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Dance, music & Bollywood trivia: U of L student group hosts annual Diwali event

The Natya Kendra Dance Academy performs during the 2021 Jalsa event, organized by the Indian Student Association at the University of Louisville.
Courtesy Ellie B
/
The Natya Kendra Dance Academy performs during the 2021 Jalsa event, organized by the Indian Student Association at the University of Louisville.

The Indian Student Association at the University of Louisville hosts its annual Diwali celebration Saturday evening.

This year’s Jalsa, the Hindi word for celebration or a big social gathering, features Bollywood fusion and Bhangra dance troupes, a multilingual student band, food from Louisville restaurant Tandoori Fusion, and Bollywood trivia.

Twenty-one-year-old Vaibhavi Venkataramanan, the student group’s VP of communications, said it’s a great showcase of local talent.

“Ya know, just bring their own personality and different characteristics to the stage,” she said. “And overall, basically bringing together the community and encouraging collaboration and celebration all in one.”

ISA has been producing Jalsa for more than a decade, and a portion of the ticket sale proceeds goes toward a charitable fund for pediatric cancer care and supporting families impacted by the disease.

“We are following in tradition and trying to give back to our community, as well as our student body on campus, by hosting this spectacular event every year,” said Vatsa Vemuri, who directs this year’s event.

Vemuri, 19, is most looking forward to “the gratification, and the response from the audience.”

“I want to see how they feel about the show this year because we have a lot of new things and new elements,” he said.

Both Venkataramanan and Vemuri said a big part of the event is promoting cultural awareness on campus and developing cross-cultural understanding.

“Everybody is included,” Vemuri said of Jalsa. “Everybody is having fun.”

Stephanie Wolf is LPM's Arts & Culture Reporter. Email Stephanie at swolf@lpm.org.