Traditional Indian-style dance teams to compete at IU Auditorium at Raas Royalty event

Raas Winners Edited

Winners of Raas Royalty VI celebrate onstage. Photo courtesy Raas Royalty.

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Eight college dance teams from across the nation will compete for the Raas Royalty VII crown at 7 p.m. Saturday at Indiana University Auditorium.

This is the seventh year that Indiana University’s Raas Royalty organization will host the event, in collaboration with IU’s own team, Raas at IU.

“People love to know the culture behind the dance,” said Prachi Patel, an IU senior and co-captain of Raas at IU.

Garba, or raas, is a traditional dance that originated in Gujarat, a western State in India. The choreography consists of high-energy, rhythmic movements and the use of sticks, or dandya. Performers dress in colorful costumes and perform to traditional upbeat music.

Raas at IU

Raas at IU will be performing but not competing at Raas Royalty VII as an exhibition of their own show choreography. Photo courtesy Prachi Patel.

Patel said the event will be presented almost a month later that it has been in the past, and they are reaping the benefits of it.

In changing the date, Patel said the event will now be able to host some of the best teams in the nation. Raas Royalty VII is being called “a preview of nationals this year” by those planning the event.

Each of the teams is competing for a victory at this event as well as a bid to the Raas All Stars National Competition, which will take place April 23 in Houston.

Competing this year are the Big Red Raas (Cornell University), Raasta (Carnegie Mellon University), SaRaas (Emory University), EntouRaas (University of Maryland), Saint Louis University Raas, the Michigan Raas Team, UCRaas (University of California, Riverside) and the Raascals (University of Maryland, Baltimore County).

The first place team will receive $1,500, the second place team $1,000 and third place will receive $500. All three placing teams will receive varying numbers of bid points that help them advance to nationals.

Though they do not compete here, the Raas at IU team will give an exhibition performance.

“It’s honestly one of our best performances during the year,” Patel said.

Raas at IU performing

Raas at IU performed “Wizard of Oz” choreography in Boston earlier this year. Co-captain of the team Prachi Patel said the team looks forward to performing at home even more. Photo courtesy Prachi Patel.

While the team has traveled to Boston and Chicago to compete this year, she said nothing compares to performing at home.

“We have all of our friends here, all of our family,” she said.

Patel said that through collaborations with organizations such as Indiana University Dance Marathon, Raas at IU has been able to gain recognition and popularity among students campuswide.

Patel said Raas Royalty competitions can draw upwards of 1,000 people, a huge crowd compared to some of the competitions Raas at IU has performed at where the crowds max out at about 300.

The event is free but ticketed.

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