Mar 062011
Authors: Kari Pills

A brightly colored, sequined traditional Indian Shalwarkurta hung over 15-year-old Pranaya Sathe’s small frame on Friday night as she confidently directed CSU students, staff and community members on the art of Bollywood dancing.

“I started dancing in third grade,” Sathe said. “Bollywood dancing has just basically been a part of my whole life.”

The CSU Department of Foreign Languages and Literature hosted an event called, “The Fun and Food of India,” at a local church, Community of Christ. This will be one of a series of events sponsored by the department highlighting cultures from around the world.

Paola Malpezzi Price, chair for the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, said one of the event objective was to raise funds for scholarships and reach out to community members.

By putting on this celebration, which was the first of its kind, Price said she hoped they could share with the community the diversity within the department.

At dinner, people socialized and tried a variety of donated traditional Indian food from a local caterer.

After dinner, Pranaya Sathe took over the room gymnasium blasting Bollywood music, directing everyone and urging the dancers to do whatever the music told them to.

“My favorite part about dancing is just being able to feel the music and enjoying yourself,” Pranaya Sathe said. “I like having people feel the same way about the music as you do.”

The room, filled with smiles and laughter, brought a unity as everyone tried to move like Pranaya Sathe. Bollywood dancing can range from one to more than 1,000 people, according to Pranaya Sathe, and is something people participate in for fun, weddings and parties.

“It’s basically freestyle and people having fun,” Pranaya Sathe said.

Pranaya Sathe has been through many training levels and is now in the higher levels. She did, however, start her training in the U.S.

“My parents took me to India the first few years to learn,” Pranaya Sathe said. “My parents made a dance studio out of the basement, where I dance now.”

Preety Sathe, Pranaya’s mother, also danced when she was younger, which is why she wanted her daughter to get involved.

“I haven’t been dancing for a long time,” Preety Sathe said with a smile.

Her dancing skill, though, came back quickly, when the music started playing. She joined her daughter, keeping up with her every move.

“Dancing is about showing people who you really are,” Pranaya Sathe said.

The department hopes to raise about $500 for the scholarship from this event, according to Price, and it will be a precursor to future events, including one highlighting Hispanic faculty.

“We hope to have more events that are culturally diverse,” Price said.

Staff writer Kari Pills can reached at

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