Chaahat dance team takes first place prize
Chaahat means passion in Hindi. Members of Washington University’s Bollywood dance team of the same name, say that this is their main characteristic.
Chaahat came in 1st place in the Aa Dekhen Zara dance competition, held at the University of Wisconsin–Madison this past weekend.
Team members say that participating in the competitive circuit helps the team to introduce Washington University to the greater academic community.
According to senior team member Vinod Ravikumar, when Chaahat arrived in Madison this past Friday, few other competitors had heard of Washington University. By the end of the weekend, however, he says that they became a big name in the dance community.
“It was a way of getting Wash. U. out into this academic community. There were so many teams from different schools there were tons of people from different schools who hadn’t heard of Wash. U. and after this competition our name is going around a lot in this circle, and people have a lot of respect for the school,” Ravikumar said.
Junior Shivani Mahapatro helped choreograph the performance. She says the competition enabled the team to share its passion.
“We are being passionate about it and really sharing it, sharing our culture, sharing our school’s name with others. Our team name is really fitting with what we do,” Shivani said.
The 16-member team performed a Bollywood themed dance at the competition. The dance followed the story of eight alien men who arrived on Earth, and put women under mind control.
The team applied to compete in the competition earlier in the year and was one of 10 teams invited to compete.
There were three categories at the competition: Bhangra, fusion and Bollywood. Chaahat won first place in the Bollywood category, and then placed number one overall.
The team was awarded a $1,300 prize for winning both prizes.
Other schools that sent teams to the competition include Northwestern University, The University of Illinois, and Georgetown University.
The team will be participating in two more competitions this year.
According to Ravikumar, it is unusual for a Washington University Indian dance team to be invited to participate in multiple competitions.
Furthermore, he says this is the first time in at least five years that one of the University’s Indian dance teams has won first place in a competition.
The team’s next competition will take place this upcoming weekend in Iowa. The third will be in Chicago, and is a feeder to a national competition, that the Washington University team hopes to take part in.