TDS 2019 – Reflections
The Diwali Showcase (TDS) is a massive cultural showcase put on by the student organization, South Asian Cultural Exchange (SACE). It’s a super cool event because students from various backgrounds, not just South Asian, come together to learn a dance, increase their cultural understanding, and perform in Langford Auditorium. Check out this Hustler article that provides a short recap of the event, and keep reading to learn about my experience dancing in TDS this year!
The past couple of weeks have probably been some of the most exhausting weeks I’ve had this year, but also the most fun! In addition to my regular dance practices of 6 hours per week as part of Lakshya, Vanderbilt’s only Bollywood Fusion team, I also participated in 2 other dances for the Diwali Showcase: Fusion Black and Raas Senior Dance. If I do the math, during the week of November 2nd until November 9th, I danced for 25+ hours! As you can guess, I was pretty tired on Sunday, the day after the showcase. But it was SO WORTH all the time and energy spent because I got to spend time with some of my best friends, make new friends, learn different dance skills, and perform – all while having a blast!
I will say, my academic schedule has been lighter than previous semesters, so thankfully I wasn’t also stressed about school work. That would have made the whole experience a lot more intense. Additionally, I only jumped into the Fusion Black dance on the Monday leading up to the show! The three students choreographing it are also on Lakshya, and when they asked if I wanted to join, I agreed and taught myself the dances within a day! Senior Dance was also a similar story. I had forgotten to sign up to join Senior Dance because I missed an email, but since one of my good friends was choreographing the Raas section of Senior Dance, she let me jump in pretty late. Although, Senior Dance is a lot more chill than the other dances, so it was pretty easy choreography and we were more excited to dance with all of our senior friends instead of being super accurate with the moves.
On show night, after having practiced some more in the morning, all the performers attended the pre-show dinner, consisting of a feast of South Asian food catered from a nearby restaurant. Many of us were wearing Indian formalwear, but of course, people could also wear other nice clothes. As performers trickled out to start getting ready, the dinner was opened to the general audience.
Performing 3 times all within the same show was pretty tiring, but exhilarating! The adrenaline rush of performing in front of hundreds of people, hearing people’s cheers — there’s nothing like it. It’s also such a satisfying feeling to work on something for a long time and see it all come together beautifully. I am happy to say that my second and final TDS was definitely the best!
I wish I had known about the cultural showcases and how they open for students of all backgrounds to participate when I was a freshman! Besides the Diwali Showcase, there are the following upcoming showcases: Lunar New Year Festival (LNYF), Cafe Con Leche, Harambee, and Carnival. Dancing in the showcases are a great way to make friends, bond with friends, learn more about different cultures, learn to balance school with fun, perform, and have such fun overall! I hope y’all enjoyed reading about my TDS experience!