This past weekend, the newly re-branded Bollywood dance team Zinda travelled to Detroit to attend their first competitive dance competition. Formerly known as Masti, the team started about 10 years ago as a non-competitive dance team at Hopkins.
However, in 2014 the team decided that they wanted to become competitive. They have finally begun to implement their goal this year, revamping both their name and their approach to dance.
The team is now comprised of 21 members. Its captains, Senior Monica Majumder, Senior Rahul Sharma and Sophomore Kush Kapadia, are working to prepare the team for competitive success. This year they have focused on improving their technical dancing skills due to competitive encouragement.
Sophomore Jhillika Patel, who has been a member of the team since freshman year, commented on the rebranding and the change of focus of the team.
“More people are involved with all aspects of the team in comparison to last year,” she said in an email to The News-Letter. “We have a larger change in mentality, from a more relaxed, light-hearted mindset of Masti, to the more motivated, dedicated drive of Zinda.”
The team is striving to be recognized not only within the Hopkins community but also nationally. Hence why they are reaching out and applying to various competitions across the country where they will travel to as a team.
This past weekend marked an important step in this transition to national recognition as the group competed in Dhamaal, the first Bollywood fusion dance competition in Detroit. Hosted by Wayne State University, the competition featured eight teams from across the country including Michigan Izzat, Spartan Zaanya, Mazaa, Zara Dance Team, Buckeye Fusion, OSU Nashaa and Michigan TAAL.
Patel explained her team’s sentiments before the competition.
“We feel confident that our effort in practice and as a team overall will enable us to perform well at Dhamaal. The motivation and drive of the team has definitely created a hype for performing our best in the upcoming show,” Patel wrote.
After this first competition, where the team received a lot of positive feedback on their song choice and the storyline of their choreography, Patel expressed her satisfaction with the event.
It was definitely a great, but very tiring experience,” she wrote.
Despite being new to competitions, the majority of Zinda members have a great deal of dance experience in Bollywood dance as well as other styles including classical, kathak, bharatnatyam and hip-hop. Through months of practice, the diverse experiences of members have been combined to create a succinct style within the team.
Eager to continue to showcase the level of dedication they have towards Bollywood, the team will continue to attend several competitions, including one in late February in South Carolina called Aag Ki Raat, hosten by the University of South Carolina.
Patel commented on her excitement for the team and their upcoming competitions.
“We are proud of the team and how far it has come from last year. Last year we could not have even dreamed of making it to where we are now,” she said. “I have been on the team for two years and saw the transition between Masti and Zinda and was amazed at the change in dedication and mindset.”
Though they will be competing around the country, they will remain connected to the Hopkins community by performing around campus throughout the semester. They have already danced at a variety of school dinners and will perform at a Relay for Life event later this year.
On Saturday, Feb. 13, they will be performing in the show “Dil Se” which is a part of the South Asian Students at Hopkins (SASH) showcase. Moreover, later in the semester they will join the JHU Eclectics dance team, another team that aims to combine many forms of dance, for another showcase.