After a successful past season, Northwestern’s Bollywood dance team Anubhav continued their victorious streak, taking first place at the Legends Bollywood Dance Championship in California in April, also winning Best Choreography and Best Costumes. The team's creative director Yuri Doolan was awarded Best Male Lead. Senior and team captain Ushasi Naha said the victories were “a dream come true.”
Anubhav has a history of winning; they’ve won national competitions three out of their past four seasons, making them the only team in the country to do so.
This year, though, was particularly special because of the message the team conveyed through their show. At the suggestion of Artistic Director Yuri Doolan, they chose to use Life of Pi as a theme for their dance, using it as “a metaphor for the immigrant experience,” Naha said. “We hoped that through this theme, we could reclaim the narrative of the hardships and sacrifices immigrants endure for the chance at a better life.”
Naha attributes the team’s success to their commitment to South Asian styles and themes. South Asian influence touches every aspect of their show, which Naha said, makes them stand out from competitors.
Anubhav has worked on this piece for over a year, coordinating their costumes, music, choreography, and incorporating their signature South Asian influence throughout. Anubhav puts in countless hours of work, practicing up to six times a week sometimes for more than four hours.
“Being a captain and creating the Life of Pi show is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but it is also by far the most meaningful,” Naha said. “The hundreds and hundreds of hours we poured into the show was all worth it for those few beautiful moments on stage and that indescribable feeling when they called Anubhav as the national champions.”
Aside from their compatibility as dancers, the team nickname, “Anufamily,” shows how close the members are outside of just performing. “We always tell the team to dance for each other,” Naha said. “I see the love that our team has for each other in a million little ways, whether it is screaming for each other side stage or exchanging hugs in between run-throughs. Being on Anubhav requires a lot of heart and dedication, and I don't think it would be possible if we did not continually support and depend on one another.”
The Legends Championship was the team’s last competition of this school year, but be sure to stay up to date with Anubhav’s upcoming season on their Facebook page.