By Esha Peer ('21)
Eldreid Oliver dancing tradition Garba steps
The Asian Cultural Club is well-known for Temptasian, an annual show held in March showcasing various cultural dances, singing, and acting. However, for the past three years, Temptasian has been focused more on South Asian culture than other Asian cultures.
Although South Asian culture has been dominating this show, this year a Filipino-American student was chosen to be a part of one of the exclusive tryout groups: junior Eldreid Oliver.
Temptasian has changed over the years since it became a part of the SBHS community; specifically, what the show encompasses has changed significantly.
Today, it features many dance groups, such as Garba, Bhangra, Bollywood, South Indian, Classical, and Marathi. Additionally, there is one singing group that covers songs in both English and Hindi. Temptasian wraps all these groups in a skit which tends to focus around two Indian characters and their families.
Mrs. (Senora) Maritza Arango has been an advisor for the Asian Cultural Club for the past 12 years.
“[Temptasian] has become more South Asian than East Asian because the population in our school has changed. We had more Asian representation of different countries before, and right now it’s mostly South Asian,” said Mrs. Arango.
As mentioned before, Oliver is a Filipino-American student who decided to try out for some Temptasian teams because of his love for dancing and Indian culture.
After trying out for a number of teams, Oliver was chosen for the Garba team. This dance team is known for being one of the most difficult teams to get on in the club.
“It’s generally hard as we get a good turnout every year and it’s hard to find people with everything we are looking for such as the energy and fluidity of the movements,” said senior Varun Jauhri, one of the captains of the Garba team.
Although Oliver has had some dancing experience, he noted that learning Garba was a hard task as usual dancing styles and Garba have their differences.
“Whenever I [normally] dance, it’s more of my upper body moving. In Garba, the steps heavily focus on your leg work,” said Oliver. “You have to have a lot of energy, and there’s an emphasis on certain movements.”
Although it is rare for a non-Indian student to be part of Temptasian, this isn’t the case for many college dance groups. Bhangra and Raas, the equivalent of the SB Garba team, are open for anyone to try out. It’s less about the ethnicity of the person and more about the skill of the dancer.
“Eldreid had a lot of energy and we saw a lot of potential in his dancing. Regardless of the fact that he wasn’t Indian we just felt that he was just a very good dancer,” said Jaurhi.
Although Temptasian focuses more on South Asian cultures because of the changes in South Brunswick’s demographics, the club still represents the talent of the student body.
“Dancing is a universal thing everybody can do. If you enjoy doing something, why not do it?” said Oliver.