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Ethan Wu for Spectator

Performers rehearse ahead of Friday’s Tamasha Le Cirque, the annual South Asian culture event that features a circus theme this year.

As Britney Spears once said, there are only two types of people in this world: Ones that'll entertain, and ones that observe. We'll see who falls into each category Friday night at Tamasha Le Cirque, the annual showcase featuring performances from a wide variety of campus groups as well as a smattering of off-campus acts. 

Tamasha, one of the largest cultural showcases at Columbia, is the biggest event organized by Club Zamana, an umbrella organization that includes dance, a cappella, and cultural groups.

Planning for Tamasha has been an ongoing process since December, when the board sat down to begin discussing the theme. After finalizing the theme in late January and putting on a few other events earlier in the semester, the board began planning Tamasha in earnest. 


To balance its preliminary round of advertising with the desire to keep the theme a secret for as long as possible, Zamana posted black and white flyers featuring an elephant standing on a ball and a girl carrying a banner bearing the date of the event. 

On March 24, two weeks before the event, Zamana officially released the theme of the event, Tamasha Le Cirque, at the end of its teaser video, which also announced the lineup of the event: several South Asian dance groups, including Columbia Bhangra, Dhoom, Taal, and Raas; a cappella groups like CU Raaga and Sur; and groups that are not affiliated with Zamana, such as String Theory and Raw Elementz. 

“We're really excited to have them. … Usually they have a show that conflicted with Tamasha in previous years,” Tanvi Gupta CC '14 and the president of Zamana, said. “It's great that there are a lot of South Asian groups performing,” Meghan Hartman, BC '16 and a member of CU Bhangra who's performing at Tamasha, said. 

“But I like the fact that they invite other groups. You see how hip-hop inflects Bhangra, how the styles influence each other—that's one of my favorite parts about Tamasha,” Hartman said.  

But campus groups aren't the only ones performing. Although last year's Tamasha did not include outside performers, this year's event will feature two outside acts. In addition to New York City comedian Gibran Saleem serving as this year's master of ceremonies, circus group Aerial Acrobatic Entertainment will perform, highlighting Zamana's efforts to manifest the theme in the performances themselves. 

“Tamasha's always one of my favorite performances just because it's on campus—it's one of the few times we get to perform for all our friends at once,” Nirali Sampat, SEAS'14 and co-captain of CU Bhangra, said. “Everyone's coming together and doing something again after three years. It's a good way to bring the community together.” 

Having started as an organizational committee member for Tamasha her first year, Sampat's involvement in Tamasha culminates in her dancing in Senior Segment, the last act in the lineup, which features graduating students and is open to all seniors who want to participate.  

“For me, competitions are always a blast, but when you're performing for home—like home turf—it's infinitely better. … It's much more electrifying when the audience actually knows who you are. It's so much fun to share it with them,” Hartman said. 

Hartman performed in the Freshman Segment at Tamasha last year. Freshman Segment is the opening performance, in which all of Zamana's first-years dance.  

Debayan Guha, CC '15 and an organizer for the event, noted that although Tamasha is an event organized by a South Asian cultural organization, its importance extends beyond awareness of South Asian culture.

“The attendees are a very broad, very inclusive amount of the Columbia committee, and it's an event that energizes the campus,” he said. “Events like this are where you generate a community from. Tamasha's less of a cultural show and more of a community space.” 

Tamasha begins at 7:30 on Friday, April 4 at Roone Arledge Auditorium. Tickets are $5 with a CUID online, or $8 at the door.

Correction: An earlier version of this article said that Tamasha's Senior Segment features all seniors involved in Club Zamana groups. It is in fact open to any graduating student who wants to participate. Spectator regrets the error.

Tamasha circus Club Zamana
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