Bhangra presents MELA, celebrates diverse musical styles

Geneseo Bhangra presented MELA- “A Mix of Talents” on Thursday Nov. 29 in the College Union Ballroom.

The event served as a fundraiser to help Bhangra purchase new costumes for its performances. Bhangra captain senior Iris Huang said that because of the movements the group does on stage, its costumes tend to rip easily. She added that because the costumes are made in India and Pakistan, they can be expensive to ship.

The show featured performances from multiple student organizations, including Guitar Club, G-Steppas, Southside Boys, Shakti, Slainte Irish Dancers, Between the Lines, Musical Theatre Club and Bhangra and they

represented a wide variety of cultures and traditions. “This is the first time we’re putting on a show that promotes performing arts groups,” Huang said. “Everything was a team effort.”

According to Bhangra Fundraising Coordinator senior Madelyn Cohen, the team has wanted to put on a show of this type since last spring.

Cohen said that the team “wanted to ask other on-campus organizations to join in, and we knew we wanted it to be a cultural event to spread awareness of what Bhangra actually is and how deep its Indian roots go,” she said. “It really did represent the idea that we wanted it to: a mix of talents, while showcasing Bhangra.”

Shops on Main Street helped sponsor the event, and Touch of Grayce, Geneseo Family Restaurant, Uptown Tan and Café Shiloh gift cards were raffled off as prizes.

Bhangra team members served Indian appetizers and desserts provided by Campus Auxiliary Services. The appetizers included puffed rice with vegetables, or bhel puri, stuffed pastries with potatoes, or samosas and vegetable fritters, or pakora. For dessert, there was kheer, a rice pudding with almonds and raisins and gulab jamun, a type of fried dough with sweet syrup poured on top. Audience members could also choose from spicy, sweet or minty chutneys to accompany the savory dishes.

In the first act, Guitar Club gave its first on-campus performance with two original pieces. The G-Steppas performed an extensive step routine and the Southside Boys, Geneseo’s male a cappella group, performed songs including “Roses” by Outkast and “Some Nights” by fun. Shakti, the South Asian culture club, performed a dance mix and Slainte, performed an Irish step dance.

In the second act, coed a cappella group Between the Lines performed three songs including its own version of the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song. MTC choreographed a dance number that concluded with club members flooding the aisles to encourage audience participation. Another notable dance number, “Bharatanatyam,” featured a South Indian classical dance performed by Bhangra members junior Reshma Nair and freshman Priya Gupta.

Bhangra performed twice throughout the night, once at the end of each act. Each performance featured select members of the team performing an energetic Indian dance routine in brightly colored costumes.