Diwali Dancer Spotlight: Kriti Prasad

Because I am abroad, I did not have the chance to see this year’s Diwali performance. I have always been interested in the different cultural and creative groups that Wash U has to offer, so of course, I was disappointed that I could not attend. I turned to my good friend and Diwali participant, Kriti Prasad, so I could gain knowledge about the celebration even from miles away. Below, please find my interview with her.

How has the Ashoka community affected your Wash U experience?

The Ashoka community has greatly affected my WashU experience. It has given me an outlet through which to embrace my culture (for example, through dancing in Diwali) and to form relationships with those who grew up with similar backgrounds to me. Moreover, Ashoka helped me find my passion for leadership my freshman and sophomore years as I served as the Co-Social Chair for the 2014 Ashoka’s Executive Board. I am thankful for the lasting friendships and opportunities that the organization has given me.

Is there a certain message you try to express when you dance for the audience?

Since the age of 6, dance has maintained a special place in my heart. From performing Bharatnatyam (an East Indian classical dance form) for over fifteen years to being a part of the WashU Garba team for the last three, dance has allowed me not only entertain but also to uplift audience members so that they can share in my love and joy for the art form. More generally, though, this year, WashU Garba, as the only all-women’s dance team, aimed to channel the idea of “girl power” into the show by including Beyonce’s “Run the World” into our set. I think I speak on behalf of the whole team when I say that this song gave true purpose and substance to our set, and may have been our best performance yet!

How is Wash U’s Diwali unique from other celebrations?

Many schools around the US celebrate Diwali with dance performances and showcases as it is a time for celebration of good over evil and triumph of light over darkness. That being said, what distinguishes WashU’s Diwali from many others, is that this show is completely, 100% student run. To be able to put on such a professional-level show each year is truly awesome. I am lucky to have been a part of this show for all four years and I cannot wait to come back next year, as an alum, to see what these amazing dance teams put on next!

What is the biggest challenge you face during Diwali preparation?

As one of three choreographers for this team for the past two years, the biggest challenge is balancing school, choreography meetings, and dance practice. It is so easy to get consumed with the excitement and anticipation of a show we all work so hard to prepare for. I can safely say that sometimes my academics do take a hit, but I can also say that the performing at Edison each year and seeing how excited the audience gets to see us dance make that struggle so worth it.

If you are interested, you can learn more about Diwali on Ashoka’s Facebook Page, linked here: https://www.facebook.com/ashokawustl/