Increasing cultural diversity through dancing

Indopak fosters student relationships through its five different dance teams

By Brian Ling and Evelyn Wang

From introducing novel styles of dance to building relationships, co-president of Indopak, senior Roopa Srinivas said the club aims to spread awareness about Indian and Pakistani cultures.

Indopak’s classical team performs on the quad stage during multicultural week. (Photo by Erin Loh)

“We have five dance teams that focus on styles of dance from different parts of India because India itself is so diverse,” Srinivas said. “We have socials and events that celebrate Indian culture, and we bring that to the school community so they can experience the culture as well.”

Indopak has not only introduced Indian culture to the student body but has also helped members immerse themselves in their heritage, the captain of Nashaa,  one of Indopak’s many teams, Sania Khanzode said. Khanzode, a junior, said Indopak provided her with a community, which was something she did not have while growing up in the United States.

It’s really nice because my culture used to be something I was a little bit ashamed of because I didn’t have a lot of Indian friends,” Khanzode said. “Indopak gave me a community where [being Indian] was something I could embrace.”

Member, junior Thea Gomard said she joined Indopak because a lot of her friends were members and she also wanted to learn a new dance style.

“Indopak is so different from cheer, [which is] what I’m used to, because in cheer, you’re supposed to be really sharp and clean,” Gomard said. “For Bhangra, you get to be a little more loose, which is nice.”

In terms of growth, Khanzode said being an officer for Indopak has helped her immensely with leadership skills, which she has applied to other aspects of life. 

“I applied to be an officer and it was a lot of fun, hosting our first in-person day after COVID,” she said. “Obviously I wanted to be an officer again because it was a really good time and you get to see what goes into planning these really big events such as Sapnay.”

Furthermore, Srinivas said the club is trying to build back its membership to increase participation and encourages people to join.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t have experience, [because] it’s not necessary. We teach you everything,” Srinivas said. “People are a little bit scared that they’ll fail, but I definitely think it’s a really good experience for anyone to have.”