APIDAA event wows the audience with Bollywood performers


Amna Jara

Bethany Regan, Akasha Starr and Marcella Raya, professional dancers, delivered a Bollywood dance performance. They incorporated a variety of India style dances and costumes.

Rocio Valdez, A&E Editor

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Affiliates APIDA(A) from Cerritos College is committed to support lifelong learning goals of Asian and Pacific Islander students.

Community members and campus employees therefore invited a group of three female Bollywood Dancers from Blu Dawn Events to perform at the Falcon Square on Jan. 29.

Students were entertained with dance styles form different regions of India, such as Bhangra, Ghumura Folkloric, and other upbeat dances that represent the Desi culture.

The dancers also represented the region with the different costumes.

Dr. Lynn Wang, Financial Aid Counselor and APIDA(A) club Co-Advisor, explained that the term Bollywood was created by the combination of the names Bombay (the city now called Mumbai) and Hollywood. Bollywood, which is based in Mumbai, is India’s largest film industry.

“Bollywood dance is still influenced by Western culture, perhaps evermore so today than when it began,” said Wang.

Elements of the dance includes “the use of frequent costume and location changes during dances, as well as the use of larger dance troupes. The movements have become bolder & more extroverted to capture the audience’s attention.

“The Evolution of Bollywood dance is a process that is entirely Indian and yet cross-cultural at the same time,” Wang said.

Akasha Starr, professional dancer, felt grateful to be able to entertain the students from Cerritos College and present dances from different regions from all over India to give them a little taste of how the culture dance is like.

“I feel like we got more people to come over as we kept dancing. Students were really receptive. There was some really nice smiles and I feel like they have maybe seen the dance but not seen it this way, or [they] have heard the music but not seen the dance,” said Starr.

Starr, who has been dancing for 36 years, explained dance as something very important to her, saying “it brings harmony and balance and allows you to be in different places and different people and represent in hopefully a very appropriate and loving way.”

Marcella Raya, professional dancer, explained how even though she is not Indian, she really appreciates the food, music and culture.

“I wanted to personify the culture and for it to be entertaining and represent India to the best of my ability through movement and dance,” she said.

Bethany Regan, professional dancer, mentioned that even though she probably has a 1% East Asian blood connection, she is very familiar with the culture and was concerned about sharing the culture in a positive and accurate way.

“It feels good to share the culture and have it be received positively,” she said.