Crowds gather around TV sets to watch “America’s Best Dance Crew,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” Needless to say, dance competitions are inspiring, compelling and exciting to watch. Now is another annual dance competition, this time brought by the United Indian Student Alliance (UISA), that is the first of its kind: ATL Tamasha.
The United Indian Student Alliance is a collaboration of Indian students from campuses around the southeastern region, including Tech, Georgia State University, Emory, UGA, Kennesaw State University, Georgia Perimeter College and Southern Polytechnic State University.
UISA serves as an over-arching student organization for the different Indian student groups on college campuses. It unifies and supports the efforts of the individual groups and strives to increase the awareness of Indian culture in the area.
Each year, UISA hosts a dance show in honor of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. However, UISA took a different route this year.
“Normally, [UISA] holds the annual Diwali Show, and this year, we decided to kick it up a notch and turn it into a competition known as ATL Tamasha 2010,” said Kishan Bhula, the VP of Finance for UISA and a third-year PTFE major.
The first ATL Tamasha show is unique in several ways. The competition was bigger than previous competitions, with a larger number of teams competing and bigger prize values.
UISA broke its participants into four categories: Fusion, Female Fusion, Bhangra and Raas/Garba; the latter two are regional Indian dance styles.
This means that each team is not competing against all the teams, but only the teams within its respective category of dance.
Participating teams included Azaadi, GSU/UGA Bhangra, Emory Karma, Ramblin’ Raas, Southern Raaspitality, TarHeel Raas, Asura, Qurbani, Tufaan, Champa and Chameli, Nazaaqat and Paheli.
“The show itself was a blast to put on and raked in hundreds of spectators to the GT Ferst Center that evening,” Bhula said, who is also a member of Qurbani and Ramblin’ Raas.
“It was a marvelous experience to watch people of different teams from different schools perform in different categories,” said Pushkara Chaganti, a member of the Nazaaqat and Ramblin’ Raas, and a second-year CS major.
“I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Nazaaqat and ATL Tamasha, and I’m eagerly looking forward to the next one,” Changanti said.
Each category winner was also the recipient of a $1000 cash prize, and ultimately every team was competing for the overall prize, the “A-Town Crown.”
The winners of each category are as follows: Fusion—Qurbani, Female Fusion—Paheli, Bhangra—Karma, Raas/Garba—Tar Heel Raas. UISA awarded the “A-Town Crown” to Karma.
“The six-hour practices and endless frustration of the efficiencies of an amateur team pay off big when you hear the crowd roar at a piece you helped create or at how you interpret music through your body,” said Ryan Yan, a member of Qurbani and a second-year MGT major. “The rush is incredible and can never be duplicated in any way.”
There are big plans for UISA’s first dance competition, which include expanding its reach to outside the Southeast.
“This was much more organized than any other Georgia Indian dance competition I have been to,” said Janushi Pandya, a member of Tufaan and a second-year BME major.
“We hope to see ATL Tamasha turn into not just a competition for the Southeast but a competition for teams from around the nation to come and compete,” Bhula said.
All this falls within the UISA’s goal of working together and networking.
Students can get involved in the organization to meet similar people in various schools and with different backgrounds. It serves as a base point for Indian students to reach out to one another and get to know the community.
“I joined and decided to take on a more active role as VP of Finance to retain my own sense of culture as I continued my college career through Tech,” Bhula said. “It’s something that’s pretty important to me and it’s also a great way to network with different individuals from around the state.”