Buckeyes will bring Bollywood and Bhangra to campus this weekend.
Buckeye Mela, the second-largest South Asian dance competition in the nation, is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The event was founded by Ohio State’s Indian American and Indian Student associations, and hosts collegiate dance teams from across the country to compete for prizes.
Shashank Raghavachari, co-director of Buckeye Mela X and a fourth-year in neuroscience said 16 teams will compete on Saturday, consisting of eight Bollywood-fusion teams and eight Bhangra teams. Bollywood-fusion contains Western influences, while Bhangra is a traditional Indian style of dance.
“Bhangra is a traditional dance, it originates in northern India,” Raghavachari said. “It’s very high-energy, very colorful, (a) lot of technique-oriented dance to it and then Bollywood-fusion, really it’s just fusion. It’s Bollywood dance with Western influences like hip-hop, contemporary and modern.”
Raghavachari said competitors can expect a few special additions to the weekend-long event. While they perform once for the public, competitors take part in social events prior to the performance and following. This year, it was expanded from two days to three to add a hip-hop dance workshop and brunch.
Raj Grover, president of OSU’s Indian American Student Association and a fourth-year in marketing, said the Buckeye Mela dance competition began as an addition to a larger event that celebrated South Asian culture.
“There was a few different things that used to go on over the span of the days, like booths and sports competitions,” Grover said. “Then, eventually, the dance competition was added after a couple years.”
Raghavachari said that in addition to being a way to celebrate South Asian culture and arts, Buckeye Mela is a way to give back. Every year, Buckeye Mela partners with a charity, and all proceeds from the show go to that charity.
This year, Buckeye Mela has partnered with Pratham USA, a charity that helps to provide access to quality education for children in rural India. The charity also focuses on providing education to Indian girls who have been pulled out of school by their families.
“In India, a big problem is that if their family comes from a poor background, girls especially find it hard to do further schooling,” Raghavachari said. “Their families usually, they don’t have the funds to provide for even their male kids so their female kids, they pull them out of school by the 10th standard just because in their minds, there’s nothing more that can be accomplished by sending these girls to further schooling.”
Raghavachari said ticket sales for Buckeye Mela X have already skyrocketed compared with previous years, and he hopes more people outside of the South Asian community will come out for the experience.
The Buckeye Mela X performance is on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Mershon Auditorium. Tickets are $8 for OSU students and staff, and $15 for the general public.