On Saturday, UVa’s competitive co-ed Bhangra team finished their season at the Bhangra Blowout in Washington D.C. Though the team did not place this weekend, the UVa Di Shaan team did achieve top 3 honors in all of the other competitions this season, an impressive feat for a young team.
Bhangra is a style of modern dance with origins in the Punbaj region of India.
Over the last four years, UVa Di Shaan has been dominant, winning first, second, or third place in almost every competition. This season, the team placed second in November’s Tashan competition at Temple University and came in third in Nachde Nashville at Vanderbilt University in February. This past weekend’s Blowout competition in D.C. is considered the collegiate championship, as the oldest running Bhangra competition in the country.
Fourth year team member Suma Chaparala noted the importance of the team to her.
“The team means a lot to me,” Chaparala said. “We’ve all become a family, and I know that sounds cheesy and like a corny line all team members say, but when we started out in the fall, we were a pretty young team as the underdogs.”
Last year, seven fourth years graduated from UVa Di Shaan’s twelve member team. Chaparala comments that she felt a lot of pressure “to live up to the legacy” of the past team. However, according to Chaparala, the team beat the odds.
“We’ve all come together this past year and worked so hard and have really bonded with each other,” Chaparala said. “I believe we have definitely proven our worth throughout this year, not only through placing at competitions throughout the semester, but through having each other’s backs and really dancing as one team.”
Fourth year Di Shaan captain Narotham Badrish was one of the three captains who designed the choreography and formations for the team’s dance routine and helped teach the other dancers learn the specific steps and movements.
“My favorite moment over my entire time on the team was after our first major competition when I was captain this past fall at Temple University. We all came back to the hotel and went to a diner late at night to celebrate since we had just won second place,” Badrish said. “It was the first time I really felt that we had become more of a family than a team. From then on, our group dynamic has remained close through our interactions both during and outside of practice.”
Badrish predicts great things for the team after he graduates.
“Since we are a young team, I believe that we have a very bright future,” Badrish said. “We were able to give many new dancers the experience of dancing at multiple competitions, so I believe that the team will improve on what we have accomplished this year and be even more successful in the years to come.”