Kamini Purushothaman, Contributing Photographer

Woolsey Hall will soon come alive with song and dance from 13 South Asian groups representing universities across the country.

Dhamaal is one of two major cultural shows that Yale’s South Asian Society, or SAS, hosts each year, accompanied by Roshni in the fall. While Roshni traditionally only features Yale-affiliated groups, Dhamaal includes student groups from other universities. 

This year, the intercollegiate spring showcase will feature six Yale teams and seven outside teams from Duke University; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Rutgers University; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Harvard University; the University of Connecticut and Carnegie Mellon University. The event will take place this Saturday, March 2, from 4 to 6 p.m.

“The day of Dhamaal in itself is also so much fun,” said Maanasi Nair ’25, who is co-captain of both classical dance team Kalaa and Bollywood fusion group Rangeela. “It can be insanely busy and everyone tends to be in a frenzy, but it brings us all so much closer together. I love the energy and excitement of the hours leading to the show.”

Tarun Kota ’26, another member of Rangeela, shared similar sentiments about Dhamaal — particularly noting how rewarding it is to see his team’s rehearsals come together for the final performance.

Rangeela has weekly practices every Saturday morning, and throughout the week, subgroups of the team have additional practices together. During tech week, which is the week before the show, the team practices every day for two hours. 

Nair said that Kalaa schedules their practices with flexibility for dancers who can choose how many hours to commit each week. The team starts with choreography, welcoming any dancer with an interest in exploring that element of the process. 

Kalaa ensures their choreography reflects the various types of classical dance before they move on to begin rehearsing. Depending on how many pieces a dancer is in, that rehearsal time could range from two to five hours per week.

According to Amadie Gajanaike ’26, communications chair for SAS, preparations for Dhamaal include booking venues, gathering sponsors, editing promotional videos and coordinating with groups from other schools. The organization began planning the showcase in December, with meetings and discussions held during the Asian American Cultural Center’s after-hours meetings. 

“We send out Dhamaal information to around 50 South Asian performing arts groups at universities across the US and they submit an audition,” said Gajanaike of SAS’s efforts to select guest teams. “By January, we choose 7-8 of those groups and contact presidents.”

Kota said that the showcase fosters community between students from different institutions, noting that members of SAS host students from other universities during the weekend of the event. Last year, Rangeela had a post-Dhamaal mixer with Dartmouth Raas.

Gajanaike said she worked with Zahra Virani ’26 and Sheel Trivedi ’26 of SAS’s Cultural Committee to assign housing, plan photo-booth decorations and decide what causes donations should be sent to. 

Kavya Gupta ’27, who dances for Yale Jashan Bhangra, a group dedicated to the Punjabi dance form bhangra, expressed her gratitude for her team and excitement to see other groups perform this weekend. 

“It feels like we have come closer as a team, learning to communicate and apply all our hard work from the past few months,” she said. “We are all so excited to see the other Yale groups and teams from other schools perform.”

Kota and Nair shared Gupta’s excitement about being able to perform for her community. Kota said sharing his cultural heritage with friends is his favorite part of Dhamaal, and Nair said that her team feels like a family.

“Our shared love for art and performance is so special,” said Nair. “It’s something I cherish immensely and will forever continue to value.”

Registration for Dhamaal is available on Yale Connect.

Kamini Purushothaman covers Arts and New Haven. A first-year student in Trumbull College, she is majoring in History.