In this series of interviews, I will be going around and talking to those individuals that performed at our annual talent show this fall. Let’s learn more about what has motivated them to do whatever it is that they do.
In the first round, I interviewed Anand Singh about what encouraged him to get into dancing.
Jash (interviewer): Hey Anand, how are you?
Anand: I’m good, how are you?
Jash: I’m doing fine, thanks for asking. So why don’t you start by telling me a bit about yourself?
Anand: My name is Anand Singh, and I am a first year 3+4 BS MD student here at the College of Health Sciences.
Jash: What is it that you did at the talent show?
Anand: So, me and a couple of our students from the College of Health Sciences put together a dance piece that combined bhangra style and Bollywood fusion.
Jash: Oh bhangra, okay, what is bhangra?
Anand: Bhangra is an ethnic dance from the state of Punjab in India.
Jash: Hmm okay, so is it more of a folk dance?
Anand: Yeah, it definitely is a type of folk dance, and it even has many different subsects in itself such as gidda.
Jash: Gidda sounds pretty interesting. So, what is it that got you into starting this particular dance?
Anand: I actually started Bollywood dancing about 2 years ago. Through this Bollywood Fusion dancing I was able to explore my own heritage in a way of combining it with my new heritage. So, Bollywood Fusion incorporates hip hop western dance forms and eastern dance forms from the state of India.
Jash: Wow that sounds really neat, see I never knew any of that. So how long have you been doing all of this?
Anand: I’ve been doing this for 2 years.
Jash: 2 years?
Anand: (nods head in approval).
Jash: So, in 2 years, you’ve managed to learn all of this and perform like you did?
Anand: Yeah, and I believe that I am always growing, and obviously 2 years is not a long time, so I have much more to learn and much more to grow from so I hope to continue it for the rest of my life.
Jash: So, you could say that, you know, you’re a fast learner?
Anand: I wouldn’t say technically a fast learner, I would just say a diligent hard-working learner.
Jash: Awesome dude, that’s crazy. So how often do you do this? Like how do you balance yourself with what you’re doing at school and extracurriculars?
Anand: Yea, so I believe that if you make time for something, you will always have time. And, for example, I started a club here called The Fusion Dance Club. So, I hope to teach other students that go here Bollywood Fusion Dance, so I always make time for that and I take some time out, not every day obviously, but at least twice or three times a week to choregraph something and make it fun for other people to bond over just the heritage behind Bollywood fusion dance.
Jash: Oh, so you founded a new club. You said 2-3 days a week is how often you guys will be meeting?
Anand: No, we only actually meet once every other week, but I have to spend some more time choregraphing because in order to teach you have to know the dance really well, and dancing is all about beats, so you have to make sure you listen to the song and make sure you are counting your steps. That whole process takes at least 2-3 times a week, but for our actual meetings, they are only going to be every other Friday from 5-7 in the cafeteria.
Jash: So that sounds wonderful! 2 hours every other week?
Anand: (nods head in approval).
Jash: Alright, that sounds awesome. Thank you Anand!
Anand: No problem. Have a good day!
Jash: You too!
In the second round, I interviewed Anusri Yanumula, a current third year 3+4 BS MD program about what encouraged her to start performing
Jash(interviewer): Hi Anusri, How are you doing?
Anusri: I’m good, thank you. How are you?
Jash: I am doing fine thanks for asking. So tell me a bit about yourself.
Anusri: I am a third year 3+4 student and have lived here for 2 years in Sacramento. I am originally from Detroit!
Jash: Oh,awesome, that’s really far out there. So what is it that you did at the talent show?
Anusri: I did a vocal performance in the first half with another student, Shamina, and we did a Hindi-English mashup. In the second half, I was actually in the last performance, and I was a part of the Bollywood aspect of the Bollywood Bhangra performance.
Jash: That’s neat. So why do you do both singing and dancing, and how long have you been doing these activities?
Anusri: I have been singing since I was 7 years old and I’ve been dancing since I was 4.
Jash: Wow. I mean yea… I don’t even remember what I did when I was 7. So how often do you practice singing and dancing?
Anusri: How often? Singing I practice a lot more often than I dance. I try to sing intensely, as I am actually originally trained in Indian classical music called “Karnatic music,” and it hails from south India. I try to practice that at least once a week. I also try to practice my Bollywood dancing skills as well, but I’m honestly always singing, like even in the shower.
Jash: Do you have a favorite song to listen to or sing to?
Anusri: Like Indian?
Jash: Indian, English, etc.
Anusri: You know, right now I’ve kind of been listening to a lot of Michael Jackson.
Jash: Oh okay, a bit of a throwback.
Anusri: Yea, I know. But in terms of Indian music, there’s a song called “Soch Na Sake,” it’s really good and I’ve been listening to it every morning.
Jash: oh, okay.
Anusri: So I try to listen to music and sing along to it like all the time.
Jash: Yeah, I sing in the shower and I think I sound really good, but most people don’t. Is there anything you have picked up or learned about yourself from singing and dancing, like something you never really knew about yourself or find out more?
Anusri: I think one of the main things is discipline. I’ve used singing and dance as well as an outlet for creativity and stress, but it has taught me how to manipulate my voice or manipulate my body in a way that I can control it. And that kind of translates to how I manage my life, as I feel that if I learn to control the way I move and the way I sound I feel I have more control over myself and other things.
Jash: Interesting tactic. So, I do have one final question left, and that is is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself to CHS that you have not already mentioned?
Anusri: So I am joining the new Indian Dance Fusion Club. I actually took a long hiatus from dancing. I am also trained in Indian classical dancing, and I have been doing that for, I don’t know, 16 years. But I also took a 2-year break from that once I moved here to pursue my undergrad education, but that is always something that has been close to me. I have been trying to dance classical a little more, but since this Fusion Dance Club started, I’ve also started attending workshops and trying to dance Bollywood as well more publicly, as I had stopped performing in front of audiences. So, for me the talent show kind of brought that back, and I’m really happy about that.
Jash: Alright, well that is good to hear. Well thanks Anusri!
Anusri: of course, it’s my pleasure.