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Raas Royalty presents annual dance competition this Saturday



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Dancers perform during Raas Royalty's national Indian dance competition Feb. 8, 2015, in the IU Auditorium. The competition showcases the eight intercollegiate teams that perform around the country. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

The Raas Royalty Roundtable student organization will present its ninth annual Raas Royalty Dance Competition 7 p.m. Saturday in the IU Auditorium. Eight groups from colleges around the country will compete. 

The competing groups perform the traditional dance style known as garba raas, which originated from the Gujarat region of India. Performers of the high-intensity dance use sticks called Dandiya. Teams perform tricks and dance to a fusion of old music and recent genres, like hip-hop and rhythm and blues. 

Each team has a different theme they incorporate into their dances, director Pareel Shah said. 

The Raas Royalty Roundtable is a student organization on campus. Students in the organization work throughout the school year to plan the competition that takes place in the spring semester of each year. 

In addition, the group gives back by volunteering in the Bloomington community, Shah said. 

Eight teams were chosen from a pool of applicants from around the country. Applicants sent in a two-minute video for judges to determine who would compete at this year’s event. Alumni of the organization stay involved by judging the competitors’ tapes. 

The lineup this year is intense, said Gazal Kathuria, Raas Raoyalty public relations manager. Competitors have placed first or second in similar competitions at other universities.   

“It’s extremely competitive,” Kathuria said. 

IU presents the competition and is therefore unable to compete. Teams from Illinois, Missouri, Philadelphia, Texas and Florida are among the competitors.

The competition will have four exhibition performances from IU dance teams who perform other types of dance styles. HooSher Bhangra, Hip Hop ConnXion, HoosierRaas and IU Jhanak will all be in attendance, with HoosierRaas opening the competition. 

The theme this year is around the world, which is reflected more so in the pre-show mixer than the actual competition, Kathuria said. 

Before the event, the teams will gather for a mixer and will be assigned a specific country. Raas Royalty provides each team with goodie boxes themed with their chosen country and serves food for the teams. 

The themed mixer provides different ways for Raas Royalty to interact with the teams, Shah said.

While the teams are here, liaisons will be assigned to groups to guide them around Bloomington. The organization raises funds to support the teams' stay on campus and works with hotels, vendors and transportation systems to accommodate the teams. 

The competition is a special experience for the audience, Kathuria said. The teams will sit near the audience, and attendees will become immersed with who they want to win. 

The event is also different because it’s free, unlike other competitions, Shah said. 

“You can come with friends, come with family," Shah said. "Whatever the case really is, it’s guaranteed to blow you away.”

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