Satish Devan, president of USF’s Bollywood Dance Club, brings a slice of India’s culture to campus with his enthusiasm for his native country’s traditional dance.
Devan is an international student from Vellore, India, one of the oldest cities in South India. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Chennai, India, he applied to many U.S. colleges and chose USF to pursue his Master’s of Science in electrical engineering degree. His sister, a USF student, wanted him to join her so they could live close to each other.
One of the things Devan misses most from Vellore is bike riding on the city’s roads. Now that he’s in Florida, Devan has replaced that pastime with hobbies such as going to the movie theater and bowling alley. But one particular hobby takes up a majority of his time: his role as president of the Bollywood Dance Club.
“I love dancing,” Devan said. “I’ve always had a passion for dance and that’s why I’m really interested in being a part of the Bollywood Dance Club.”
Three years ago, the U.S. was introduced to Bollywood, the most famous Indian film industry, through the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.” Since then, the Bollywood craze has been going strong. According to TheHindu.com, some universities, such as the University of Manchester; the University of California, Berkeley; and Cardiff University, have gone as far as to include the study of Bollywood films to their course curricula.
While USF doesn’t have a course dedicated to Bollywood, students such as Devan bring a little bit of Bollywood to us. Some of his duties as president include scheduling dance classes every week and practice sessions for upcoming events. He also oversees each of the club’s elected officers.
Despite all of the work he has to do to keep the club up and running, Devan said he has a great time with it.
“It’s definitely a lot of fun,” he said. “I love teaching about Bollywood. I think American people do love Indian culture and they are passionate to learn about the dance.”
Despite the pressure of balancing graduate school and running an active club, Devan still manages to be a very pleasant person, said Prutha Bhise, a graduate student and club member.
He’s very easy going,” Bhise said. “He takes charge and makes things happen, but it’s not like he’s a dictator or anything.”
Manaswini Rao, a junior who is also a member of the Bollywood Dance Club, said Devan is more than just club president.
“Some people are like ‘We meet during meetings and beyond that I have nothing to do with you,’” she said. “But with him it grows to a friendship, and he’s always there when you need him.”