Saturday, Feb. 2, marked the second annual A-Town Showdown at the Georgia World Congress Center, a high stakes competition for Raas and Bollywood Fusion dance teams from all over the nation. The competition, held by Tech’s dance teams Qurbani and Ramblin’ Raas and attended by nearly 1300 people, hosted teams from Cornell, Stanford, Berkeley, Purdue, Northwestern, Penn State and other universities after a highly selective application process.
Each team at the competition fell under one of two dance categories, Raas or Fusion. For those who do not know, Raas is a folk dance form that originated in India and is often performed at Hindu religious services. Fusion is a hybrid dance form that combines contemporary, Bollywood, hip-hop and bhangra. Seven Raas teams and seven Fusion teams competed at the event Saturday to clench the crown of A-Town Showdown and earn a spot to compete at three of the largest national competitions: Bollywood America (BA), RAS and Best of the Best (BoB). The first place winners of each category received bids to attend Bollywood America and RAS respectively, and the top three teams in each category received Best of the Best points. At the end of the season, teams with the most points or bids compete at BA, RAS or BoB. Both the national competitions and the regional ones that lead up to them are part of a national network of dancers and organizers called Desi Dance Teams, or DDT.
UC Dhadak’s performance was met with roaring applause, standing ovations and top scores by judges.
The format of the competition includes a first round in which all 14 teams perform for five minutes each. After the first round, the top three teams in either category are announced, and each team performs for another two minutes before the judges crown the champions. The Georgia World Congress Center was packed to capacity on Saturday, with supporters from all over the nation traveling to Atlanta to watch their teams perform. Each team demonstrated incredible versatility and passion, and the judges ultimately awarded University of Cincinnati‘s Dhadak with first place in Fusion. Emory Saraas with awarded first place in the Raas category. Both teams exhibited incredible energy and preparation, with astounding choreography that left the audience with no choice but to dance, sing and cheer. Emory Saraas performed the folk dance to perfection and incorporated music from popular ATL hip-hop songs. UC Dhadak received two standing ovations, one for each round of their performance. Dhadak’s performance included multiple gravity-defying stunts, complex and synchronized choreography and a crowd-pumping gimmick with a 7-year-old break-dancer. At the end of the competition, the Executive Board of A-Town Showdown, comprised of Tech students, announced the winners.
After hearing the results, Raj Dilwa, dancer for Emory Saraas, remarked, “I’m in complete disbelief. Round 2 made all the difference. This was our best shot to go to nationals and we’re very excited to compete at RAS.”
UC Dhadak’s performance was met with roaring applause, standing ovations and top scores by judges. After the team’s victory, the captain of UC Dhadak stated that, “[i]t was unreal and it felt like a dream come true. We won this same competition last year, but it only hit me this time.”
The massive success of the event came from the year-long preparation by the executive board and liaisons that managed the team throughout the weekend.
Finance Chair Tejas Oza, when asked to comment on the success of the event, remarked, “When it came down to the wire, the audience and sponsor support made this event possible. The turnout was an exponential growth from last year, and we expect even better in 2014.” A-Town Showdown Directors Gowtham Govind and Kishan Bhula expressed gratitude and thanks at the conclusion of the event. Gowthan Govind remarked, “We tried to create an unforgettable experience while these teams stayed in Atlanta for the weekend. A-Town Showdown is the most rewarding experience I can think of.” The A-Town Showdown was truly an event to remember.