Infusion is a non profit organization that aims to spread South Asian culture among Penn State and surrounding communities. On March 16, 2016 in the Eisenhower Auditorium, Infusion hosted an intercollegiate dance competition, Infusion 2016: Can You Feel the Heat? in the Fusion/Hindi Film Dance circuit. The event featured guest speaker, Jay Sean. As the crowd settled down and the countdown drew closer to the beginning of the show, the heat had definitely begun to turn up. Among the crowd were not only Penn State students, but also supportive family and friends of the performers who were all excited to see what the teams had to offer. There were 9 competing teams from all across the nation. The winning team had a chance of winning a grand prize of $3,000 and bid points to the national championship, Bollywood America.
Each of the 9 competing teams prepared a short video clip about the context, setting and overall story of their performance before they took the stage. The performers then brought the video clip to life with an incredible stage set, props and vibrantly colored costumes. Their dance routine was a fusion of Bollywood with other styles like hip-hop. They poured out all of their energy and emotions into the dance routine that they had been rehearsing for months, and left the audience in awe of the pure talent that each and every individual possessed.
After the performances, Jay Sean came up to speak about his experiences of being an Indian/Punjabi descendant in the music industry. Jay Sean says, "for [him] it was never about [his] skin color, religion or background because [he] is just singing. If you can sing why should it matter if you're brown, black or white? Are you doing your job? Yes." Jay Sean believes that other people's criticisms and comments should not hinder you from pursuing what you want to do and who you want to be. He says, "you just have to believe in yourself, and not take no for an answer.”
As the competition came to an end and Jay Sean began to announce the awards, the teams all stood together on stage with smiles on their faces. They were proud that they had all danced to the best of their abilities. The winner was the Boston University Jalwa (BU Jalwa), with Broadstreet Baadshahz and Rutgers S.A.P.A coming in second and third place respectively.
BU Jalwa's performance was about doing what you love and following your passion regardless of other people's opinions. Their story revolved around 3 college students who each had their individual dream jobs: engineer, film maker, and soccer player. However, the two students who wanted to be a filmmaker and soccer player were condemned by their parents because they were expected to strive to be an engineer, doctor or lawyer. In the end, the students realized the importance of doing what they love and following their own passions. According to Public Relations Officer of BU Jalwa, Kavya, they chose this theme because it "struck home for many of [them], especially since the majority of [them] are passionate about dancing, but [their] parents are not okay with it.” When the MC announced that the winner was BU Jalwa, Kavya said, "everyone on the team was overwhelmed with joy because they had put in over 150 hours of dance practice and all of that had paid off.” This will be BU Jalwa's last competition, and they deservingly won first place after having placed 3rd in the previous competition.
Infusion 2016 was heated with fiery performances from all participating teams. The performances not only showcased Bollywood style dancing, but also cultural values and traditions that the South Asian community was proud to present.