Bollywood dances its way to Cal


Neha Kaul, A&E Editor

Bollywood has finally made its way to Cal High with its very first dance team, Chalkaa. 

Chalkaa is an official on-campus club supervised by math teacher Jatinder Singh. The team consists of 18 Cal students. 

Juniors Arnav Ghupta  and Milita Vazirani came up with the idea to start the team earlier this school year. They, along with juniors Kabir Gahra, Shivani Kharbanda and Neha Subashbabu, serve as team captains. 

Bollywood dance is a blend of multiple Indian dance styles, such as folk, classical and contemporary. 

The dance is widely recognized and seen mainly in Indian cinema, known as Bollywood. The dancing style is known for its vibrant outfits and energetic music. 

“It stands out, requires a lot of energy, and is very upbeat,” said Gahra.

Added Kharbanda, “Some of my favorite dances have been to popular Indian songs from Bollywood movies. They are high in energy and always get everyone happy to watch and participate.” 

Along with popular Hindi music and Bollywood hits, the team also uses Hindi-English remixes like “A Milli x Chalkaa” by Kanwar Johal.

Kharbanda said the team is highly dedicated to their practice. 

“We meet almost every weekday to practice at one of the two captain’s houses for two hours, and even more for big performances,” said Kharbanda. 

The captains focus on choreography, getting the team into events and competitions, managing finances and expenses, and organizing meeting arrangements. But these roles often intermingle. 

“What we contribute is equally spread,” Gahra said. “It’s a communal responsibility among captains.”

All of the captains have participated in Bollywood dance since a young age. But all Cal students are welcome to audition at the beginning of every year. 

This year, the team member’s grade levels range from a close knit group of sophomores to seniors. 

“It didn’t take long for all of us to open up to each other and start hanging out and doing activities outside of dance,” said Subashbabu. “Everyone on our team is so lucky to have each other.”

Chalkaa finds time for plenty of team bonding events amongst all the practice meetings. 

The team performs at various shows throughout Bay Area high schools that are hosted  by their respective teams. They have also been invited to perform at various club fairs and parties.  

“Performances are really fun,” Ghupta said. “We meet a ton of new people.” 

Chalkaa performed on Jan. 20 at an event called Dil Se, meaning from the heart. The showcase was at Irvington High School.

Ghupta said 50 teams auditioned to be featured in the showcase, and only 18  teams, including Chalkaa, were selected.

The team prepared a six minute and fifty second performance in order to audition for and perform at Dil Se. 

Most of Chalkaa’s time was focused on creating this intricate routine that required original choreography and a lot of practice. 

Subashbabu could not be happier with the outcome  of the team’s performance at Dil Se. 

“It happens to be the biggest show of the year, so getting in was a big deal to our team,” Subashbabu said. “We put in so much time and energy into our audition and it all paid off.” 

The team is expecting to perform at another showcase in Cupertino in a couple weeks. 

Now, the team’s biggest goal is to attract more members for the next school year so that Chalkaa will live on. 

“After I graduate, I really hope the legacy goes on,” Gahra said. “I hope the team survives, and that more people will join and take on our roles.”