Bollywood dance club bridges East, West cultures

Miss America Pageant


Viktoria Wulff-Andersen

Bollywood Club president Aleena Jacob (foreground) instructs a dance routine during a recent club meeting. Members Jennifer Alvarez and Hibba Quershi, both sophomores, follow her lead. The club meets every Friday in C 335.

Viktoria Wulff-Andersen, Correspondent

Sophomore Aleena Jacob, president of the new Bollywood Dance Club, says one of her fondest memories is sitting in front of her television set as a doe-eyed toddler and watching the vibrant spectacle that is Bollywood Dance.

Last year, she participated in International Night, a cultural celebration for the diverse ethnicities present at DHS through music, dance, and a plethora of other festivities. Jacob saw many of her friends participate, proudly brandishing their heritage, and noticed, in particular, the appreciation for Indian culture in her favorite form, dance.

Jacob was inspired to create the Bollywood Dance Club after that night. Her goal is to allow students to work together as a team to create and choreograph Indian styled dances, citing the core of her club as “a fun way to dance and collaborate with others to form an amazing experience.” The style of dance is celebrated as a fusion between East and West music and dance.

I have been a Bollywood dancer all my life. I’m … thrilled to see this club open. It gives me a chance to share my love for Bollywood dancing with others”

— Hibba Qureshi, sophomore

It was that notion of the club’s potential that ultimately encouraged Jacob to legitimately form it in the fall. She contacted the ESL teachers and attracted the interest of Katie Jarvis–the current club advisor. “I thought it was a really cool and original idea, so I decided to help out,” Jarvis said. She hosted the club’s first informational meeting Dec. 14 and seeks to continue supporting the club and its dancing.

Jarvis, like many members of the club, which meets in C 335 every Friday, cites her experience as a source of attraction to the club. “When I was in college, I had taken a class in Indian style dancing,” she said. “I loved it, but I wasn’t really good at it.”

Hibba Qureshi, a sophomore club member, also has a background in Indian dance. “I have been a Bollywood dancer all my life. I’m self-taught, and am thrilled to see this club open. It gives me a chance to share my love for Bollywood dancing with others,” she said.

While a majority of the club members hold a background in dance, the biggest misconception of the club is the requirement of that ability.

“People do not need to be experienced in dance to join,” Jacob said. “They also do not need to dance. While we’re centered on dancing, we also need music and costumes. The club’s main purpose is to be proud of another culture and to share that joy with others.”

Qureshi agrees, resonating with the club’s message of inclusivity of the Indian culture. “I hope that by joining this club, I can spread new cultures and diversity to DHS when we perform later this year,” she said. The Bollywood Dance Club, she added, plans to put on numerous performances this year, with a major event being International Night.

Jacob said she hopes students are willing to at least try a new experience — whether familiar with Bollywood dancing or not.

“DHS is the land of opportunities,” she said. “Even though the club is just starting, I hope more people are willing to take part in the club and experience the joy of dance.”