A look back on Raunak's South Asian Fusion

by Lingbo Li

What do we remember about a dance performance a week after the fact?Some kinds of art you can possess, but a dance performance will vary from night to night, audience to audience. Raunak was a charity intercollegiate extravaganza that brought in dance teams from Harvard as well as BU, UConn, Brown, UMass, Dartmouth, and MIT - surprisingly, they all fused into a cohesive show, with the tunes taking the hippest of hip hop and melding them into badass bhangra beats.Mostly I remember the energy where the audience's energy seemed to fuse into the performance. I talked to an audience member later who explained that the South Asian Men's Collective had a tradition of sitting in the center balcony and making, well, a lot of noise - egged on by the fact that the president was one of the MCs.Of course there are other things that get remembered: where one female dance group lined up in a series of silhouettes against the back wall lit blue. Then they whipped around, the lights turned a brilliant, verdant shade of green, and they undulated in unison, shining back out all the energy they had drawn in. It's the kind of moment that reminds you that you're at the mercy of a performance's power.One of my favorite Harvard groups, Expressions, put on a predictably excellent performance - I'm always really impressed by their energy and musical picks which transition thrillingly from one eminently danceable track to the next. I always get the urge to get and dance along with them since they make it look easy.But there's nothing quite like YouTube to help you remember. Check out this video of the UMass Dhadak fusion dance team: [http://www.youtube.com/v/wdZFbJOsjCI&hl=en&fs=1&] Brown Badmaash, from the same evening: [http://www.youtube.com/v/POsyOYcpPI8&hl=en&fs=1&] And Harvard's own South Asian Dance Company!: [http://www.youtube.com/v/D2OLkJOPAic&hl=en&fs=1&]