The Signal

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Monday April 15th

‘Squid Game’-inspired dances win big at Jersey Jalwa

<p><em>Minnesota Junoon performing their winning routine. (Photo by Madison Anidjar / Staff Writer)</em></p>

Minnesota Junoon performing their winning routine. (Photo by Madison Anidjar / Staff Writer)

By Madison Anidjar
Staff Writer 

At Saturday’s Jersey Jalwa, the University of Minnesota–Junoon and the University of California–Riverside Aag took home first and second places, both with routines inspired by the Netflix hit show “Squid Game.”

Minnesota Junoon danced to a mix of Indian music and songs like “King’s Dead” by Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar and “I Ran (So Far Away)” by A Flock of Seagulls, crafting a story about two of their dancers, Ameya and Shivani, who decide to accept an offer to participate in the deadly game portrayed in the show.

Since 2017, Bollywood fusion dance teams from across the country have come to the College for Jersey Jalwa. Each year, eight teams from different schools compete to bring home a trophy. 

Hosts Pranav Ravipati and Aryan Kapadia entertained the crowd with quips about Indian parents and the college’s tuition prices, but still made sure to highlight the importance of the event. Kapadia, a junior biology major, spoke on stage with pride about his involvement with the event.

“In today’s day and age, it's amazing to be able to celebrate Indian culture in America,” he said.

This year, teams from New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Houston and other schools competed on the main stage in Kendall Hall. Last year’s winner, the NYU Dillagi, took third place with a routine based on the board game Monopoly. Each competing team crafted a performance that told a story. Teams drew on tales ranging from the Greek myth of Medusa to the video game Mortal Kombat.

The Indian Student Association oversees Jersey Jalwa, preparing for the event by finding teams, judges and sponsors. The ISA chooses judges based on their experience with Indian classical and Bollywood dance. 

Jersey Jalwa Co-Director and senior business management major Vaidehi Valera spoke about her favorite parts of overseeing the competition. 

“The week of competition, e-board gets a lot closer, we spend a lot of time together and then the comp day is stressful but super fun and definitely rewarding at the end of the day,” she said.

Each year, the competition raises money for a charity that addresses different issues in South Asian communities. This year, all proceeds from ticket sales go to Ekal Vidyalaya, a nonprofit with a mission to bring “literacy, healthcare, and economic prosperity to remote villages in India.” 

The college’s own Indian classical dance team and Latino dance team, TCNJ Jiva and TCNJ Ritmo Latino, were two of four exhibition teams that did not compete.




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