Updated: Oct 5
by Rishita Nossam ('26)
On Friday, February 23, South Brunswick High School's Asian Cultural Club held its annual TemptAsian showcase—a recital in which various dance, acting, and singing teams perform for a large audience. The teams included: Acting, Singing, Freshmen, Bollywood, Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Garba, Marathi, South Indian, Bhangra, and Guy/Girl. Auditions for TemptAsian were held in October and since then, participants worked endlessly to perfect choreography, songs, and lines. The show sold out within a day as a result of high demand and anticipation.
The show commenced with introductions from the Asian Cultural Club's executive board and all of the TemptAsian team captains. The senior team captains included Jay Jethva, Anisha Senapati, Nicole Liu, Ananya Ravi, Simrahn Bidaye, Pragnya Madiraju, and Sanchita Dighe. The junior captains were Rhea Krishnan, Khushi Rameteke, Krish Shah, and Anna Pham. Additionally, one of the acting captains was sophomore Nidhi Ravinutala.
TemptAsian is extremely significant for the South Asian community at SBHS as it represents the various cultures that make up a majority of the student body. Dance genres such as Garba and Bhangra derive from Northern parts of India and involve energetic dances. During TemptAsian, these dances were met with booming applause.
Asian Cultural Club President and senior dance captain Jethva said, “Since high school, I’ve started doing Bhangra. I love Bhangra the most because it’s so energetic. Garba, I started doing [last] year as captain and I’m [Gujarati] so I’m drawn to Garba. I love all of them, but I think I like to do Bhangra the most because it’s so exciting.”
South Indian dance is danced to Telugu and Tamil music. TemptAsian also has groups for Classical Dance—Bharatnatyam and Kathak. These dances originated from various states across the country and developed into a few of the largest Indian dance forms today.
Other dance teams in TemptAsian include Bollywood, which comes from various parts of North India, and Marathi, which derives from Maharashtra. As for Marathi, the beautiful dance style can involve both graceful or spirited dances, which were exhibited by the team.
Senior dance captain Simrahn Bidaye said, “I really like choreographing Kathak and Marathi. I’ve been learning Kathak for 11 years now, so it was fun to see myself being able to create something. For Marathi, I speak Marathi at home, so it was nice to connect my culture.”
The last two dance groups in TemptAsian are Freshmen Dance and Guy/Girl. The Freshmen Dances are a series of dances performed by freshmen. Additionally, the Guy/Girl dance team, made up of a Guys and Girls dance group, performs hip-hop dance.
Junior dance captain Krish Shah said, “I’ve always liked to dance. The fact that TemptAsian was offered in high school was pretty cool because otherwise, I don’t think I would’ve danced in high school at all.”
The final two groups offered in TemptAsian are Acting and Singing. This year, the Acting group performed High School Musical (Desi Twist). The play featured various High School Musical characters that were spun off into Desi characters. The Singing groups performed songs such as “Kesariya” by Arijit Singh and “Location” by Khalid.
Costumes were a very important part of TemptAsian as they exemplified the different meanings behind the dance styles. Bhangra (pictured above) and Garba both wore colorful costumes. South Indian was performed by girls in shimmery skirts along with guys in black shirts and white dhotis (pictured below). Classical dancers wore traditional half saris, and male Bollywood and Marathi dancers wore black kurtas while the girls wore crop tops—both in flowy pants. Freshmen Dance had one group with colorful outfits and another with completely blue ones. The Guy/Girl Dance group’s stylish red costumes consisted of the guys’ team crewnecks and the girls’ tight-fitting tops. Lastly, the Singing team’s attire was made up of lehenga cholis for the girls and kurtas for the guys while the play’s actors wore casual high school outfits.
At the end of the night, the executive board gave a few more quick speeches to close off the event. Board members thanked their friends, families, and advisors Mrs. Grishma Patel and Ms. Maninder Gill before introducing the senior dance, a TemptAsian tradition. This dance involved all of TemptAsian’s senior members coming onto the stage for one last performance.
SBHS math teacher and new TemptAsian advisor, Ms. Gill, said, “I knew [being advisor] was a lot of responsibility, but I’m glad I took it because I would’ve regretted not taking it.”
With the show coming to a close, TemptAsian members and families were met with rushes of emotion and sadness. Especially for the seniors, this show was extremely meaningful, yet sad. The eventful night ended with all of TemptAsian’s participants coming onto the stage for a final “mosh,” which was a thrilling and crowded rush between teammates.
Jethva said, “This club has become a family to me. [Since] freshman year, meeting the same people again and again, and just working and giving it all with all of these people made us so close, and honestly, for anything in life, I could rely on these guys.”
Congratulations to all of TemptAsian on an extravagant showcase. TemptAsian 2023 will remain in the memories of participants and viewers forever as they reminisce and await the shows to come.