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Awaaz features 600 students in largest show of the year


If you have never heard of Duke’s Awaaz, the person beside you should be able to help. More than 600 Duke students contribute to the production, and as the largest student-run performance through the combined efforts of more than 13 student groups, it will be shining an even bigger, brighter light on South Asian culture than in years past.

Additionally, the injection of pop culture, namely rapper Drake, into the show is hinted at in the theme—Started from a Rickshaw—as well as ads posted around campus in Drake album-style: "If you're reading this Awaaz is coming."

Awaaz, which is the Hindi word for voice, showcases music, dance and other art forms in one performance. Diya, Duke’s South Asian student association, sponsors the production and uses Awaaz as an opportunity to share their culture, bring together all of Duke through arts and support a cause outside of the Duke bubble. Attendees can expect to see performances from On Tap, Rhydun, Lasya, Nakisai, Nishka Mittal, Dhoom, Momentum, Dhamaka, Sangeet, DBS Raas, Shakti (a small group of senior girls), Sabrosura, Duke  Chinese  Dance, Duke Swing, Felix Kung and Defining Movement.

“[It] provides an immersive learning experience for performers, who have to incorporate South Asian elements into their piece,” said sophomore Diana Joseph, Awaaz co-chair and member of Dhamaka.

The finale performance, Senior Bhangra is one of the most disctinctive—albeit imperfect—acts and an unusual rite of passage for students in their final year. Any senior can participate and some have never danced in a performance setting when they sign upe. Bhangra, a traditional dance that originates in the Punjab region, is a high-energy, energetic dance suited for celebration. For those who had performed in Awaaz as underclassmen, senior Bhangra holds a special significance, as their swan song in the annual production.

"Finishing the show with Senior Bhangra is the perfect finale for the entire celebration that is Awaaz," Joseph said.

Given that last year’s Awaaz also had to accommodate size issues in the small Reynolds Industries Theater while Page Auditorium was renovated, this year's return to Page should allow for the larger, energetic performances seen in years past.

"This year the show is going to be even bigger," Joseph said. "In terms of performances, we're hoping to present a wider variety of high-energy acts.”

“It’s usually the first full performance of the year for my dance team,” said senior Raj Sikaria, who is a member of DBS Raas. "It's cool to have everyone cheering for you."

The proceeds generated from the cover charge will be donate to the charity Light One Path’s Foundation, which helps underprivileged young adults to complete their education and have access to health care.

Awaaz will be taking place Friday, Nov. 13 and Saturday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 pm in Page Auditorium. Tickets are $3 and are available for purchase online, at the box office and at the door.


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