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Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

BollyWest Performs at National College Board Conference

BollyWest joyfully smiles with their check. Picture via. the College Board.

Niles West’s new and upcoming South-Asian dance club, BollyWest, performed their first production at a bi-annual national conference hosted by the College Board on Nov. 10. The conference was attended by over 1,700 people. BollyWest is specifically designed to be a dance team that focuses on the art of Bollywood dance, unlike South Asian Student Association (SASA), which focuses on all aspects of South Asian culture.

BollyWest was asked to perform at the conference by our Student Activities Director, Caitlin Lucci, who was aware of their new presence. They couldn’t say no to such a great opportunity that would put their names out there. Being the only dance group performing, the team had to put together music and choreography in under a month. They incorporated seven different South Asian songs, with both Cinematic and Bhangra style dance and were presented to the stage by a Niles West alumni.

“Especially because it was Diwali week, the College Board expressed [that] they wanted to see South Asian culture. It was so great to be offered this wonderful opportunity by the College Board as it was a really great inaugural performance for our new group to showcase our club. It was an amazing experience to spend so much time with the girls on our team and feel like an official dance team at our school,” senior captain and club founder Jeslyn Varghese said.

The new club started off as an idea last year and has already come so far. By participating in big events, BollyWest will undoubtedly grow in the near future.

“Originally last year we started this idea from SASA night and we honestly just wanted a space to connect with people here and I thought that was a good way because I had a lot of fun last year. For the future, I’m hoping more people join because I know after our first performance, we already have so many people who want to join so I just want it to grow,” senior captain and club founder Jissa Joseph said.

The team also received $5,000 reward from the College Board for performing. They plan to use the money to buy costumes for upcoming performances, design merchandise and cover other expenses of their team. The money will help the club jumpstart their program and give them more opportunities to engage in.

“The big events are just performing at school assemblies, international night, SASA night and we’ll kinda take it from there but it’s a great starting point. If [the College Board] ever asks us to perform again we’ll definitely be there. They had a great experience excluding the 5k. Even if we didn’t get paid they just had a phenomenal time and were just treated very nicely,” sponsor Raj Patel said.

Regardless of the reward, students enjoyed the experience itself and cannot wait for more to come.

“I really liked the team bonding that we had because I feel like I got a lot closer to all the teammates and I really liked the experience of getting together. We had a little pep session before and it was very encouraging. I do want to do it again, I think it’s good for the team and our chemistry,” senior captain and club founder Hannah Joseph said.

Look out for BollyWest’s showcase at the upcoming winter assembly coming up this February!

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    Mathew VargheseNov 20, 2023 at 12:05 PM