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Association to extend Diwali celebration

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, November 11, 2010

Updated: Thursday, November 11, 2010 22:11

Miami University's largest multicultural event is doubling the fun this year.

In the past, Diwali has been held for one day, but due to increasing student interest in the event, two shows will be held this year, said Aman Goyal, president of the Indian Students Association (ISA).

Miami University will be hosting its 18th Diwali show Nov. 19 and 20.

Diwali features Indian dancing and cultural guests. It celebrates "The Festival of Lights," the most important holiday celebrated by Indians, Goyal said. This year, the Diwali theme is Broadway. This theme is meant to tell the story of Diwali in a new and modern way, Goyal said.

Diwali has sold out for the past 10 years, a fact ISA took into consideration when making the event two days, Goyal said. The Saturday show will be available with dinner as in past years, while the Friday show will not include dinner, Goyal said.

"Aman thought we could do something new and push ISA to another level with two shows," said Diwali choreographer and dancer Shivali Viswanath. Goyal said he thinks student interest in Diwali is so high because the show is a fun cultural event.

"Diwali is a fun way to experience the culture of India and find out about the biggest holiday Indians celebrate," Goyal said. "Audience members can expect to see lots of colorful dances that blend cultures."

Diwali will feature special guests, including the Association of Latin American Students, the Asian American Association, the Mergers, the Hip Hop Dance Team and Dance Theater, according to Goyal. The special guests will make Diwali a multicultural Miami event as well as a celebration of Indian culture, Goyal said.

Diwali will feature five different Indian dances, according to Viswanath. These dances include classical, Bollywood, South Indian, Bhangra and Raas, Viswanath said.

Viswanath said she is choreographing this year's classical dance, a dance that focuses on celebrating Hindu religion.

Miami sophomore Vasantha Koppera will be performing the classical dance, as well as the South Indian and Raas dances at Diwali. Koppera said she danced in Diwali last year and is excited to see how the event will be different with two shows.

"We put half our lives into this," she said. "At some point it's dance now, study for the exam later, that's how much we care about putting on a good show. It's hectic and chaotic, but it's totally worth doing."

ISA is encouraging Greek organizations and student organizations to attend Diwali, Viswanath said.

"We want to reach out and teach a greater amount of people about our culture," Viswanath said.

The Friday Diwali show will start at 7 p.m., and the Saturday show will begin at 2 p.m. Tickets are available online and at the Shriver Center Box Office.

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