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Space City Raas Partners with Kalakriti Performing Arts for the First Garba/Raas Competition

Photos: PG Photography & Design

Photos: PG Photography & Design

By Nakita Pandya

HOUSTON: The University of Houston’s Space City Raas (SCR) in partnership with Kalakriti Performing Arts put on an outstanding show this last weekend at Cullen Performance Hall! Eight Raas Garba teams from Texas, Missouri, Florida, and Pennsylvania traveled far and wide to compete and earn bid points to Raas All-Stars, the Raas National Championship. An exciting RAS video played at the show, presenting their event as its tenth anniversary, coming this March in Dallas.

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The Space City Raas board is a group of Roarin’ Raas alumni, dedicated to continuing the legacy of their founder, brother, and standing example on what it means to be a teammate, Rakesh ‘Rocky’ Patel. To commemorate him, the board invited the Be the Match Foundation to the show. Be the Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, and has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world for the past 25 years. Space City Raas highlighted that matches found for South Asian patients are less than 3%. Their heartwarming and informative speech before intermission led to many audience viewers to register for bone marrow donation. 

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The dance performances were beyond energetic and enigmatic. Each team was composed of a mix of Raas and Garba songs, and included an incorporation of thematic elements. For example, Texas A&M Wreckin’ Raas incorporated themes of an airport through out their entire performance, ending their dance with a clever line alluding to their lost luggage. SLU Raas, from Saint Louis University, traveled through a Supermarket in their dance, showing them going down the isles and grabbing common grocery. All of these themes accompanied a combination of traditional Gujarati folk dance and modern influences. These performances were a perfect of example of the Indian-American youth, and their drive to preserve their two cultures.

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An array of judges were picked for Choreography, Execution, and Artistic Element. The talented Kusum Sharma from Kalakriti Performing Arts was one of two Artistic Element judges, using her experience and knowledge on Indian dance to decide her top choices. All of the judges went through thorough judges training, as well as an exciting judges deliberation after all the performances were done. They went through each and every opinion until the there was a consensus.

While the judges spent time deliberating their top choices, to beautifully arranged dance pieces went into motion. One was a classical dance team from Sunanda Nair Performing Arts, and the other was a Bollywood dance organized by Kusum Sharma’s Shri Natraj School of Dance. Both performances showcased differing Indian styles of dance! At the end of it only one team came out on top, and that team was University of Texas, Dallas, TaRaas. In second and third place were UT Texas Raas and UF GatoRaas, respectively. Families and friends from all over Texas came to watch an unforgettable show. From high-energy performances, to meaningful and charitable speeches, Space City Raas was an event that created a lasting impression on a diverse audience.

Kalakriti Performing Arts is non-profit organization with mission to support Indian culture and heritage through artistic and visual dance forms. Over the years Kalakriti has worked with several other Houston non-profit organizations to support their fundraiser. Ramleela a signature event of Kalakriti held annually at VPSS Haveli. Ramleela 2018 will be held on October 21, 2018.   

For more information and for future event details please visit www.kalakritiusa.org or www.facebook.com/kalakritiusa. Kalakriti & SCR look forward for your support next year and seeing each of you again at our next event in Dallas at RAA ALL STARS X on March 31st 2018.

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