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Lightridge News

The student produced news site for Lightridge High School

Lightridge News

Lightridge News

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Team Agni takes the stage for their second year

Nimisha Jha
Pranjal Jha, Mihira Nagireddy, Samhita Maddikunta, Sahana Iyer, Riya Jayashankar, and Sravani Mogali, perform at Boltfest.

As the school day comes to an end, the nineteen members of the Team Agni, Lightridge’s South Asian Dance Team, rush to the cafeteria to begin their practice. They roll out mats, stretch and converse, until captains Pranjal Jha, Mihira Nagireddy, Samhita Maddikunta, and Spurthi Illipilla call everyone to gather around to begin their practice.

Music fills the air and each member moves with each note. The members express their feelings through movement and flow, through facial expressions and body language. Each member of the team executes every step in the routine with precision. Their whole bodies, from head to toe, interpret the music and change it into motion.

The team was formed last year by Jha and Nagireddy. The captains all had prior dance experience before joining the team. Jha and Illipilla both started doing the classical dance Kathak at a young age. Kathak is one of the six forms of Indian dance, it contains intricate footwork and is native in northern India.

“I’ve been learning Kathak since I was like 5 or 6 years old so it’s been basically my whole life,” said Jha. “We do a lot of acting, classical older types of dances to express Hindu Mythology and then we also do more modern dances with Bollywood songs too.”

“It’s essentially the art of storytelling through foot work, hand movements, and spins, and facial expressions,” said Illipilla. “When I perform, I try to express a lot of feelings. I express sadness, madness, and happiness.”

Maddikunta does Kuchipudi, another classical Indian dance, which originated in Andhra Pradesh and was created by Sidhyendra Yogi. Maddikunta was put into dance by her parents, but she ended up really enjoying it and even continued to dance with all her friends after leaving the program.

“It’s a type of classical dance that originated in Southern India,” said Maddikunta, when asked about Kuchipudi. “I’ve been doing it since like five or six so it’s definitely been a big part of my life.”

Not only does the team include classical Indian dances but also modern styles, like hip hop. Nagireddy handles the non-traditional choreography.

“I did do a classical dance called Bharatnatyam when I was younger but I’m more of a hip hopper now,” said Nagireddy. “I got into dance when I was about four years old and my mom signed me up for classes and dance lessons and I absolutely hated it, but I started watching a lot of hip hop dance videos online and I was just learning it in my room at night when no one could see me.”

Team Agni’s recent performances include dancing at the annual Multicultural Festival, at the Bolt Fest and at the South Asian Cultural Night. Putting on great performances is the priority for the captains and the team as a whole.

“For me when you go on stage, before I’m always stressing, like ‘am I gonna do this right? am I gonna do this right?’ said Nagireddy. “But when I’m on stage it’s like you completely forget about everybody in the audience and it’s you there in that moment, so I’m just there and having fun.”

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About the Contributor
Kailani Marantan
Kailani Marantan, Reporter
Kailani Marantan is a sophomore and this is her first year on staff.

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