Hannah Goldstein, the “Madonna of Bollywood Dance Journalism,” reports:


In keeping with its exhibitionist tendencies, Dhoom, Columbia’s Bollywood-fusion dance team, opened up rehearsal last night to its hordes of devotees; before an audience of friends, team alums, and general dance lovers, the sixteen-member group rehearsed its official 2009-2010 competition number, which is to be performed this weekend at the Muqabla 2009 event in Buffalo.

According to president Sonya Chandra (CC’11), the dance number tells a story that the board conceives of early in the year; this year’s theme is “Columbia nerd love,” with a Juliet-like heroine and a Romeo who moonlights as a Bollywood dancer. The music, mixed by Chandra, includes short clips of speech that help to convey the storyline, complete with dialogue such as, “I less than three you,” but the piece will ultimately be shown in conjunction with an intro video shot around campus.

Displayed prominently for inspiration before the team on the window overlooking the panoramic view of Morningside Heights was an image of Indian dance star Madhuri Dixit, the so-called “Madonna of Bollywood dance.” The team’s co-founders, who started the group in 2007 to fill the Bollywood dance gap at Columbia, were also on hand to offer support for the dancers. “We love dancing. We’ve left it in good hands. . . We’re sure they’ll do great,” said co-founder and alum Suruchi Ahuja of the team.

The audience seemed to echo this sentiment, punctuating the upbeat music with frequent bursts of cheering and applause, which in turn further energized the dancers. “This our favorite part, just performing for friends,” Chandra said during a break, as team members stretched, re-hydrated, and socialized with spectators before running through the piece again, even more tightly. The energy was high and the tone was one of great optimism about the coming tournament. With a first-place and third-place prize to its name already this school year, things were looking promising for the team. Indeed, last night’s rehearsal suggested that there are fates far worse than Dhoom.