Senior leads ICAC and Toga Tamasha effectively

February 5, 2016 — by Julia Miller and Neehar Thumaty

As a senior, Sanam Mohan is co-president of Indian Cultural Awareness Club (ICAC), as well as the head choreographer and captain of Toga Tamasha, Saratoga’s student-based competitive Bollywood dance team.


As a sophomore, Sanam Mohan remembers the swift motion of the curtains rising above the McAfee Center stage, exposing her and the rest of the dancers in  Bombay in the Bay (BnB) 2014. Each year, the rush and excitement of the actual performance has made all the hours of work and practice worth the effort.

Now, as a senior, is co-president of Indian Cultural Awareness Club (ICAC), as well as the head choreographer and captain of Toga Tamasha, Saratoga’s student-based competitive Bollywood dance team.

Even before starting high school, Mohan was a fan of the BnB showcase.

She became interested in BnB when she was in middle school. After seeing a performance with her family friends, she couldn’t wait to be a part of the show when she became a freshman.

“I have always enjoyed listening to Bollywood songs, and I have been dancing since I was six years old,” Mohan said. “I absolutely love to dance, and every minute I am dancing is an absolute joy.”

In her freshman year, Mohan took on the role of choreographer for the freshman dance and it was a natural fit.

“This was my first real leadership position, and when we performed as freshmen, our performance went really well,” Mohan said. “I gained the confidence that led me to continue to choreograph and perform for the next couple of years.”

Two years later, at the end of her junior year, Mohan felt that “it was only natural to run for president after the years of work and experience.”

This year, the BnB performance will be held Feb. 12 and 13. Students from all grades perform a variety of dances and singing acts, which are tied together with a skit featuring the ICAC officers.

The goal of BnB is to expose students to Indian culture and raise money for Indian charities. This year’s production supports Maitri, a non-profit that raises awareness about human trafficking and social issues in South-Asian countries.

As captain of Toga Tamasha, Mohan has also been leading her team through early preparations for audition videos to perform at schools and events. The team participates in various BNB-like performances at other school such as Sapnay at Homestead High School.

Looking back on first semester, Mohan said balancing her academic responsibilities with BnB preparation was “extremely hard.” She dealt with the burden of college applications while leading two to three practices a week and creating choreography regularly.

Despite the immense stress of applying to college, Mohan could always come back to dancing, as she found her haven in creating choreography and producing dances for an audience to see.

Mohan said that she planned her schedule in such a manner that allowed her to complete all applications by winter break. With no travel plans, she spent all of break choreographing, holding practices and meeting with the other officers, including co-president senior Anant Rajeev.

In the future, Mohan hopes to join a Bollywood dance team at the college she attends. After she leaves Saratoga High and BnB behind, Mohan said she will miss dancing with friends from elementary school while raising money for a good cause, along with constructing the proper choreography needed to make a successful performance.

“Performing a dance that you can be proud of at the end of everything is a feeling that is indescribable,” Mohan said. “It is even more satisfying to see everyone share that same pride and enjoyment.”

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