way of honoring an identity that is simultaneously South Asian and American.
Matthews points to her own extremely positive experience with Jazba as she encourages others to join. “Joining Jazba was one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. It’s so fun to be part of a community like a dance group and performing is honestly so exhilarating. Also, dancing is a great form of exercise!”
As for students who are interested in joining the Bollywood dance group, captains Rao and Bhattacharya encourage them to find and talk to any of the members.
“If any freshmen want to get involved we definitely encourage that and keep a lookout for it next year,” says Bhattacharya. “Anyone of any background or any dance background is allowed to join.