By Ahmed Sharma
AsAmNews Staff Writer
Shawn Syed of New Jersey and Pooja Mayur of Florida share a passion for dancing. Exactly three years ago, these two millennials found an event where they’d be able to showcase their talent while becoming closer to their culture.
The two were among the 300 people who attended the third annual Desi Dance Convenion (DDCON) in Austin, Texas this past weekend.
However, the story here is not about the crowd size, but on the people who came to educate others on the art of Desi (an umbrella term for members of South Asian descent) Style Dancing and to just have fun dancing.
AsAmNews got the opportunity to speak with the two most frequent attendees of DDCON, Syed and Mayur. With each response they gave, the look of excitement and passion for dancing gleamed in their eyes.
Mayur’s bubbly and enthusiastic demeanor gives way to determination when she begins dancing. She comes from a talented family, where she says her “mom was always a dancer…and grandma was also a dancer, and was even in some Bollywood movies.” In her youth however, Mayur remembers “being dragged…to ballet class and hat[ing] it…but then somehow got inspired and now it’s like my passion…and there’s nothing [she] like[s] more than dancing.” As a result, she describes this experience as inspiring her to continue to explore other dance styles “like Latin dancing, Hip Hop, etc.” “Now it’s my outlet to get all my emotions out,” said Mayur. “I love it!”
Syed had a different path to dancing as it was not instilled in him growing up. He became interested just five years ago.
“First time I danced, it was at my brother’s wedding (right before College started) and ever since then, I felt, it’s such an amazing rush…to feel the music flowing through you, to the crowd yelling,” he said.
This new outlet has generated a positive response from his mother who “wasn’t always happy about me playing football [and possibly getting injured]. Though Syed has not been dancing as long as Mayur, it has nonetheless become a passion for him as well. His bright and exuberant smile emerges when he describes how each time he dances.
“Every single time, feels like the first time,” he said.
Words barely scratch at the surface in explaining the euphoria Shawn gets from dancing.
Both Mayur and Syed share their experience with a crowd of other people with similar experiences as them.
“Dance, is like an outward expression, so only people that dance as well, will be able to understand how we feel,” said Mayur.
“Sometimes if you’re the only one passionate about something in a group of people, who don’t really care about it, it can feel frustrating and awkward…when you can like, really groove with people and everyone loves it (anyone you meet here) it’s a totally different experience, because you know loves it, when they come to DDCON,” said Syed.
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