With saris and kurtas ranging with colors from sapphire blue to gold, from mint green to crimson, students wore their best traditional Indian attire to Saturday night’s first Bollywood Blowout, hosted by the Delaware Kamaal dance team.
The event featured henna body art, a miniature golden cardboard version of the Taj Mahal, traditional Indian and Pakistani snack foods, traditional dances and modern Indian pop music.
In partnership with the Trabant Now event series, Kamaal, the fusion dance group dedicated to Indian and South Asian cultures, created an atmosphere of cultural acceptance and exploration throughout the night. Kamaal Captain Radhika Malhotra, junior biological sciences major, encouraged people throughout the night to integrate cultures and try new things.
“We partnered with the university Indian Student Association to create this event, as a way for us to show our Indian and Pakistani diversity and culture to the school,” Malhotra says.
In the middle of the night, there were performances by Kamaal and the Blue Hen Belly Dance team. Angela Mswabuki, a senior triple language major who leads the belly dance team, was excited to perform a piece that they had choreographed themselves.
“It was one of the first ones we had choreographed this semester, we’re trying to bring it back to the classical Arabic roots so this is a typical belly dancing song that most dancers have, or definitely will, dance to,” Mswabuki says.
The crowd consisted of people from nearby high schools, local colleges and a small crowd of local adults, all of whom congratulated Malhotra on the success of her event.
This pleased Malhotra, who had advertised as much as she could for weeks, hoping to create a crowd full of as many ages, races, ethnicities and cultures as possible.
“We got a lot of the local crowd, so it wasn’t just university students and this was an amazing turnout, plus, we performed amazing[ly],” Malhotra says.
Another student, Francesca Garcia, a junior civil engineering major, says dancing in environments like this is a great way to learn about other cultures.
“You get really comfortable with your body, you have dances that aren’t that hard to learn and it’s always something really fun,” Garcia says. “They’re bringing cultural awareness and cultural integration, which is great.”
Malhotra says she hopes for this event to continue every year, seeing this as the first annual occasion. She thinks it is a great way to educate people about different cultures while also having a fun time.
“We got a DJ, we brought a lot of food in, we dressed up in our Indian clothes and we really just wanted to show people that we can all mix together and have fun just like American culture,” Malhotra says. “We do that on the daily, we mix Western culture with Indian culture and it’s a great thing to show other people.”