Energy filled the room in Haven’s Lounge Tuesday night as UR’s top bhangra team prepared for its closing performance in ADITI’s Mela celebration Saturday.

As they practiced, the room radiated the positive feel of the Punjabi music. Men swung long wooden sticks and women danced seductively as they practiced routines they plan to perform this year.

The team has been practicing two hours a day all year long in preparation in for not just Mela but for competitions across the northeastern United States and Canada and they have been doing quite well ? most recently taking second place in Toronto last weekend at a competitive bhangra blast competition.

UR’s group only lost to a professional team of what sophomore and team leader Reeshi Ray characterized as “a bunch of 30-year-old guys who dance for a living.”

A competition isn’t that complicated and is comparable, in structure but not content, to a cheerleading competition. Each team has a prepared eight-minute-routine that they perform on a stage in front of a crowd and judges. The judges rank the dances on a number of different categories.Clearly, they group was pleased with their showing.

“We did as well as we could have expected,” Ray said. “We were competing against people out of our league and despite that we took second place.”

This wasn’t UR’s first experience at regional competitions as the team placed second this November at a collegiate competition in Buffalo and took first at a similar competition this semester at Cornell University.To prepare, the group has been practicing daily for about two hours a night since the beginning of the year. It is now working on its third ? and as members say ? its best routine.

Because of their success, and obvious talent, the group was invited to the prestigious Bhangra Blowout celebration in Washington DC. Of 60 schools that are given the opportunity to audition for a spot at the blast, only ten are accepted.

The problem. Washington D.C.’s Bhangra Blowout, is scheduled for this weekend ? the same weekend as is ADITI’s Mela.

The group has practiced two hours a night since the beginning of the year

The most recent team formed after the last Mela celebration.

“We just wanted to?”

Seth said when he learned the date he immediately went to see if he could change the date of Mela so UR’s bhangra team cou

It an event the group, who is only graduating two members and one that added five new freshman, hopes can attend in the future. But, for now, they are left to focus all of their creative energies on this year’s Mela celebration.

“For most people, its new,” Pay said. “It’s something that they don’t experience must in Rochester.”

Or, in many areas of the country for that matter, and Mela is an eye-opening experience.

A misconception of ADITI’s mission on campus is that it the group only represent Indian culture and beliefs. In fact, the group and Mela, involved seven different southeast Asian country including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Batan.

The show will bring 12 separate acts together and will highlight dances, music, fashion and skits to highlight the comedic side of the culture.

Mela starts Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. in Strong Auditorium. Tickets for the cultural show are on sale at the Common Market for $2 for students and $3 for the general public. Tickets to the dinner sold out Tuesday night but the

Hildebrandt can be reached at thildebrandt@campustimes.org.



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