One day, during the Fall 2014 semester, Zubaida Khan, a graduate student in the mental health counseling program, teamed up with a friend to create a dance team on the Queens College campus to reflect their passion for Bollywood culture.
Prior to the team’s creation, Khan and her friend were members of a Bhangra dance team, and out of pure obsession with Bollywood music and dance, decided to start a Bollywood fusion dance team.
Khan explains they named the team “fanaa” after a shared passion for the craft of dance. “Fanaa is an Urdu word, which means to be consumed in love with something so much that it destroys you.”
“The idea was that I love dance so much that it consumes me, even if I am in pain, physical or mental, I dance because I can’t stay away from it,” Khan added.
Nida Syed, a senior majoring in psychology, is president of QC Fanaa. Syed has been dancing since she was six, and is trained in contemporary, jazz and ballet dancing. Over the last two years, she has focused on semi-classical and Bollywood style dancing.
Syed reflected on her start with QC Fanaa in October 2015, “My sister and mom pushed me to find a place to belong when I first came to QC. I saw Fanaa perform and I immediately knew it was where I wanted to be.”
Syed also noted the changes QC Fanaa has experienced since she first joined the group, “I felt that the members weren’t as consistent with their dancing as much. It was the same few girls performing. I feel like now, we have such passionate energy on our team. These girls are so dedicated and consistent, it gives me so much hope for how far we can take this team.”
Abi Jeganathan, a senior majoring in sociology and psychology, is the captain of QC Fanaa. Jeganathan has been learning South Indian folk and classical styles of dancing such as bharatanatyam since the age of four. She has completed her arangetram, (a 5-6 hour solo-debut performance with live orchestra), and is certified to teach and perform on her own.
Jegnathan believes what differentiates QC Fanaa from other Bollywood fusion groups is their extensive diversity.
“We are a very diverse group. We have members who differ in religion, ethnicity, culture, age, and class standing. But, we all come together to celebrate our love for dance. We also like to focus on every detail and try to bring the true color of the style to each performance,” Jegnathan explains.
Syed explained that it is the support system of the team that keeps QC Fanna motivated throughout the semester, stating, “I feel like we inspire each other, we push one another to be the best we can be. This semester we got a lot of new members and it’s so refreshing, the energy is so high. The new members bring so much to the table and we learn so much from each other, it’s really exciting.”
Syed continued, describing the long-term goals for QC Fanaa, “ I want us to grow, quite frankly, I want us to be the biggest and baddest team we can be.”
Khan shares this sentiment, adding, “I want to get some guys on the team. We are a co-ed team, in the past we have had a few guys come and go, but to get some guys who can be more consistent members of the team would be one of my long-term goals.”
Jeganathan also noted, “I would like us to become more of a competitive team and take part in more dance competitions, while keeping our family dynamic.”
QC Fanna also notes one of their favorite aspects of being on the team is watching their performances come together. “Watching all your hard work come to fruition. We work very hard to learn the choreography. When you or one of the girls finally nail the choreo it is the best feeling, you can’t help but think ‘what else can I do?’” Jegnathan explained.
Khan agreed, adding “When we are on stage and we catch glimpses of each other, it’s an exhilarating feeling, because we are dancing with some of our best friends. All of our hard work has lead up to that moment.”
Jeganathan, Khan, and Syed, would like to invite all dancers who are interested to join QC Fanaa.
“We become a family in very short amount of time because we see each other so often. If you are looking to meet really great people and have fun, feel free to come and be apart of our family and to share your knowledge and passion for dance. Even if you just want to learn how to dance, come and see what QC Fanaa has to offer.”
QC Fanaa is located in the Student Union basement, room LL16.
As of the publication of this article, QC Fanaa has placed first in Adelphi University’s “Adeliphi’s Best Dance Crew” competition that took place on November 4, 2017.