Freshman Ananya Vuppula Lives the Bollywood Dream through Cultural Dancing


Courtesy of Ananya Vuppula

Freshman Ananya Vuppula and her group perform a Bollywood dance at the SASA cultural show on April 16. They danced to “Pinga,” “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” and “Ghagra.” She said her favorite part was dancing with her friends and getting to know them better.

Flashing lights, fancy attire and dramatic plot might be some of the things that first come to mind when thinking of Bollywood. Within the genre of film that incorporates different aspects of Indian culture with upbeat cinematography, there is always dancing or music that enhances the audience experience.

Freshman Ananya Vuppula particularly finds joy in performing Bollywood dancing, a dance form that elaborates on these same features of the film genre paired with graceful motions and stylistic music. 

For Vuppula, Bollywood dancing is not only a passion, but also a segway to strengthen her well-roundedness as a dancer. Although she has been Bollywood dancing since she was six, she has recently started to hone her skills in contemporary dance and hip-hop dance. She says that she recently learned that while spinning in Indian dancing is done on the heel, in the modern style, spinning is done on the toes. 

“I’ve always done it. It’s the first type of dance I’ve been introduced to and also it’s so upbeat, and even when it’s not upbeat I can lip-sync the lyrics and I can add emotion to it, so I feel like it’s a way for me to emote,” Vuppula said. 

Vuppula’s love for Bollywood goes beyond dancing to film. Her favorites are “Badrinath Ki Dulhania,” “Devadas” and movies by director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Watching such films has helped Vuppula learn more about her own culture.

“There have been movies that represented certain parts of India because India is so large that there are so many different religions and languages,” Vuppula said. “I’ve also learned Hindi through watching the movies for so long, and Hindi is not my first language, so that I’ve been able to understand other family friends who speak Hindi, and I have been able to speak it as well, which is really cool.”

[ICSA] is a place where you can express yourself and interact with people. It’s just a way we can express our culture, so if you wanna see more about Indian culture, it’s just a fun thing to go.

— Kaushi Palliboyina

Freshman Kaushi Palliboyina has known Vuppula since before kindergarten as a close family friend and has witnessed Vuppula’s passion for dance. Pallliboyina says they were introduced to Bollywood movies first when they saw their parents.

“I think it really shaped her personality, and it made her the person who she is because she is really big on Indian culture, and dancing overall made her express herself,” Paliboyina said. 

Although Palliboyina specializes in classical Indian dancing, she says that she will be performing with Vuppula in the dance showcase after school on campus outside the dance room on May 25, where they will dance to Bollywood music.

“We choreographed a little bit, and it’s like Bollywood songs, and it’s kind of like another showcase we did for SASA,” Palliboyina said. “[ICSA] is a place where you can express yourself and interact with people. It’s just a way we can express our culture, so if you wanna see more about Indian culture, it’s just a fun thing to go.”