This longtime Fisher RA, MERT miracle worker and self–proclaimed Indian grandmother knows how to alternate your spring break, leads Penn’s Dance Arts Council and is a proud member of Oracle.
Street: You’re DAC Chair and in PENNaach. What’s the group’s specialty?
Bhargavi Ammu: Naach is a South Asian female dance team. A bunch of us are trained in classical Indian dance, but I’m all about fusion. I did 15 years of classical training, but I was also on step team in high school. Our show is tomorrow and Saturday at the Iron Gate Theater, which is my second favorite place in Philly.
Street: What’s your first?
BA: 30th Street Station. It’s so beautiful. It connects my two homes since I’m from New Jersey.
Street: So you mentioned you can stomp the yard. What are your thoughts on “Step Up”?
BA: I don’t want to be associated with Channing Tatum right now. There’s more to it than that! I did a step piece with Dhamaka and in this year’s show, I’m dancing with to a Lupe Fiasco song with a former resident who’s in Penn Dance.
Street: So you’re super tight with your residents? So cute.
BA: I’ve been an RA since sophomore year and take my job really seriously. My residents call themselves the Bhargavites of Bhargaville Hall. Some of them from last year are even dating now! I have one–on–one meetings with my residents. I know when they have their exams. I know one of my girls’ period schedules to make sure she’s not pregnant.
Street: Dating? Scandalous. So you’re okay with hallcest?
BA: It’s okay, it mostly happens at the end of the year. I know I’m gonna be invited to some of their weddings. I better be. Being an RA has been one of the most gratifying things I’ve done here.
Street: As DAC Chair, you must be really invested in the arts at Penn. Do you support all the other groups?
BA: Absolutely. I go to like three or four shows a week. I have a schedule of arts events in Philly and all the PAC shows. There are more than 42 groups at Penn and I’ve gone to at least 35 of them. There’s so much raw talent at Penn and it would be a waste of my going here to not capitalize on that.
Street: We hear you’re in MERT, which is awesome. What was the most bizarre incident you’ve experienced?
BA: I always work Saturday of Halloween and it’s hilarious. Once, there was someone in a Penn Police uniform and I was like, “Everyone get back!” But it was a student, all decked out in a Penn Police costume. And he was the patient. He’d gotten in a fight and gone through the glass in Allegro! The worst part was that he was like, “Oh, you’re on MERT? I just applied. Is this going to affect my application?”
Street: What’s it been like leading Alternate Spring Break trips?
BA: ASB is the bomb diggity. You think you would get close to people knowing them for years, but you become amazingly close in seven days. It’s about the idea of engaging in service, when Penn can be a very for–profit type of place. It’s nice to separate yourself from that, to serve others.
Street: What’s your guilty pleasure?
BA: Getting Naked. The juice. Mighty Mango. I’m obsessed with mangos. And berries. Of all types–black, blue, straw and rasp. Wait, also, I love complimenting random people. Once I saw a woman getting into a cab in New York whose dress I loved, so I got in a taxi to follow her for 10 blocks. I ran out and said, “Hey! I just wanna say I think your dress is fabulous and I hope you have a wonderful day.” And then I just walked away.
Street: There are two types of people at Penn…
BA: Those who think they know what they’re doing and those who know that they don’t know and are cool with it.
Street: Who’s your alter ego?
BA: Bhargamma. I’m an Indian grandmother at heart. I won’t say, “How are you?” I’ll say, “HAVE YOU EATEN?” Because if you have food in your stomach, what can be wrong? I’ll send emails reminding people to back up their computers on December 31. Lists are life. I have a list of my lists.