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Indian Students Association presents Diwali: Dance to Survive

By Terra Collier, For The Miami Student

This weekend, the Indian Students Association (ISA) will present its annual Diwali show, titled, "Diwali 2015: Dance to Survive."

While audience members only see the finished product, getting ready to take the stage requires months of intense preparation.

After electing Diwali chairs, ISA spends 10 months preparing for the Diwali show in the fall. The chairs find choreographers for each dance, who then take charge of their respective dances. Once a theme is chosen for the show, all dancers practice for about two hours each week.

"We envisioned this Diwali show to really be a showcase of how diverse India is within itself," said Divya Gulati, one of the Diwali co-chairs. "So we decided on having a competition of the different regional Indian dances."

Multiple teams will compete for the grand prize, challenged to conquer dances from different regions of India. The teams that "survive" the challenge go on to the next round, and the audience members will text in to declare a winner at the end.

While audience involvement is a top priority, engaging all of the ISA members also makes the whole experience more meaningful.

"The show is definitely a collaboration between everyone in ISA, not just our executive board, which makes it that much more special for everyone in the end," said Gulati.

Collaboration among many passionate people can also present its challenges, especially when everyone has a different vision for the show.

"Aligning those visions to create a show that encompasses everyone's ideas can be tough at times," said sophomore publicity chair Nitya Nambiar. "That said, I think one of the great things about ISA is that we really try to improve each year. Everyone is very open to new ideas and working together to break the norm of past years."

The main intent in ISA's Diwali production is to preserve and share the tradition of India's biggest holiday at Miami University.

"Seeing how much work everyone has put in to make this show happen has made us really thankful for having the opportunity to be a part of an event that so many passionate people are involved in," said Gulati.

Diwali 2015: Dance to Survive will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday in Hall Auditorium.