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Blend of cultures take stage at Jorgensen

By Katie McWilliams
On February 17, 2013

  • Jon Kulakofsky/The Daily Campus. UConn freshman guard Omar Calhoun attempts a three-pointer in a recent game against Villanova at the


The annual Dancers for a Difference event took place in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Friday night. The event was coordinated by UConn Surya, a dance team on campus which hosts a number of dance performances by UConn groups as well as teams from the greater Boston area and aims to raise money for a charitable cause.

The show itself was a whirlwind display of many cultures and styles of dance. All of the groups that performed were of South Asian origin, but many groups blended Eastern and Western dance styles to create truly beautiful performances. The first group to take the stage was the University of Massachusetts's Dhadak team, who blended Bollywood, Salsa, Hip Hop and traditional dance styles into a stunning performance. Following Dhadak was an all-female Dheem group from Boston University, who enthralled the audience with their classical Indian dance routine. "They were beautiful," said Alma Outunye, a fourth-semester philosophy major in attendance. 

After the captivating performance by BU Dheem, Boston Garba brought the style of Western India to Jorgensen in their delightful Garba performance. While the troupe was only composed of four members, they held the audience's attention with their colorful costumes and fast paced dancing. The first half of the show was closed by a stunning performance by UConn's own Husky Banghra. The talented group amazed the audience with their fast paced dancing, heralding from Northern India and the Punjabi state and the reverberating sound of their drummer's beat. "They are so high energy," said fourth semester psychology major Kristine Salamanca. "I can't imagine doing that!" 

Following an intermission, Brown University's Badmaash team took the stage in colorful ensembles resembling school children's outfits and delighted the audience with their recess themed dance that combined the styles of classical Indian dance as well modern moves. Badmaash was followed by UCThunderaas, UConn's own team that recently hosted the SurvivorRaas tournament at Jorgensen.  As usual, Thunderaas kicked up a storm on stage, entertaining the audience with their superb dance skills and their colorful performance. ThunderRaas was followed by Boston College Masti and the show closed with an electric performance by the hosts, UConn Surya. 

Usually the proceeds of the show are donated to The Save Darfur Coalition, but this year audience members were given the opportunity to vote for the proceeds to go to three charities, ASHA for Education, UConn Empower, and The Sandy Hook School Support fund. ASHA for Education is a charity that funds the education of underprivileged children in India, while UConn Empower: A Better World Cameroon is a student organization that aims to fund public health and educational projects in Cameroon starting this summer, and The Sandy Hook School Support fund was set up by United Way, after the events of December, to continue to support and provide resources for the victims and families of the tragedy. All the charities were worthwhile causes, but at the end of the night, the Surya captains announced that UConn Empower had won the $1800 the event had raised that night. Aside from the $1800 in donations, audience members donated to the individual charities throughout the night, and by the end of the night every organization was honored. 

After the show, the hosts graciously took the stage and honored not only UConn Empower, but their team members who all contributed to the success, and the help of the UConn community who made the evening possible.

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