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UI senior founded UI's first Bollywood dance team

BY KRISTEN EAST | DECEMBER 15, 2011 7:20 AM

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Tanvi Inani has tried nearly every restaurant in Iowa City.

After graduating this month, Inani said, her next big project is learning how to make sushi.

"I want to kind of learn how to cook everything. It's baby steps," she said. "I love exotic food, and I love food in general."

But being adventurous with her dining options hasn't been Inani's biggest accomplishment during her three and a half years at the University of Iowa.

Inani — who is majoring in economics and international studies and minoring in Spanish — said holding two leadership positions was the most fulfilling part of her college experience.

Those two leadership roles included coordinating a Bollywood fusion team and serving as chief justice on the UI Student Government's Student Judicial Court.

Iowa Andhi, a UI student organization Inani started during her sophomore year, was the first competitive Bollywood fusion team on campus and in the state of Iowa. The dance team fuses American music with an Indian beat and Bollywood flair.

"[Bollywood dancing] is something I've been doing since I was very young at family functons," she said. "I'd done a few things non-competitively here, but I wanted to have a routine going on and compete all year round."

The team went on to compete in about nine shows on campus during its first year, performing at many events, including Dance Marathon and Relay for Life.

"Starting Andhi has been the most personally fulfilling thing I've done in my college career," she said. "It's kind of my baby. It's something I hope to come back to five years from now and see it still on stage and know I had that kind of effect on the university."

Inani also assumed the role of chief justice of the Student Judicial Court starting her junior year. Inani said the court interested her because studying law has always been an option she's wanted to pursue.

"We've taken [the court] from being one of the forgotten branches and made it much more of a board that has a voice on campus, as well as something that helped the checks and balances system that we needed on campus," she said.

UISG President Elliot Higgins said Inani was an important part of having the court take an active role on campus.

"In the years prior to her being chief justice, the Student Judicial Court had struggled to find a view on campus. It hadn't heard a case on campus for several years, actually," Higgins said. "Tanvi provided really proactive leadership for [the court]."

Inani said she's proud to have been a force for the court.

"[The court] was definitely frustrating at first, because there was so much red tape to go around," she said. "I really see it taking so many bigger steps now."

Though the UI was "definitely not" her first choice for her undergraduate studies, Inani said, it allowed her to start her own student organization and participate in groups encompassing all her interests.

"I had plenty of chances to leave [the UI] if I wasn't happy, but I was continuously impressed with Iowa," she said.

Inani's post-graduation plans include working as a systems integration-consulting analyst for Accenture, a management-consulting company.

"Consulting is one of those things where I can do what Iowa let me do," she said. "I can go on short-term projects, and do a bunch of different things, and experience lots of industries and businesses rather than be tied down to one thing."

Though she'll be a consultant following graduation and plans on attending graduate school in the near future, Inani doesn't plan to put her love of food aside.

She said she can see herself opening her own restaurant in 10 years.

"I could see it being in Iowa City or some other small town," she said. "It'd have just really good food in a place that makes you feel super homey."


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