By Ishita Rastogi

Am I the only person that dances in front of the mirror in their bathroom? It’s so easy to do that at home when you’re in the comforts of your own bathroom behind closed doors, but in college it’s different. I usually have music blasting in my ears while I’m brushing, and I’m ready to jam out to whatever song I have lined up on Spotify until I realize that I am in my dorm’s bathroom. A bathroom that twenty other people on my floor use. Don’t get me wrong. My passion for dancing only goes so far as dancing in front of the bathroom mirror, and it’s hard to pursue this silly passion when I’m constantly on guard about who’s going to walk in to see me jamming out at 2 in the morning. But I do it anyways while I brush my teeth and complete my nightly routine—it’s relaxing after a long day of studying and exhaustion.

I make it sound like dancing is the love of my life, but it’s really not. I just like practicing my disco moves in the background, while I cheer on my friends and families as they show off on stage. I’ve also just grown up watching dance competitions on TV and Youtube videos featuring professional dances and it’s an evident part of Indian culture to where I feel like I am a part of the dancing even if I’m not. My younger sister and I have this tradition where we surf through professional dance videos on Youtube whenever we’re together.

Coming to Berkeley has been a wild ride, but I’m glad I can continue to pursue a side passion: admiring dance performances. Whether it’s walking through a parking garage and catching a glimpse of AFX practicing or going to Bollywood Berkeley to witness a dance competition, dance brings communities together. This past weekend, I went to Bollywood Berkeley, which is the largest collegiate South Asian dance competition on the West Coast. It was an amazing experience watching dance teams from all over the country, including three from the state that I am from, Texas, and many more.

I dragged some friends along to come with me to enjoy the show, and was explaining what I knew about the teams as they came and performed. It was great to see that I wasn’t the only one that was excited to see these performances. The entire audience was cheering and clapping after each and every performance. Seeing people from different backgrounds and cultures come together to watch South Asian performances was heart-warming. I became even more excited as I saw that the people around me shared the same passion as me. 

Unfortunately, now I don’t get to do this with my sister, but we’ll text each other videos every now and then to bond over a new move or music video. I still dance in front of the bathroom mirror when I can and yes I’ve been caught once, but that doesn’t stop me. I’m glad I can continue to pursue my small passion with the stress that Berkeley brings.

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