Bhangra’s “Mela” showcases multicultural performances

Geneseo Bhangra hosted “Mela: A Mix of Talents” in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom on Saturday Feb. 13. This event offered many student organizations a chance to showcase their talents and to celebrate their heritage. Opening the show was a cappella group Between The Lines performing a mash up of James Blake’s “Retrograde” and Fun.’s “Some Nights.” They also covered Marianas Trench’s “Who Do You Love.” This group seemed to entrance the audience with their ability to replicate these songs without the use of instruments.

Following Between The Lines were two members of South Asian cultural club Shakti performing a dance to traditional folk music. Shakti devotes their time to discussing, sharing and learning about the various cultures of South Asia.

Geneseo’s Japanese Culture Club also performed two dances. The first dance involved very swift movements to the more traditional Japanese music. It appeared that karate—which originated in Japan—had a strong influence on this dance. Their second dance was to a more techno-influenced song, which also featured Asian conical hats; mixing more traditional aspects of Japanese culture with more contemporary elements.

Geneseo’s improvisation comedy organization No Laugh Track Required followed JCC and brought big laughs to the audience. These comedians performed examples of long-form improv, which requires audience participation. In this case, an audience member provided a word and then the members built a comedic scenario. These comedians seemed to impress the audience with their skillfulness at thinking on the spot.

Original Dance Expressions came next, performing student-choreographed dances to songs including Kerwin Du Bois’s “Circles,” Eddy Kenzo’s “Sitya Loss” and Kanye West’s “Monster.” This incredible performance was fast-paced, allowing members to show off their complicated dance moves, talent and creativity in the art of dance.

Closing out the show, Bhangra took the stage in their signature vibrant and ornate outfits. Bhangra is a type of popular music combining Punjabi folk traditions with Western pop music. A few of the songs to which they danced include Benny Benassi’s “Cinema [Skrillex Remix],” Fort Minor’s “Remember The Name” and David Guetta’s “Hey Mama.”

These Bhangra dancers gave a magnificent performance, astounding the crowd with their execution of tricky dance movements and their ability to almost constantly be jumping. The dancers also made use of wooden clappers called sapps, which accompanied their performance by augmenting certain beats of the music to which they danced.

“Mela: A Mix of Talents” succeeded in its aim to celebrate an assortment of talents and cultures. Not only did this event highlight interesting differences among cultures, but it also depicted some similarities as well.