Bhangra’s “Mela” impresses with dance performances from different cultural groups

Complete with a traditional Indian food dinner, Geneseo Bhangra’s “Mela” event hosted a myriad of dance performances. Senior Kyle Fletcher (pictured above) took part in Bhangra’s performance. (Annalee Bainnson/Assoc. Photo Editor)

 With dance performances from Geneseo Bhangra, Sláinte, Japan Culture Club, Latino Student Association, Original Xpressions and Shakti, as well as a meal of traditional Indian food, it was an afternoon of dance and dinner at Geneseo Bhangra Presents: “Mela” on Sunday Feb. 26. 

Geneseo Bhangra introduced their dance number by giving a background on the history of Bhangra dancing. Originally a folk dance, one member explained, Bhangra was performed at harvest festivals. 

With vibrant colors, an infectious energy and a mash-up of “Panda” and “Panga,” the first dance number started the show off with a bang. The love Geneseo Bhangra members have for their art—as well as each other—was illustrated through their dance. 

 “I love being on the team,” psychology major junior Chloe Oktay said. “It was one of the best decisions I made in college. It feels like a family.”

The next performance, by LSA, held a mix of Latin and contemporary dance. Opting for simple clothes and sneakers—as opposed to Bhangra’s bright costumes—the focus was solely on the dance for LSA. 

The dancers emitted their grace and rhythm to a mix of two Latin pop songs. Two pairs danced, each comprised of one woman and one man. Their connection and a red lighting pallet made the dance both moving and fun.  

The Sláinte Irish step dance team and Original Xpressions also stood out in the array of talent. Sláinte struck a balance of synchronicity and individualism, dancing in perfect step with one another while a teammate danced a solo center stage. Each dancer was allowed a moment in the spotlight, which many used to complete intricate leaps and footwork. Together, the team finished the dance with a kick line. 

OGX then brought immense style to the stage, preforming their piece to a mix of songs including Migos’ “Bad and Boujee.” The crisp movements and passion shined throughout the dance. Finishing with a dazzling display by a quartet of dancers, OGX offered a fast-paced, exciting experience from start to finish. 

Whether moving or vibrant, the performances also exposed students to new cultures. Psychology major sophomore Tori Hayes and undeclared junior Mackenzie Young both came to the show to support friends, but also recognized the importance of hosting events like this at Geneseo. 

“I think it promotes cultures that you wouldn’t necessarily know about if you didn’t come and experience it here,” Hayes said. 

 Young added: “It’s important because it presents non-western ideas as well.”