Published: February 2016
Each year some 20 undergraduate dance troupes at Boston College spend the better part of fall and spring preparing to compete at the annual AHANA Leadership Council Showdown, held in Conte Forum in April. Among these groups is Masti, the official dance team of the South Asian Student Association, whose Bollywood-inspired blend of traditional Indian and hip-hop styles won Showdown’s culture category in 2014 and 2015. (Masti is a Hindi word for “fun.”) This April, Masti will vie for an unprecedented three-peat title. Director of University photography Gary Wayne Gilbert captured the troupe as it came together in a November rehearsal, prepared for a campus-wide show in December, and reconnected in January. To learn more about Masti, read Boston College Magazine’s “We Are Masti,” in the Winter 2016 issue.
Ram Arivudainambi ’16 (foreground), at the start of a late November practice in the Brighton Dance Studio. Masti has nine members in all.
Rehearsing “Get Low” (a 2014 electronica song with a North African folk melody). Front row, from left: Pavel Gorelov ’16 and Arivudainambi. Back row: Ashruti Patel ’17, Geeta Shanbhag ’18, and Soumya Parashar ’19.
Practicing “partner snaps,” a set of moves created by the group, to “Marjaani,” a song from the 2009 Bollywood film Billu. From left: Patel (obscured), Aash Shrivastav ’16, Arivudainambi, Parashar, Gorelov, and Maddy Chin ’16.
Rehearsing “India Waale” from the 2014 Bollywood action film Happy New Year in the larger, main room of the Brighton Dance Studio. From left: Parashar, Arivudainambi. Craparotta, and Shrivastav. Membership in Masti is open to any undergraduate with a “willingness to have fun,” according to a captain.
Shrivastav (arms outstretched), one of four captains, critiques a run-through.
Rehearsing “Mashallah,” from the 2012 Hindi-English romantic thriller Ek Tha Tiger (“And There Was a Tiger”). From left: Shanbhag (also a captain), Shrivastav, Craparotta, and Ari Ratnaseelan ’16 (another captain).
Most practices end with “circle time,” in which dancers share their highs and lows since the group last met. Clockwise from left: Arivudainambi, Craparotta, Shrivastav, Patel, Shanbhag, Ratnaseelan, and Parashar.
In the Robsham Theater green room on December 2, before the dress rehearsal for a showcase of 11 Boston College dance troupes, organized by the University’s Arts Council.
Foreground, from left: Parashar, Shrivastav, and Arivudainambi. The women wear kamarband belts that will jingle when they dance.
Parashar (left) and Patel en route to the Robsham main stage for rehearsal.
The group confers with Robsham technicians Margaux Villeneuve ’18 (left) and Maggie Snell ’16 about lighting.
Performing thumkas (hip-checks) to “Worth It,” by the American girl group Fifth Harmony.
Rehearsing “Mashallah.” From left: Craparotta, Arivudainambi, and Ratnaseelan. Arivudainambi’s shirt, made of silk, is called a sherwani.
Patel, another captain, adjusts the dancers’ spacing on the Robsham main stage.
Between run-throughs, Shrivastav (left) proposes a choreography change.
Rehearsing “Wiggle Bhangra Remix” in Robsham. From left: Craparotta, Shanbhag, Ratnaseelan, Parashar, and Arivudainambi.
Shanbhag out front during “Wiggle Bhangra Remix.”
Arivudainambi at the center of the final formation of “India Waale.”
Shrivastav rests after a second run-through in Robsham.
Late January downtime in Corcoran Commons. Clockwise from left: Chin, Arivudainambi, Shrivastav, Ratnaseelan, and Gorelov.
Clockwise from lower left: Ratnaseelan, Gorelov, Chin, Arivudainambi, and Shrivastav.