Dancing On A National Stage

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roslynRoslyn’s got talent. This is evident by the accomplishments of its residents that are highlighted in virtually every issue of this newspaper. And often, that talent ends up on a national stage. That happened last week as Roslyn resident Shiva Bhargava, a student at Cornell University, along with his fellow students, appeared on a broadcast of the popular television show, America’s Got Talent.

Bhargava is part of a Cornell dance team of a similar name, Cornell Bhangra. Along with thousands of acts from across the United States, the team hoped to appear on the show. A tall order. When the team couldn’t make the second round due to the university’s exam schedule, they performed on The Today Show. That performance earned them a spot on America’s Got Talent where they advanced to the quarterfinal round.

Bhargava, as one could imagine, was busy around the clock in preparing for the show. But he found time to relate his experiences to The Roslyn News.

“I was initially accepted at Cornell University prior to joining the dance team,” he said. “Afterwards, my dancing abilities attracted the attention of the then-captains who decided to make me their soloist. I do a variety of dances and mix them together to form a dancing form unique to myself. For that reason, I freestyle during my solo performances. After four years of being on the team, we managed to eventually win back-to-back World’s Best Bhangra Crew competitions. We attracted the attention of NBC and they offered us a chance to perform at America’s Got Talent. We couldn’t make the second round due to scheduling conflicts (we all had final exams). Nevertheless, we had a chance to perform live on The Today Show for a chance at becoming a quarterfinalist on America’s Got Talent. That is how we are where we are now. In terms of my future goals, I want to pursue a degree in medicine and law to tackle the issues of health policy and biomedical ethics.”

Cornell Bhangra practices a form of Punjabi folk dance, one that combines twists, leaps and high-stepping routines. According to the NBC-TV website, the team was founded in 1997 and has grown to become one of the most well known Bhangra dance teams worldwide, winning back-to-back championships at the World’s Best Bhangra competition. The team consists of Cornell University students from different fields of study, including engineering, economics, biology, chemistry, dance studies and hotel administration. While they all have different academic interests, their passion for Bhangra unites the group.

According to published reports, the show’s celebrity judges, Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Mel B, were highly impressed by the dancing team. However, competition on such a level is very steep and Cornell Bhangra can be satisfied with taking their unique art form to a national stage.

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Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.