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A Garba-Raas Dance Explosion

BU hosts traditional Indian dance competition

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In the video above, members of BU Fatakada practice Garba-Raas, a traditional dance style from the Indian state of Gujarat, for Saturday’s Garbafest.

Sophomore year, Sneh Shah accompanied a friend who was auditioning for BU Fatakada — meaning “fireworks” in English — a competitive dance team that fuses traditional Indian with modern Western dance styles. Becoming part of the team himself was far from his mind.

“I had no intention of joining,” says Shah (ENG’11), “but it’s probably one of the best things that happened to me at college.”

Shah says that traditional Indian events, such as weddings and Navratri, a Hindu festival in which people dance in the streets for nine consecutive days, “all incorporate a common element: Garba-Raas.”

“I was once the guy who sat in the corner watching all the girls dance, because I was too intimidated,” says Shah. “Now I’m proud to dance Garba-Raas, a tradition my ancestors created.”

A classical style of dance that originated in the Indian state of Gujarat and incorporates colorful costumes and energetic movements, Garba-Raas has traveled across the world.

Along with his teammates, Shah is currently preparing for this weekend’s Garbafest 6, an intercollegiate Garba-Raas dance competition with participants from nine colleges and universities, among them Stanford, the University of Miami, and Tufts. Prizes include a bid to the Raas All Stars National Championships in Dallas and a top prize of $2,001 — following Indian tradition, the $1 is added for good luck.

BU’s India Club is hosting the sixth annual Garbafest competition, at John Hancock Hall in the Back Bay on Saturday, February 6. As the host institution, Boston University will showcase its dance teams Fatakada and Jalwa, joined by Aangikam Dance Academy. Kicking off the competition, BU’s Suno will sing a cappella renditions of the Indian and U.S. national anthems.

Fatakada member Radhika Patel (SMG’12) admits she loves winning competitions, but says her main motivation is to give the audience a good time. “A lot can be said for our team name Fatakada,” she adds, “because like fireworks, when we hit the stage, we explode.”

Garbafest 6 takes place on Saturday, February 6, at John Hancock Hall, 180 Berkeley St., Boston. Doors open at 5 p.m. and performances start at 6. Tickets can be purchased at the GSU Link Thursday from 10 to 11:40 a.m. and from 12:30 to 3 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and at the John Hancock Hall box office starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The first 50 tickets are $15; all tickets thereafter are $20. An after party for the over 18 crowd features hip-hop, Bollywood, Top 40, and Bhangra music, and will take place at the State Room, 60 State St., Boston, after Saturday’s show. Tickets can be purchased for $21 at the GSU Link (see times above), for $26.50 at the John Hancock box office starting at 4 p.m. on the day of the show, or online. VIP tickets are available for $32, and include skipping the line, complimentary appetizers, and access to a VIP balcony overlooking the dance floor and the Boston skyline. After party participants must wear proper attire.

Robin Berghaus can be reached at berghaus@bu.edu.

13 Comments

13 Comments on A Garba-Raas Dance Explosion

  • Dipali on 02.04.2010 at 12:48 pm

    BU <3 FATAKADA!!

    Can’t wait to watch Garbafest!

  • Anonymous on 02.04.2010 at 3:43 pm

    Looks Awesome!

  • Anonymous on 02.04.2010 at 7:49 pm

    good luck and have fun!!!!

  • Anonymous on 02.05.2010 at 1:05 am

    this video is amazing

  • Great Work on 02.11.2010 at 10:42 am

    Wow this is incredible. BU is lucky to have a group like this on campus. Whoever started it, and all those that keep it going, deserve thanks and congratulations.

  • Anonymous2 on 02.11.2010 at 4:00 pm

    you guys look great!

  • Anonymous on 02.11.2010 at 9:33 pm

    Case Raas Goondas are frikkin’ awesome

  • Anonymous on 02.12.2010 at 1:04 pm

    Fantastic!

  • Anonymous on 02.12.2010 at 5:17 pm

    BEST TEAM

    WOOO BU FATAKADAS!!! BEST TEAM EVERRR!! national champs two years in a row!! WAHOO WAHOO

  • Anonymous on 03.06.2010 at 12:04 pm

    Dance, costumes and energy

    I really enjoyed learning about Garba-Raas. It’s nice to see the diversity and beauty of BU, and get a glimpse into another culture. Go team Fatakada!

  • Anonymous on 04.11.2010 at 12:58 pm

    Wow, this is great, it reminds me of so many great memories. FYI Garba raas is a dance usually performed depicting scenes of gods and godesses (holi, krishna, lila and radha). This is a traditional dance so you are more likely to see it if you go to indian weddings…kasyno online

  • Matt on 08.31.2010 at 9:39 pm

    The colors!!

    I love the dresses (esp. the colors) and outfits, and I can tell from the energetic dancing sessions in the video that these guys are having fun doing what they do in these shows. Hopefully I’ll get to catch it next time around. ~Matt

  • Navratri SMS on 09.21.2010 at 5:15 am

    Falguni patek's Garba

    I Crazy about Garba . I Play garba with my friends.Every year we try new steps and we really Njoy Falguni patek’s Garba.

    Happy Navratri to all my friends.

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