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Since aboriginal grade, I’ve been advancing Carnatic music, a anatomy of classical Indian music. To be frank, this sometimes feels like my abandoned personality trait. I accept animate memories of me crumbling invitations to altogether parties and sleepovers in elementary and average academy because I had a music assignment that aforementioned black or the abutting morning. I accept no regrets, though. The branch of South Asian accomplished arts is so all-inclusive and has consistently remained an basic allotment of who I am as a person. In fact, it alike helped me adjudge to aces my major, complete engineering. 

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Given that I had such a able affection for this art anatomy growing up, I knew I capital to abide it in college. The University of Michigan was the absolute abode for me to do so aback it had Michigan Sahana, a apprentice alignment aimed to advance and bottle classical Indian music and dance. Michigan Sahana is aloof one archetype of a apprentice alignment that has acclimatized students’ passions. One of the admirable genitalia about the University of Michigan is how assorted the apprentice organizations are, abnormally in the branch of South Asian accomplished arts. Abreast from Michigan Sahana, I was advantageous abundant to accretion acumen into bristles South Asian accomplished arts teams — Michigan Bhangra Team, Michigan Manzil, Michigan Izzat, Michigan Taal and Michigan Wolveraas — and apprehend claimed accounts from actuality on anniversary of these teams, comparing and allegory anniversary acquaintance to my own. Through the advice of these interviewees and my own claimed experiences, I address this allotment in hopes to actuate you to accompany a South Asian accomplished arts organization, or at atomic accumulate them on your radar. 


Michigan Sahana – Akshay Gopinathan, Sreeram Panicker and myself

Michigan Sahana aims to advance and bottle classical Indian music and dance. 

Both Gopinathan and Panicker heard of Michigan Sahana through their families; Gopinathan through his cousin, and Panicker through his earlier brother. In my case, I begin out about Michigan Sahana through my own claimed analysis aback aboriginal applying to colleges, and seeing what extracurriculars anniversary academy had to offer. I vividly bethink scrolling abundantly through MaizePages over the summer, account bottomward what apprentice organizations I should accumulate an eye out for at club fairs like Festifall and Winterfest.

Gopinathan, Panicker and I accept been practicing classical Indian music aback we were kids. Panicker has been advancing classical Indian percussion, accepting played tabla for bristles years and currently training in mridangam for over 10. Gopinathan has been singing Carnatic music for over 13 years. Admitting additionally growing up affection altered styles of music, the three of us knew classical Indian music was article we banned to accord up in college.

“Music has consistently been a big allotment of my life, I couldn’t brainstorm a activity afterwards it. Alike a baby aperture feels like article is missing. There’s consistently article agreeable activity on central my arch — like I’ll consistently be walking about the abode singing songs that I learned, actuality like that. So, accomplishing music in academy was never a question, it was article I was gonna do,” Gopinathan expressed. 

Panicker bidding that he believes “pushing yourself artistically is important for your mind,” and Michigan Sahana gives him the absolute way to do so.

Along with the actuality that we’ve been practicing this art anatomy for over a decade, added factors encouraged us to abide advancing classical Indian music in college. Panicker saw how abounding abutting accompany his brother fabricated from actuality a allotment of Michigan Sahana and was aggressive to anatomy his own amphitheater afterwards accession on campus. “The Carnatic music apple is so assorted and you get to accommodated bodies from altered genitalia of the apple and country,” Panicker explained. 

I’ve never been amidst by a association like Michigan Sahana afore advancing to the University of Michigan. Growing up, I didn’t accept abundant of a association focused on classical Indian music. I would acquisition myself abiding about my gurus’ abode hours afterwards my assignment had ended, sparking chat about Carnatic music theory, aback I absolutely didn’t accept anyone abroad to allocution to about this accountable with. Gopinathan had additionally never been a allotment of an alignment like Michigan Sahana either, and says that actuality a allotment of an alignment this ample has helped him strengthen his accord skills, such as backbone and accessible mindedness. For me as well, actuality allotment of such a ample association has helped me abound as not abandoned a musician, but as a leader, a person, and as a friend. In contrast, Panicker has consistently begin himself intertwined with a classical Indian music community; the majority of his ancestors pursues classical Indian music, so he consistently begin himself amidst by performers and shows, so Michigan Sahana wasn’t annihilation awfully different. 

As students, we all apprentice to adept the art of time management. Fortunately, the three of us haven’t had issues acclimation Michigan Sahana with our circadian schedules. Michigan Sahana is not a aggressive biking team, so associates aren’t appropriate to be as animate throughout the year. We are able to aces and accept what contest we appetite to participate in based on how arranged our schedules are during that time of year. I’m advantageous abundant to serve as the accepted Concert Chair of Michigan Sahana, and alike captivation this position on the Michigan Sahana Board has not been difficult to administer with my schedule. Anybody on the Michigan Sahana Board is acutely compassionate and patient, and affair times are abundantly adjustable and do not booty up too abundant time. Moreover, we all accomplish time for Michigan Sahana because of how abundant this alignment affairs to us.

The time and accomplishment we put into this alignment has provided us with memories to aftermost us a lifetime. For me, admitting difficult to choose, the best memorable adventures accept been every time I’ve performed live. Actuality on a date alongside my best accompany and mentors, showcasing the abilities I’ve been putting hours of assignment into perfecting, with my accompany and ancestors in the admirers will consistently be a base experience. For Gopinathan, it was putting calm our best contempo bounce conference, Kala Sagara. This was the aboriginal time we were accumulating a all-around conference, involving eight schools from beyond the country, in a absolutely basic format. Seeing how the weeks of assignment assuredly pulled calm in the end fabricated us feel like we were on billow nine, and it was a absolutely altered experience. For Panicker, it’s been about abutting with his roots as a South Asian student. 

The abstraction of ability consistently lingers in my apperception as a South Asian woman. I’ve been advantageous abundant to accept consistently been absorbed in Indian ability aback I was a kid. From food, to language, to clothing, to holidays, to ball and to art, I’ve consistently been able to accumulate up and affix with my ability in that way, so abutting Michigan Sahana acquainted easy; there were no big ability shocks. Panicker mentioned that classical Indian music is aloof one way we accept been able to break affiliated with our ability and alike our relatives. “It’s article my grandparents and my ancestors in India and I can allocution about together, and that acumen abandoned gives me a acumen to accumulate up with the art form.” Michigan Sahana pushes us to accumulate up with the ability and break connected. Gopinathan brought up the point that our ancestors grew up with this art form, and they would not appetite us to accord up article that’s been a allotment of our ancestry for generations.

“Michigan Sahana was the aboriginal faculty of association I got on campus. We all accept this altered connection. You’ll acquisition your abode here. You’ll apprentice from others and others will apprentice from you. (Michigan Sahana) embraces you with accessible arms,” Gopinathan explained. 


Michigan Bhangra Aggregation – Anamika Kannan

The Michigan Bhangra Aggregation is the University of Michigan’s arch bhangra team. 

Though Kannan is accomplished in bharatanatyam and was on a aggressive raas aggregation before, she approved out to acquisition article new to try. Afterwards analytic through amusing media and talking to friends, she absitively to try out for the Michigan Bhangra Team. Kannan has been dancing for 17 years, but has never accomplished in bhangra. The abandoned acknowledgment she had afore aggravating out for the aggregation were student-run workshops she would appear actuality and there.

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“In academy I capital to break complex in music and ball whether that was the aforementioned appearance or not,” Kannan explained. “I anticipation it would be absorbing to try article new. I acquainted acerb about music and dance. I acquainted like I vibed and I shined in a lot of ways. I acquainted like I had my basement and acquainted a able draw appear those things. No amount what, I was gonna break affiliated somehow.” Kannan additionally explained that actuality on a aggressive ball aggregation like the Michigan Bhangra aggregation is article you abnormally get to try in college. 

Though Kannan was on a aggressive ball aggregation before, she mentioned that “it was absolute different.” Authoritative the about-face from her antecedent raas aggregation to the Michigan Bhangra aggregation “was added challenging. It was beneath intuitive. Over years of competing, the aggregation has accustomed themselves in the circuit, (so) the affection is high. There’s an apprehension of you as a aggregation affiliate to advocate the team.” However, Kannan mentioned that every affiliate of the aggregation does a abundant job in attractive out for anniversary other, and the alteration is bound fabricated a lot easier. 

The Michigan Bhangra Aggregation is a aggressive biking team, acute associates to biking to competitions beyond the country for the adventitious to attempt and win awards. Kannan declared how animated her agenda gets, abnormally during antagonism season, aback academics booty a aback seat. However, she was able to allotment her secrets on how to break organized, abnormally aback she’s traveling and competing.

“It’s a connected struggle, (but) I put things in my agenda (and) I try to agenda out aggregate I’m accomplishing in the day. Staying advanced in your classes, be(ing) advanced of everything, authoritative abiding you accent assertive things and communicat(ing) accept helped me.”

All the time and accomplishment put in has been account it. For Kannan, the best acceptable acquaintance she has is actuality on stage. 

Kannan recalls from her best contempo competition, “It’s absolute rewarding. Throughout the year and before, you accomplish a lot of choices that’ll be accessory to you accomplishing able-bodied and allowance the team, (like) demography a backseat on added things, (and) do(ing) your part. But aback you’re on stage, everybody’s accomplishing their part. We’re all able to accord aback to one another. You get to accomplish eye acquaintance with anybody on your aggregation and aloof accept fun with anniversary other. Best importantly, we’re all there because we appetite to be. Bhangra is aloof so abundant fun and (it’s) such a admirable time to be on stage. The music is so active and meant to be that way. It’s so fun to aloof be in the moment and absolutely adore yourself.”

Aside from assuming on stage, Kannan mentioned that she loves seeing “the mix amid all of these altered styles of dance. Anniversary (style) gives you article different.”

Though bhangra is not a allotment of the ability Kannan grew up with, she finds a faculty of pride and albatross in advancement the traditions of this art form. “The art anatomy is still animate and advancing and befitting it that way is absolutely important for me to advocate these folk traditions. Tradition, built-in accent and built-in art are absolutely important to me, wherever they may appear from,” Kannan explained.

“If you accept a adulation for ball and dancing with added bodies that adulation dance, this is the abode to be. Alike if you aloof appetite to apprentice a new art form,” the Michigan Bhangra Aggregation is the absolute abode to do so, Kannan explained.


Michigan Taal – Sonali Narayan 

Michigan Taal is the University of Michigan’s arch all-girls South Asian admixture ball team.

Narayan heard about Michigan Taal through a ancestors friend, who was captain at the time. Narayan has been dancing for over 12 years, and has accomplished in assorted altered styles, such as bharatanatyam and ballet, and has done a lot of choreography on her own. Narayan explained, “From a adolescent age I abstruse how to acknowledge all the altered ball styles. I capital to abide my ball adventure and capital to try article different. Ball is such a huge allotment of my life, it’d be awe-inspiring to stop all of a sudden. I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t dancing. I adulation choreography, (and) I acquainted the charge to accumulate on accomplishing that in college. I admired the vibe of Taal and knew this is the aggregation I capital to be on.” 

Michigan Taal is additionally a aggressive biking team, so Narayan abstruse to adept the art of time administration aboriginal on in her academy career. She explained, “It helped to be cool active so I was afflicted to administer my time. I was abhorrent at managing my time, (but Michigan Taal) fabricated it so easy. We would accept black practices, so I would do all of my academy assignment during the day. That way, we were aloof able to ball and not anticipate about annihilation else.” Admitting jam packed, antagonism division is Narayan’s admired time of the year, aback anybody on the aggregation is able to get cool close. 

Aside from competing, Narayan additionally mentioned how auspicious it is to break in blow with her roots. She mentioned how she’s “never been broken from (her) roots,” so the cultural aspect wasn’t a difficult alteration for her. 

Narayan never had acquaintance actuality on a aggressive aggregation like Michigan Taal. “You get pushed appropriate into it, but not in a bad way,” Narayan explained. “Our captains and aggregation did a absolutely acceptable job of absolution us apperceive what we’re accepting into.” 

As allotment of a Bollywood admixture ball team, you’re apparent to altered styles of ball such as bhangra, south-Indian, classical, contemporary, etc. So although Narayan has accomplished in abounding altered styles growing up, she explained that “our aggregation does a acceptable job befitting them separate. It’s not an issue.”

Evidently, Michigan Taal is a affable community. “It’s aloof so fun. It’s aloof such a fun acquaintance and it’s a acceptable way to accommodated people. It’s article we can all appear calm and be abutting about,” Narayan explained. 


Michigan Manzil – Sejal Buch 

Michigan Manzil is the co-ed Bollywood admixture ball aggregation at the University of Michigan.

Buch had acknowledgment to aggressive admixture ball teams aback she was in aerial school. She was able to appear shows at Michigan State University and watch their teams perform. Curious as to what the University of Michigan’s agnate was, she begin Michigan Manzil. 

Buch has been dancing for over 11 years and knew ball was article she capital to abide in college, and ultimately absitively on advancing Michigan Manzil. “I aloof had so abundant fun at Manzil tryouts and the bodies are so fun,” Buch recalled.

Michigan Manzil is addition aggressive biking team, so aback asked how she manages her time, Buch responded with “we don’t,” which I anticipation was funny, but genuine. However, she continued, “you get acceptable at accepting actuality done in the pockets of time you have.”

The time and accomplishment put into this aggregation is account it. Buch explained that associates “put in about the agnate of a allotment time job, and so to see all the assignment appear calm at the end” is absolutely a advantageous experience. She gave examples of how she’s been in practices that ranged from 7 p.m. to 10 pm, from 6 p.m. to 3 am, from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. and — the longest convenance affair of her career — 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. 

Buch explained that alike the acquaintance of traveling and affair added teams has been rewarding.

Aside from traveling and competing, Buch mentioned that addition advantageous aspect of Michigan Manzil was seeing and acquirements about so abundant of the pop ability of India. 

This isn’t Buch’s aboriginal acknowledgment to actuality on a aggregation like this, though. Admitting she’s never been on a aggressive aggregation afore Michigan Manzil, she took allotment in association akin teams and says that the acknowledgment she had from those association akin teams was accessible in transitioning to actuality on a aggressive aggregation like Michigan Manzil. 

Michigan Manzil “makes the campus feel abate in a acceptable way,” Buch explained. “It’s a abundant way to accomplish friends, abnormally advancing in as a freshman.” 


Michigan Izzat – Ashwin Surapaneni, Sushanth Sunil 

Michigan Izzat is the University of Michigan’s all-male admixture ball team.

Both Sunil and Surapaneni accept been complex in assuming arts for over a decade. Sunil has been dancing aback he was in seventh grade, and Surapaneni has been dancing aback he was in aboriginal grade.

Surapaneni grew up watching Michigan Izzat perform, and instantly knew it was a association he capital to be a allotment of. Sunil, however, had altered thoughts afterwards assuming in the Indian-American Apprentice Association appearance his apprentice year: “I did IASA my apprentice year and afterwards that I told myself I would never ball on a aggressive team. (But) anybody (said) it was a acceptable time and had acceptable things to say (about Michigan Izzat).”

Michigan Izzat was the aboriginal aggressive aggregation Sunil had been a allotment of. He explained that the alteration at aboriginal “hit (him) like a train,” and that “it was alarming at first.” However, it bound got easier for him and the aggregation was acutely admiring and guiding. For Surapaneni, he’s taken allotment in assorted groups growing up, so Michigan Izzat didn’t feel as altered to him. Similar to added admixture teams, Michigan Izzat infuses techniques of assorted styles of dance, and both Sunil and Surapaneni acknowledgment how the aggregation helps you acclimate automatically to anniversary style, alike if not every appearance is your able suit.

Being on a aggressive biking team, both Sunil and Surapaneni abstruse the art of time management. Aback asked how he balances his time, Sunil replied, “There’s no balance. In the beginning, we had no schedule. One of us would argument ‘yo we accept practice, be actuality by 7.’ Anybody would get there by 8. And we’d be out at 4 a.m.” However, he connected to assure the actuality that “it gets easier, and it’s account it. Actuality on a aggregation like Michigan Izzat teaches you how to accent things.” 

Ultimately, as Surapaneni put it, “if you’re amorous about it, you’ll accomplish the time for it.” 

The time and accomplishment put in has paid off in amazing ways. Sunil and Surapaneni both recalled their best contempo competition, in which Michigan Izzat placed first.

Surapaneni explained, “Our aboriginal antagonism we went to was ass. We were consistently agreement seventh and eighth, so to apprehend them alarm out our name for aboriginal abode was insane. They appear third place, and afresh additional place, and we bethink cerebration to ourselves that there was no way that we would get first. And afresh they alleged out the aboriginal abode winner, Michigan Izzat, and — I’m abiding there’s a video about — all of our aperture alone for a additional afore we all started auspicious and agreeable and jumping. We aloof couldn’t accept it. We were putting in so abundant work, (so) accepting your adamantine assignment pay off was a abundant feeling.”

Sunil said, “Everyone absolved off date and anticipation they dead it. Results aside, that’s the activity you want, and that’s the best feeling.”

Sunil mentioned how actuality a allotment of Michigan Izzat was an aperture aperture to South Asian ability that he hadn’t been apparent to before. Surapaneni mentions how Michigan Izzat is a abundant admonition of his South Asain roots.

For Sunil, the actuality that “you’re able to apprentice so abundant about South Asian culture” is a acumen he encourages others to accompany Michigan Izzat. Surapaneni mentioned that abutting Michigan Izzat “is aloof a abundant way to acquisition abundant people.” 


Michigan Wolveraas – Vyom Iyer 

Michigan Wolveraas is the University of Michigan’s garba-raas team.

Iyer has consistently had a affection for dance. She’s been dancing aback she was two years old, training in styles like bharatanatyam. She explained, “I capital to accumulate dancing. It was a adaptation thing. I don’t apperceive what I would’ve done if it weren’t dancing. I don’t apperceive how I would’ve functioned if I weren’t dancing. Garba-raas was article I’ve consistently capital to do, (so) for me it was affectionate of a breeze (to try out for Michigan Wolveraas).”

Given that Michigan Wolveraas is additionally a aggressive biking team, I had to ask Iyer how she managed her time. She gave the tip of “don’t booty Friday classes,” but additionally gave an analogy: “Just like any added organization, you accept affairs to appear to. It’s no different, except for Michigan Wolveraas, we accept to get on a alike to get to our meetings. So, you apprentice to accomplish time for said meetings, and apprentice to allowance your time accordingly.” 

Guessing that her admired allotment about actuality a allotment of Michigan Wolveraas was actuality on stage, Iyer absolutely had a altered opinion: “I was not acceptable aback I started, aloof because I was new. It was alarming and I was absolute bad but I was learning. I had to convenance like hell. You never stop cerebration about it. You do it in your sleep. So, the all-embracing activity of alive I can do it and I can get bigger is the best acceptable allotment about actuality on the team.” 

Iyer additionally mentioned, “It’s aloof as acceptable to watch your friends. Anybody (on the team) is so nice, it’s simple to be accompany with them in the best way possible. I attending up to anybody on the team.”

Aside from the absolute dancing, Iyer additionally said that “you’re able to apprentice so abounding added little things alike about your own culture” by actuality a allotment of Michigan Wolveraas. 

When allurement Iyer why others should accompany Michigan Wolveraas, she questioned, “Why should you NOT?” She continued, “Raas is so different. It’s a workout. You’re actually bouncing off the walls. Best importantly, though, what makes us altered is that the absolute affect is that we appetite to accept fun.” 


Each of these teams accept been afflicted by COVID-19. Antagonism seasons were cut short, bounce shows were canceled, and we absent time to absorb with anniversary other. However, these teams are accessible to acknowledgment to a hopefully accustomed abatement semester. All of the aggressive ball teams are optimistic that they will be able to biking and attempt for a animate admirers again. Michigan Taal alike has the affair for their accessible set best out, but unfortunately, Narayan was clumsy to acknowledge what it was. Michigan Manzil and Michigan Izzat are amalgamation to anatomy one team, Michigan Manzat, and are aflame to attempt in the ambit as one new team. Michigan Sahana is optimistic to host animate concerts afresh and host our anniversary bounce show, That Brown Show, a affable antagonism amid all of the teams mentioned and more. 

Interviewing this accumulation of bodies has been so humbling, and audition their belief and adventures accept put the branch of South Asian accomplished arts on campus into a accomplished new angle for me. There were moments in every account area I laughed at anniversary interviewee’s faculty of amusement and the belief they shared, and there were moments in every account area I was aggressive by the adventures aggregate by anniversary interviewee. Hopefully, account about these adventures inspires you to accompany one too, whether it’s because you adulation assuming arts, appetite to apprentice added about all-around art forms, or alike aloof to accompany a affable community. Aback it comes bottomward to it, actuality allotment of organizations like these boils bottomward to the belief we acquaint anniversary other, and how we can apprentice from and affect anniversary other. Surapaneni mentioned while abandoning assorted belief and experiences, “One of my admired genitalia about all of this is aloof the belief you get to acquaint people. I beggarly look, I get to acquaint you a agglomeration of belief appropriate now, and that’s affectionate of one of the best parts.”

Please accede altruistic to The Michigan Daily

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