Dandiya Destresser

Irvington students and teachers Ms. McCauley and Mr. Fung dance in a group without sticks. (Photo: Sahil Saxena).

By Sahil Saxena | Staff Writer

On Oct. 30, IHS PTSA held a family fun night for students and teachers to dance with friends and family. However, this was not your ordinary dance, as it included dancing with traditional Indian sticks, fast-paced music, and group coordination. This type of dance is known as dandiya, an Indian traditional folk dance that originated in Gujurat. In this dance, usually an even number of people first form a group. Once the music starts, partners hit their sticks together based on the beat that is playing, and switch at every new set of counts.

PTSA president Ujjwala Gadgil said the primary reason for this event was to release stress for students, as a part PTSA’s health and wellness program.

“We believe that the combination of music, dance, food and friends is bound to be a stress reliever,” she said. “You dress up, look good, learn something new, be a kid, laugh sometimes at yourself and sometimes at others – and no one minds it, have fun making mistakes but still enjoying the moment.”

The dance was a great opportunity to relax and take a break from school, as the mood was laid back and festive. People enjoyed themselves and caught on to the dandiya dance well.

The best thing at the dandiya was the vibe of the people and their spirit of adopting something new at school,” said Smeet Patel, PTSA publicity director.

Even for someone who did not know dandiya, he/she would have had a good time at the dance. All the volunteers were welcoming and they were ready to teach how to use the dandiya sticks.

“One thing that I liked a lot about it was that a bunch of the students met us at the door and taught us how to do it so it wasn’t like a scary experience,” said Ms. McCauley, who participated at the dance. “It was also really encouraging because they didn’t laugh at us when we did it wrong.”