Bollywood enters campus with a new dance team: Rowan Rangeela

Rangeela at their audition workshop. - Copy Editor / Rianna Moses

Rowan University’s new, coed Bollywood fusion dance team Rowan Rangeela is ready to spread its talent and culture to the rest of campus with exciting new members and upcoming performances. 

Bollywood dance has slowly gained popularity in American universities and Rowan Rangeela can’t wait to represent the university while still staying true to its Indian roots. 

Bollywood dance originated in India and is a mix of different dance styles like bhangra, jazz, Arabic, and hip-hop. It tells a story through technique, emotion, and costumes. 

“The club originated a while back however, it was going to be terminated when I started college,” said Umali Patel, co-captain of the new team. “I knew someone on the E-board at the time and told her I could take over the team along with a few friends in order to keep Rangeela alive.”

Patel is very familiar with Bollywood dance as she has been dancing Bharatanatyam, a style that originated from South India, for over 10 years, and even has experience teaching private dance lessons which really gave her the confidence to recreate the team from scratch. 

Last year, Rowan Rangeela held auditions and put together a team of 24 dancers. The team performed in events like Rowan University Philippine-American’s (RUPAC) Kababayan and the South Asian Student Association Formal (SASA). They have slowly built a name for themselves and have had a bigger turnout this fall. 

Rowan Rangeela also had their fair share of struggles working their way up as a team since rebuilding a dance group is not easy. 

“Trying to figure out how to establish a schedule and choreography that intrigues everyone was probably one of the toughest parts while starting up the team,” said Trina Basu, co-captain of the team. “The first year was a big learning curve for us, but we’re eager to use what we learned last year to improve our club and team.” 

With an E-board that consists of three captains, two choreography chairs, a costume coordinator, and other positions, Rowan Rangeela feels confident that their team will only get bigger and better this upcoming year. 

The team had their first official interest meeting on Sept. 11 and hosted an audition workshop that taught potential new members choreography that will be used for tryouts that are taking place for the rest of the week. 

Rowan Rangeela’s first performance as a team will take place on Oct. 7, celebrating Navratri — an Indian Hindu festival. The performance will be part of an event called “Navratri Night,” which will be hosted by Rowan After Hours (RAH), the South Asian Student Association (SASA), and Rowan Rangeela.

With Rowan Rangeela being a Bollywood dance team, Rowan University is proving to be a campus with cultural diversity and an inclusive environment. 

“There are so many South Asian students who feel like they have not had a connection to their culture,” said Tulika Khanna, one of the co-captains. “We feel that Rangeela is an amazing way to reconnect.”

One of Rowan Rangeela’s goals is to build a team of strong dancers, however; building a team of good friends is something that is more important to them as last year, the team became a family. The current E-board is hoping for the same dynamic and is excited about what the year brings.  

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