PENNaach performs 'Until Proven Guilty'
The female South Asian dance group performed their 15th annual show and collaborated with Penn Sargam
February 10, 2013, 11:14 pm·
From beneath a lone dining table covered in candles emerges a group of girls. One of them is the culprit in the murder-mystery that set the scene for PENNaach’s 15th annual show this weekend.
The all-female South Asian dance group performed “Until Proven Guilty” at the Iron Gate Theatre on Friday and Saturday.
For this year’s production, PENNaach once again showcased its East-meets-West fusion style of dance. The nine participating dancers incorporated Bhangra, Khatak, hip-hop, Bollywood and other styles in the show.
Along with PENNaach, the production featured the co-ed a cappella group Counterparts, which sang 1999 College graduate John Legend’s hit “Used to Love U” and Karmin’s “Brokenhearted.” In addition, the all-female a cappella group Quaker Notes performed Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and “Lights” by Ellie Goulding.
PENNaach also collaborated with the classical Indian music group Penn Sargam for a memorable dance and song routine.
“Until Proven Guilty” differed from PENNaach’s past shows because it interwove a plot with the performance, culminating in the revelation of a murderer at a dinner party. Video clips spliced between dance numbers helped develop the story as the show went on. After a buildup of suspense, the mystery ended with a medley of songs and a cliff-hanging whodunnit.
College freshman Jeremy Danziger, who came to support a friend in the show, commented that the theme “added another element of intrigue to the dance.” For his first time seeing an Indian dance live, Danziger enjoyed the lively music and visual aesthetics of the show.
“Each segment of the show had strength,” he said.
The show was dedicated to the role of PENNaach alumni in supporting the group, which was founded in 1997 to promote South Asian culture through traditional, classical and modern dance.
PENNaach president and College junior Bina Nayee said, “The girls on the team are extremely honored to be a part of this show and represent a team that has made it to a decade and a half of promoting South Asian dance.”
She added that their “amazing alumni have not only helped to shape the team through the years but also continue to support us and guide us in times of need.”
The production also paid tribute to the group’s graduating seniors, including College senior Bhargavi Ammu for whom the crowd raved.
Wharton and Engineering senior Sunny Chalam, who came to support Ammu, said, “I liked how they incorporated South Indian classical dance to tell their story because this style of dance is meant to portray a narrative through its use of facial expressions and hand gestures.” The performance was Chalam’s favorite dance show so far this year.
In addition to its annual shows, PENNaach also performs at intercollegiate charity shows and Diwali celebrations. The troupe’s next performance will be on Asia Day at the Penn Museum.