Penn’s South Asia Society hosted its annual Cultural Show at Irvine Auditorium on Oct. 21, drawing over 1,000 attendees from the Penn community to celebrate South Asian dance and music.
At the show, eight of Penn’s singing and dance teams, including Penn Raas, Masala, Masti, Thillana, Sargam, Naach, Dhamaka, and Atma, performed. In addition, the show featured two guest acts from the Philadelphia area, Drexel Dhvani, and Philly Maza, as well as performances from both first year and senior classes.
Significant financial support for the event came from the Social Life Inclusion Fund, Intercultural Fund, and the Social Planning and Events Committee. Enhanced by a surplus accrued during COVID-19, this funding is part of an ongoing initiative to enhance cultural diversity on campus.
Cultural Chair and College sophomore Ayanna Gandhi said the show plays an essential role in bringing together individuals who share similar values despite their diverse backgrounds.
“SAS has created a home 3,000 miles away from my own home,” Gandhi said.
Penn’s acclaimed singing and dance teams are a magnet for first-year college students seeking a cultural community.
“Coming into college, I thought a dance team would be the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, immediately join a supportive community, and simultaneously deepen my cultural roots — and I can 100% say I have,” College first-year Saniya Malhotra, who is a member of Penn’s fusion dance team Raas, said.
Diversity at Penn is reflected in the composition of the most recently reported class, the Class of 2026, where Asians make up 27.5% of undergraduate students.
“Personally, I deeply desired a South Asian presence because I feel like culture provides a sort of instantaneous connection with peers,” Malhotra said.
The upcoming Diwali festivity on Nov. 18, organized by the Penn Hindu & Jain Association and Sikh Organization of Penn, promises to extend this cultural engagement further, offering another occasion for South Asian students and the broader Penn community to celebrate together.