Sometimes, it is easy to forget about my pre-college life, since I am so used to the bustling atmosphere of USC (even though I have only been here for a little over a year!). But before I came here, I was involved with quite a few activities that I thought I would never be able to continue. For example, I am classically trained in Indian dance (Odissi) and I performed through southern California showcasing this rarer dance form. I started training when I was about 8, and continued until I graduated high school. Odissi was a big part of my life, beyond just the physical dancing aspect, because I felt like it really connected me back to my culture. I am half Indian, and it was sometimes hard to really remind myself of the rich heritage that I have. Dance was my way of learning more about the ancient religions, stories and languages that I was not really exposed to as a kid.
But coming to USC, I realized that there were so many cultural and religious organizations that really didn’t exist in my high school. I’m not just speaking for Indian culture, but for many of the diverse backgrounds of the students here. I know Sam is involved with USC Hillel and many of my friends have found similar communities on campus. I was really looking for a community like this, but I wanted to connect it to my dancing background. I initially found out about USC Dristi through the Involvement Fair my freshman year. I didn’t realize that there were so many opportunities on campus for someone with my background, and I was really glad that I found it.
USC Drishti is the classical Indian dance group on campus, composed of dancers from all backgrounds. There are 7 different classical dance forms, and we usually can represent 3 or 4 of these at any given time. Although practices were very late at night, I managed to make it to all of them first semester. I choreographed and taught multiple sections of our performance piece, as we prepared for the Hindu Student Organization’s Diwali event. This was a huge event for us, and I had so much fun preparing and performing in it. Check out some of the cool pictures below!
Unfortunately, I was not able to stay with the team because I had some major conflicts with practice times second semester. It definitely sucked, but you gotta choose your battles and I probably could not have stuck with everything I joined freshman year. I do regret not making more of an effort to get involved with the dance group, but I found a great group of girls that are very welcoming and who taught me so much about my culture. I have occasionally worked with them as a choreographer for dance items, but I have not performed since that first time. Though I haven’t stuck with it, I am grateful for the opportunity to even be exposed to an organization like this on-campus, and it was certainly a huge part of my first semester here.