ICAC members lead dances in Bombay in the Bay

February 28, 2017 — by Patrick Li and Elicia Ye

Before Bombay in the Bay (BnB) became the phenomenon it is today, the former Indian Cultural Awareness Club’s (ICAC) show was a “Friends and Family” night hosted in the Argonaut Elementary School cafeteria.


Before Bombay in the Bay (BnB) became the phenomenon it is today, the former Indian Cultural Awareness Club’s (ICAC) show was a “Friends and Family” night hosted in the Argonaut Elementary School cafeteria.

Senior Saya Sivaram, who has participated in BnB for the past three years, still remembers watching her brother, 2007 alumnus Varun Sivaram, and his friends practicing the All-Male Dance (AMD) routine in the Sivarams’ kitchen in their dress pants and vests.

“It seemed so glamorous to me at the time,” Saya said. “Being the little baby sister at the age of 5, I couldn't really fathom a time when I might be doing the same thing — it seemed like a completely different world.”

Now, a decade later, BnB is one of the largest events in the Saratoga community. Expecting 500 attendees each night, performers will take the stage tonight at 6 p.m. and tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the McAfee Center. A full dinner catered by Indian restuarant Chaat Bhavan will be served after Saturday’s show.

BnB not only celebrates the Indian heritage, but also raises funds for nonprofit organizations. After giving last year’s proceeds to Maitri, a nonprofit organization that helps South Asian families facing domestic violence, the ICAC members will donate profits from this year’s show to the Parikrma Foundation, which provides education to thousands of children staying in orphanages in India.

“We wanted to address the challenge of giving kids in India the proper K-12 education that they need, and we are specifically helping children living in slums in Bangalore,” ICAC co-president senior Maya Prasad said.

Other than the usual four class dances, the show will also consist of Bhangra dance, Tamasha dance, a Singing Act, Classical Dance, the All-Males Dance (AMD) and All-Girls Dance (AGD).

Many of the acts will feature ICAC business manager and senior choreographer Kirthana Ramesh, who is one of the most involved performers: On top of doing the classical and grade-level dances that she has done in the past three years, Ramesh is also part of Singing, Bhangra, Toga Tamasha and AGD.

“I never had time to do Bhangra and many of the other acts because I didn’t want to overwhelm myself too much sophomore and junior year,” Ramesh said. “I love BnB, and senior year is my last chance to make the most of it.”

For the finale of the show, the seniors will continue the tradition of ending with the AGD and the AMD performances. These final acts are normally for those who have done BnB all four years, and AGD introduces everyone in AMD and vice versa. This year, however, AMD consists of 13 boys who have only done the dance for three years.

“I know some people who thought of participating freshman year, but because there were only three to four people, nothing really came out of it,” senior AMD member Nathan Ching said. “After sophomore year Homecoming, everyone became closer and was more comfortable to sign up for BnB together.”

According to Ramesh, AGD and AMD represent an accumulation of all the effort they put into BnB for the past four years.

“BnB our senior year is a huge deal for us because it’s an end to the journey we started to embark on four years ago,” Ramesh said. “It’s like a celebration for all we’ve been through together as a class.”

Having witnessed the progression of BnB and AGD, several ICAC members explained how surreal it is to take part in the start of a Saratoga High tradition that “means the world to so many people.”

“After all the stress and planning that we’ve been through, we remain supportive of each other,” Ramesh said. “I can only hope that the special bonds we’ve built together will continue long into the future.”

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