Women in colorful saris danced across a stage in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom, smiling flirtatiously and moving their bodies to the beat of Indian music.
UF finance junior Farah Naz said she liked the dances at Praharsha, UF’s 10th annual Indian festival of hope and happiness held Saturday night.
"They have different meanings for different dances, different meanings for different clothes," the 19-year-old said.
About 1,000 guests watched students dance and sing in celebration of their culture. Gators for Asha hosted the event and encouraged attendees to donate money to fund educating underprivileged children in India, said Revathi Kadari, the shramdaan coordinator of the event.
With upbeat Bollywood dances, classical Indian music, free henna tattoos and traditional cuisine, Kadari, 25, said the event gave participants a taste of India.
"From the moment you enter, you get a full idea of what Indian culture is like," the UF computer science graduate student said.
Additionally, Gators for Asha showcased a blend of Asian and American culture, and students clapped to Ed Sheeran’s "Thinking Out Loud" and Coldplay’s "Nobody Said It Was Easy." No Southern Accent, a UF a capella group, also attended, vocalizing "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog."
"It’s completely about music," Kadari said.
After the performances ended, local Indian restaurant Andaz served basmati rice and various masalas, which are dishes with a lot of spices and herbs, Kadari said.
Naz said she liked that the food was catered to vegetarians, but she went to experience the culture.
"We have events to give a full picture of what Indian culture is like," Kadari said.
Alligator staff writer Ansley Pentz contributed to this report.