The Rise of Santiago’s Bollywood Dance Club

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Jasmine Hernandez, Staff Writer

An amiable staff, rigorous classes, and leadership are what it takes to create greatness within a school. However, a piece of the puzzle was missing in the Santiago High School community. Every year students are given the opportunity to establish new clubs and shed light on hidden possibilities. The year 2017 marks when Santiago High School met their milestone to enforce cultural representation in extracurricular activities.

Santiago High School has its typical school clubs such as chess, Christian club, and key club. The introduction of The Bollywood Dance Club brought awareness to the culture of India. Ambika Kamboh, now a senior in Santiago High School (Class of 2021), was the founder of the club. After dance being a part of her whole life, Ambika felt alone in her school environment as it lacked a relation to any cultural portrayal. Furthermore, Ambika dreamt for a change of stereotypes set in the culture of India and wanted to permanently erase the cultural relativism that she and other high schoolers have experienced. As she craved for her school to have Bollywood influence and cultural diversity, Santiago High School accepted the Bollywood Dance Club to set out on the many goals the members wished to achieve.

After three years, more and more students seemed to recognize the beauty of the Indian culture and gain insight into what Bollywood truly was. The Bollywood Dance club grew in numbers of members, and attention which indicated the school was getting deeply involved with the club. And this was just the beginning of Indian culture no longer having to hide in the shadows of Santiago club life. The success of this club meant their goal was already achieved.

Not only has this club brought recognition to diversity and the understanding of what lies in a delightful tradition, but students from Santiago have also been heavily impacted by joining the dance club. From being able to participate in a new Indian custom, and have a way of expressing their feelings, students have gained a sense of confidence in themselves. A graduate of Santiago who used to be in the club, Akshya Ranjit, shares, “The Bollywood Dance Club made me much more confident and helped me get in touch with my culture.” As the club grew more confident in itself, so did the members of the team.

The years 2017 to 2020 are records of the achievements the dance club has accomplished as a group. In 2017, the Bollywood Dance Club performed at the talent show for their very first time. The next year, the members of the club had put out their cultural showcase for the school, which consisted of the team performing at the talent show for the second time in a row. The school then featured the group in the CNUSD festival of arts that brought crowds to cheer for embracing the lifestyle of the Indian community. The year 2019 wasn’t the only event that skyrocketed as the club made an increasing amount of achievements that year. The dance club, for the first time, was entered into a school rally, and multicultural fair.

From starting with four members, and now standing with a school’s greater involvement for the Indian heritage, we can officially say the Bollywood Dance Club has done its job; however, the club has no intention of stopping there. Goals set and having dreams fulfilled were made one after another each year, which is why the dance team is a perfect fit for being in the “Home of the Scholars, Achievers, and Champions” of Santiago High School.