Colorful costumes and fancy footwork entertained a near-capacity crowd in the Zellerbach Theater last night, as members of the South Asia Society presented the group's second annual spring cultural show, Holi: A Celebration of Colors. Holi, a traditional celebration of the arrival of spring, is accompanied by public merrymaking and the throwing of colored powders and waters in the streets of India. According to SAS President and College senior Raj Mehta, the University's Holi performance was intended to share the "customs, costumes and culture" of South Asia with students and members of the surrounding community. Last night's show began with a mock Hindu wedding, replete with traditional dress and students in the requisite roles of bride and groom, their family members and a priest. Ceremonial clothing remained the theme for the rest of the show's first half, as groups of emcees in colorful garb introduced fellow SAS members representing each region of India, and other South Asian countries, such as Pakistan, in dance and dress. Audience members responded enthusiastically to each performance, clapping and cheering loudly and chanting the names of friends and favorites as they took the stage. A group of 10 freshmen friends who had been practicing since mid-January stole the show with a bhangra they choreographed themselves. The bhangra is a traditional dance from the North Indian state of Pubjab, said College freshman Neha Patel, a member of the group. Instead of having an intermission, Mehta used the mid-show break to let performers catch their breath while he introduced the members of this year's SAS board and their newly-elected replacements. "[This is] the most demanding society I've ever been a part of, but [it is] also very supportive," he said. "[This has been] the best year of my life, and I owe that to you guys." The Holi celebration concluded with performers running into the audience and bringing friends from SAS who had danced earlier in the evening onto the stage for a huge and festive finale. Rao said she was "very excited and very, very pleased" with both the turnout and performances.
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