Members of Masti pictured together at one of their performances last year

Cal Poly’s on-campus Bollywood dance club, Masti, recently held virtual auditions for the 2020-2021 academic school year. The club, created by business administration junior Tarika Malhotra in 2019, will begin its virtual season next week.

In past years, Masti choreographers applied to multiple competitions around the country and created a full production number with a storyline, a script and dancing, but since there are no in-person competitions this year, the captains plan on changing their focus. 

“We’re gonna focus our energies towards building a team and community on campus, as well as training dancers with different styles, as well as learning styles for ourselves,” business sophomore and captain of Masti Sahana Satish said.


Video by Blas Alvarado

Although there are no in-person competitions, Masti will be performing in the annual Diwali Banquet put on by Cal Poly’s Indian Student Association (ISA) so the team will be working on rehearsing and piecing together video clips of individual dancers.

The captains will be able to get creative with what they choreograph since there are no guidelines that must be followed for competitions this year, according to Satish.

Aside from rehearsals, Malhotra and the other captains said they have fun activities planned for the team. 

“We’re going to start having practices and then we’ll probably have game nights and team bonding — everything virtual — to keep everyone engaged and interested,” Malhotra said.

Last year, practices were held four to five times a week for two hours and this year will be twice a week for one and half hours.

Malhotra said that she is sad the season will be virtual, but is excited to be able to dance and work with the team again.

“Dancing is not something you would think you can do virtually … but I think it’s really cool that we’re able to still do it virtually and that there are still a lot of people who want to do it virtually,” Malhotra said. 

Some of the challenges Satish and Malhotra expect include picking up the steps, navigating lefts and rights and motivation on Zoom.

“Keeping that energy, keeping that commitment alive is gonna be a little challenging,” Satish said. “Making sure everyone who comes to practice is involved and excited … but hopefully our projects and our videos will be fun enough for people to want to come everyday.”

Physics sophomore Sudheendra Gamoji expects there to be timing and lag issues over Zoom, but has confidence in the team and choreographers. 

“We’re all experienced dancers, so I feel like we can move past this,” Gamoji said. “Tarika started Masti from almost nothing and she got us to competition level in just a couple of months, so I don’t doubt that she and the rest of the captains will be able to move past challenges.”

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