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The South Asian Students Association entranced the audience with performances of dance, music and comedy during their annual culture show, Nashaa, Friday in Salomon 101. A "year-long venture" of planning culminated that night to meet the vision of showcasing and spreading awareness of South Asian culture, said SASA President Aparna Kumar '10. Applause filled the packed auditorium as the show provided performers' families, friends and peers with a night full of laughs and cultural appreciation. 

The event was organized chiefly by co-chairs Radhika Kumar '12 and Faiz Jiwani '12, with Akash Kumar '10, Soumya Sanyal '10 and Gaurab Chakrabarti '10 emceeing.

The performances that night, which can be found in videos online, included comedic skits, elegant dances and emotional spoken word pieces, addressing a variety of issues such as arranged marriages. Songs and dances told stories of forbidden love, praised Hindu deities and recounted Indian customs. One act was based on a song from a popular Bollywood movie.

Musical acts spotlighted instruments like the tabla, a popular North Indian drum, and the veena, an ancient lute instrument carved out of a single piece of jackwood. The traditional South Asian costumes included colorful Indian women's garments called saris, as well as ghungroos, bells tied to the feet of the dancers, which serve as both decoration and percussion.

The performances were tied together by hilarious videos starring the emcees, which kept awkward transitional pauses to a minimum and kept the audience at the edge of their seats.

The most popular performances seemed to be the class dances, which integrated modern and hip-hop styles with classical South Asian dance and sounds. A tradition started long ago, the class dances serve as a fun way not only to pit the classes against each other, but also to give the graduating seniors their "moment of glory," said Aparna Kumar, and to "usher in the new class" of freshmen.

The event's success stemmed from the emcees' ability to keep the audience engaged. The emcees succeeded in stringing together the diverse selection of performances, Aparna Kumar said.

The planning of the event began a year ago when the three emcees approached SASA for the position, and much of the show came from their vision for it, she said.

Aparna Kumar also attributed the event's success to the positive attitude with which the events chairs and emcees met obstacles, adding that despite a few minor problems the event "turned out to be fabulous."


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