Student sashays into spotlight

Student sashays into spotlight

By Rebekah Frank


EWU freshman Sapna Basy showcases many styles and cultures through dance.

Basy is a Bollywood dancer, which is infused with her Indian heritage. She has been dancing since she was in the sixth grade and took lessons as a child. Basy has performed at many events during her dancing career, including talent shows at her high school and the Star Search at EWU, and she does them all in her own way.

Basy was born in the Philippines, but grew up in India. She came to visit the U.S. in 2009 and wanted to move to America, but her parents did not want her to.

Basy said they did not want to move because they owned big companies in the Philippines and in India and did not want to work under someone when they were their own bosses in their country.

Basy said she agreed that her parents should stay in India, and they decided she would move to the U.S. without them. When she moved to the U.S. in 2010, she came with her older brother and sister. For the first three years she was in America, she lived in an apartment with her brother while she finished high school.

“I felt a lot of things missing here because I never had any friends in high school,” said Basy.

She said there were many things different between school system in India and the one in America. The main difference she would like to change is the workload for students.

“People [in the U.S.] don’t have much time to put effort in school activities because they have to work,” said Basy.

Basy said that in India, students do not work until their final year of schooling. They have a lot more school activities going on, and many students are involved because they are not expected to work.

“[In India], we have so much more than just going to classes,” said Basy.

Basy said coming to the U.S. was difficult for her because she had to enter into a whole new culture. She said Americans focus a lot on beauty, especially through dress, and she had to embrace that when she moved.

“Here I have to change myself,” said Basy.

Basy also had to choreograph her own dance moves and continued teaching herself without any help. she said it is really difficult to continue to design new dance routines and moves so that every performance is not the same.

“I felt really disconnected with where I came from,” said Basy.

Basy decided her bridge to her childhood and Indian culture would be dance. She said she did not care if anybody knew the music or moves she was doing, she was going to do it for herself anyway.

“It connects me every day to my roots. Some days I miss my culture so much,” said Basy.

Basy enjoys mixing her performances up. She said she has done some hip hop and country in some of her performances. Her main focus is her cultural Indian dance and music, but she also brings her American culture in.

“It is making me feel both sides now. I always perform with mixing many styles together. I never go with single song, this is how my style is. For me going with one single song, I get so bored,” said Basy.

Basy performed her own dance at EWU’s Star Search last year and won. Her dance consisted of numerous songs and styles of Bollywood dancing and hip hop, as well as a dress change during the performance.

Carol King, JFK Library administrator and Oktoberfest event coordinator, said she could tell that Basy enjoys being creative with her choreography.

 “It was a wonderful mix of dance, some highlighting her culture and heritage, and certainly her energy and enthusiasm. The audience thoroughly enjoyed her performance,” said King.

 Basy said she is not sure where she gets her dancing talent from. Nobody in her family dances, and although her parents are very proud of her accomplishments, they are also surprised.

It is evident in her dancing the desire to mix cultures. Basy said she is running for the ASEWU diversity outreach position, and she wants to put together a flash mob for Diversity Week.

 “I am trying to choreograph a group together where there will be girls from different ethnic groups performing together. … As many groups of girls from different parts of the world as I can get,” said Basy.

 Basy said she wants to teach these girls how to dance and show them what it is like.

 “For me to dance is to be out of yourself. It makes me feel more beautiful. It makes me feel more powerful,” said Basy.