Across a black banner at the top of Penn Masti's website, a white subtitle proudly declares that they are Penn's premier South Asian–fusion dance team. After speaking to the president and marketing chair, I can’t help but agree. President Akshat Agrawal and Marketing Chair Cabir Kansupada spoke with such adoration for their group that I couldn’t help but fall for Penn Masti as well. At this point, they're more than busy putting the finishing touches on their 11th annual show Nightfall.
The championship–winning team puts on an annual show every year. To make their huge shows a reality, several members spend the summer coming up with choreography. Everything from the musical mix and the costuming is done in–house; any member can be involved. The 7–10 hours a week they put into preparing pays off. For two years straight, their annual show has sold completely out, selling approximately 250 tickets per night.
Aside from the annual show, they also perform at the South Asia Cultural Showcase, Spring Fling, charity events, even some weddings. They’ve been booked every weekend for the past 3 months, Cabir casually mentioned. According to Akshat, being at a Masti show is fun for both the dancers and the audience. It’s evident that everyone on that stage is having a great time.
This troupe is busy, but they’re also close. Akshat said that his teammates were “the best people to spend way too much time with.” There’s no way to fully describe the way Akshat’s face lit up when he talked about his team—he said the group felt like a family. The senior members care for the freshmen in a genuine way that he hadn’t seen in any other group.
I asked what kind of growth we should expect to see from them in the future. They mentioned three key things: even more recognition from people outside of the group, an upcoming choreography series, and audition numbers continuing to skyrocket (60 people came out in the fall).
For Nightfall, expect themes involving protest, white–collar crime, and other social and political issues. Be sure to get tickets—if past years are any indication, it’s sure to sell out soon.
What: 11th Annual Show: Nightfall
Where: Iron Gate Theater
When: Friday, January 12th through Saturday, January 13th