Dancing with the Sticks

By: Brad Cerasani, Honorary Tbird


Saturday night The Indian Subcontinent Club (ISCC) hosted “Dandia Night”, a night of dancing traditional Gujurat dances as part of the Hindu Navratri Festival. Or, as kindly translated by some Indian friends for a caucasian male from central Canada, “Wobble Night”.

We arrived at Greenway High School shortly after 9:30 to a crowd of people congregated outside the school’s gymnasium, largely dressed in traditional Indian attire. We ditched our shoes and made our way inside where we were met by a chaotic human cyclone of colour, dance, and live music. With about half our group born and raised in India, no time was wasted before we joined the flurry of movement circling the gym. Our friends attempted to explain the steps to the dance while we rapidly circled the shrine, but this impromptu education felt somewhat like learning the game of chess while skydiving. A few rotations in and I thanked years of formal drum education for helping me lock on to the hand clap that came on the 4 of every measure, though this clap also signalled a change of direction that my clumsy feet seldom agreed with.

If the atmosphere were any less chaotic I fear I would’ve been more hesitant to leave my comfort zone and join in, but this was anything but a militarist country line dance. It was easy to lose yourself in the energy present in that room, let alone the fact that all this was taking place in a high school gym in the Arizona desert. It was endearing to take part in an event with such colour and life, rooted in rich cultural and religious traditions thousands of years old. Apart from all else, Dandia Night served as a subtle reminder to this Canadian that in other parts of the world, people get together with such colour and intensity for something other than a game of hockey.

Some of the Videos from Last Night: