Practice makes perfect for the GW Raas team – at least, that is the mentality the group believes in as they prepare for a nationwide competition happening at the Lisner Auditiorium in November.
“Raas Chaos” will bring groups from around the country together to compete in an ancient style of dance Nov. 21. The 14 members of the GW team have spent the past two months trying to perfect an eight-minute piece of Western Indian-style dance.
“It’s definitely a commitment, but it’s well worth it,” said Urvi Patel, a second-year member of the team.
It is the ninth competition the GW South Asian Society has hosted since 2001.
The event will bring schools such as Columbia University, New York University and the University of Pennsylvania to Foggy Bottom to showcase their talents. Last year, the GW team came in second to Pennsylvania State University.
“[You] feel a lot of pride for your school [when performing],” said Radhika Vora, a captain of the GW group. “[Especially when] you hear people yelling the school’s name.”
The rehearsal process began in June and, by the middle of the summer, the group had chosen their final music by using a local DJ to mix traditional songs and modern dance beats. Soon after the completion of the mixtape, each group set the choreography into motion according to a specific theme.
When the event opens, the GW team will compete against other groups vying for the number one spot as an American champion. Though the group has spent up to 30 hours a week in preparation this semester, there is still a lot to master before the piece is performance-ready.
“[What’s most difficult] is not only dancing, but the formations and originality,” said Patel.
The ancient style of dance originated in the western Indian state of Gujarat. For the performance, the teams will combine the Garba technique, in which the dancers make circular motions of their arms with each movement ending in a clap, and the Raas technique, in which they perform with one or two bamboo sticks.
“Over time, the dance has become more modern,” said Vora, who is also a four-year veteran.
The group also tries to mix the traditional aspects with the contemporary so it’s more unique, said Vora. The dance presents a masterful showcase of the old world with the new.
Co-captain and choreographer Kunal Patel said he is excited to introduce his campus to the unique and intricate art form.
“People will be able to see how different South Asian dance can be,” he said. “It’s a very high energetic cultural dance that we all take pride in.”
Raas Chaos takes place on Saturday, November 21 at 7 p.m. at Lisner Auditorium. Tickets are available online or at the Lisner Auditorium box office.