Culture Collective at Manchester University
Sneha Ajith is currently a third year law student at the University of Manchester and President of the Indian Dance Society. She is an international student, born in India but residing in Bahrain where her family live. Snetha, 21, came to Manchester in 2013 and after browsing the stalls at the Freshers fair, left disappointed that there were no societies representing Bollywood.
She tells me: “Every state in India is represented by a dance form but this wasn’t spoke about at all from what I could see – from what was on offer.” Bollywood is known for its culture and bringing people together so Sneha set out to join an Indian dancing society – with others – based on traditional and modern Bollywood dancing.
At first there were only few members but that soon grew. She told me: “We wouldn’t have the confidence to run the society without dedicated students. Many students from other cultures and countries such as Singapore, China and countries in Europe were interested and some even know more about Bollywood than us!”
She tells me that even after a year people completely transform, gaining confidence as well as dance ability. She often gets told by other students that even after graduating, they want to come back and learn Bollywood dancing still. To create something that brings so many walks of life together is a really great and impressive feat.
The cultural dance group has also performed at the Manchester Mela many times
Since starting in 2013, the society has performed at many events and has been hired to promote events too. Notable performances have been at Salford’s Media City, Manchester Youth Network Awards and a launch event at Old Trafford.
“The fact that this society has brought together people from many different cultures together really makes me feel wonderful. The fact that we are helping people with their dreams and it’s a whole new feeling when you watch people perform, knowing everyone has their own reason for dancing.” Every weekly dance session resets to treating everyone like a beginner, a new dance and music number is taught so the students can go home and learn the steps. “Teaching classical is more intricate than basic dance but with time everyone can learn. I’ve been doing this since I was three and I definitely see dance as my escape,” she said.
At the end of every year portfolios from budding members are shown to pick committee members for the next year. “The committee selection process is very strict, we want to strive to make the future of the society good,” she said. The dancers often also get hired outside of University for private events by families for private lessons and Charity Events and they are also associated with the National Indian SU.
To promote the group, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook are used. This is very important as dance routines are routinely uploaded for people to watch and learn, this also takes up a big part of Sneha’s time. “I don’t even have time for Netflix,” she laughed.
For any enquires and to see even more of the group: