“Junoon” is just a few short days away on Nov 12! Shruti Laya is Wellesley Association for South Asian Cultures’ (WASAC’s) annual culture show, and it is the most magical and colorful night of the year, to say the least. This year, over seventy performers will grace the Alumnae Auditorium stage to celebrate the culture and arts of the South Asian subcontinent.
Started in the late 1990s, Shruti Laya has become one of the biggest student-led events of the year with over three hundred attendees! ‘Shruti’ means musical pitch, and ‘Laya’ refers to movement or rhythm, and we hope to showcase these two aspects of South Asia through a celebration of arts that include dance, music, spoken word and poetry, and student-directed videos.
The theme for this year’s culture show is ‘Junoon’, which means passion in Urdu, a language spoken in Pakistan and also in Northern India. Through this theme, we hope to showcase the myriad of passions that are encompassed within Wellesley’s South Asian community, some of which may be academic, artistic or athletic. Other passions may be fun and unprecedented!
Building upon last year’s theme of ‘Ekta’, unity and identity within the South Asian subcontinent, ‘Junoon’ will feature acts from across the subcontinent. High energy dance forms such as Bhangra and Raas from North India, as well as traditional street dance from South India and Sri Lanka will be showcased. A semi-classical dance will bring South Asia’s long history of storytelling through dance to the stage, and Nepali Naach will celebrate both the traditional and contemporary ideas that constitute modern Nepali society.
Student-made videos will take us to the rural villages of Sri Lanka and guide us through a dialogue about issues and events in contemporary South Asia. Three spoken word performances will showcase the intersection between identity, social structures, and political issues. We are also excited to welcome Dahlia Rawji ’16 back to Wellesley to speak about her work at Barakat, Inc., a non-profit that operates sustainable schools and school systems in rural areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Each year, part of the proceeds from Shruti Laya are donated to an organization that works either in South Asia or with South Asia(n)-related issues and this year, we are excited to partner with Barakat, Inc.!
Personally as a junior, the actual show is more than just a showcase of the cultures and passions and talents within WASAC. Shruti Laya is a celebration of community—Wellesley’s own world of South Asian culture and community. What I look back fondly upon months or even years after each show are the countless laughs, jokes, late-night dance practices and the many, many missed steps, off-key notes, and bad takes and bloopers. These very mistakes are what help me bond with my South Asian siblings here at Wellesley. Through these “mistakes,” we are able to become better performers, but also stronger and more confident individuals as we teach others steps and lyrics and practice lines with one another. Most importantly, we are able to weave the threads of our South Asian culture and heritage into the identities and personas we have created here at Wellesley.
So please join us — over seventy performers, tech and stage crew, and a myriad of sponsors and well-wishers — as we celebrate passion, arts, culture, and most importantly, community, at Shruti Laya 2016: “Junoon”!