Madelyn Kumar

The South Asian Society at Yale on Sunday hosted its annual intercollegiate South Asian dance showcase, “Bulldog Dhamaal,” featuring performances by student groups from Harvard, Rutgers, Columbia, the University of Connecticut and Yale.

This year marked the third annual “Bulldog Dhamaal” at Yale. The show opened and closed with dances by two Yale groups: Yale Rangeela and Yale Jashan Bhangra. The other performance groups included Husky Bhangra, Yale MonstRAASity, Yale Kalaa, Columbia Bhangra, Harvard Bhangra and Rutgers Raag. Most of the acts at this year’s showcase were Bhangra groups, as opposed to Bollywood fusion or classical dance groups. Bhangra is a traditional Indian dance, typically performed in a circle.

“The cultural importance of this event is that it showcases a lot of different South Asian performing styles from dancing to singing, and that’s something that people don’t get to experience regularly,” said President of the Yale South Asian Society Archeta Rajagopalan ’19. “It’s a chance to expose others on campus to a bit of South Asian culture and music and, in this case, bring together a lot of different schools with the common goal of doing so.”

Rajagopalan said the organization made an effort to intersperse performances by the Bhangra groups with acts by a cappella and Bollywood dance groups to offer variety to the audience. They chose to open and close with Yale groups since it was a Yale-hosted showcase, she added.

The South Asian Society contacted around 50 school teams about performing at Bulldog Dhamaal. The organization sent out applications in December and the teams were selected based on performance videos.

The host of the showcase, Bhavesh Sayal ’21, said the show was “very successful.”

Still, Ruhi Manek ’20, a Jashan Bhangra performer, noted that although at the start of the show, the audience was fairly large, it dwindled in size as the show proceeded.

Manek added that she nevertheless appreciated that performance groups from different schools came together to perform rather than compete. She said she also appreciated that Bhangra served as the “major unifying factor.”

“The primary audience is the Yale community. I really think the showcase is for just about everybody,” Rajagopalan said. “Each year, my friends are super excited to sit front row and scream as loud as they can to cheer for the teams. None of them prior to watching me dance experienced anything like that before, so it really is a show that appeals to everyone and is accessible to everyone.”

The South Asian Society’s next show will be an all-Yale performance in the fall called “Roshni.”

Jever Mariwala |