There’s no “i” in team – It’s cheesy, but true

They may throw bedlus instead of baseballs, but Vancouver’s Chaniya Chokries definitely understand what it means to be a team.

Chandni, Priya and Trisha organize fundraisers, Suhani and Hema book practice space, Sim coordinates snacks, Abhilasha tortures us with her four minute abdominal routine (we call it Abh’s Abs). Perisha and Niketa are our resident fashion designers while Tejal and Savitri crack awkward jokes at awkward moments…those who have gone un-mentioned have not gone un-noticed – they are probably swiffering our practice space or brushing up the latest choreography, which means all I have to do is teach.

As a team we’ve already learned a lot. For example, did you know that in India toothbrushes grow on trees? It’s true. In our garba, Krishna asks us to go to the forest to fetch a Datania for himBharti, our team manager (and my mom) tells me that this organic contraption not only cleans your teeth and gums, but can also be peeled into a nifty tongue cleaner.  When I asked where I could get one, she confirmed that it’s one of few products found only on trees and not online.

We know there is still a lot to learn, for example, working on making our style less Bollywood and more Baruch… but we have time. While we definitely have our work cut out for us, as a teacher it’s very refreshing to work with a group of girls who understand the meaning of commitment and teamwork.

See you in Calgary!

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By Divya Thakore – Choreographer of the Vancouver Adult Garba Team

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What’s my name?

Throw 20 names into a hat and randomly select the winner, which will then be the label for your team for the rest of the summer.

Sigh, we all wish it was that stress-free but people have ideas, people have views and most importantly, people have preferences and as much as we respect each other’s opinions, people have wants.

“What about Raascals?” “No that’s stupid; I like Raas on Raas on Raas!”

(This by the way is a senseless team name)

“Let’s be the Raasters or get a celebrities name and switch it like Lady Garba…”

(Not Happening…)

It’s a minor priority in the grand scheme of things since we are miles behind schedule and should be learning the routine as quickly as possible so the editing process can begin, but with all that being said, producing a team name is necessary.

All three teams representing Vancity this September should march into Calgary with confident and respectable team identities… so be inventive, witty, think outside the box, and attempt to tie together the culture, dance and what your team represents.

After hearing a list of names from the Raas group, most of which are ridiculous, two names however stand out.

Raas City & Y.O.R.O.

No idea what those mean?

Well for the out-dated cohort bumping Sonu Nigam in their stereos, the younger generation is listening to artists like Tyga, Drake and Weezy don’t forget the F Baby.

Rack City and Y.O.L.O. are the real titles that have been illustrated by these artists and a few members of the Raas squad modified the title to their benefit and I like it.

However, these names are not traditional which can definitely backfire and they’re not the most creative either. Who’s to say these names aren’t already submitted by the other cities? These titles have nothing to do with Gujaratri culture and do not use the word “Raas” to form a word, such as two of Vancouver’s Alumni Raas champions….the “CobRaas” or “EntouRaas

But then again, these names represent the voice of the younger generation, it’s relevant and different. Raas City is arguably the perfect name for the city of Vancouver. We have hoisted the Raas Garba Competition trophy for consecutive years, and with the amount of gold shelved in our trophy case, we deserve to be labelled Raas City. (Think of Detroit calling themselves “Hockey Town”). They haven’t won the cup for a few years but have a rich history in raising the Holy Grail and probably deserve the title.

Y.O.R.O. which stands for You Only Raas Once is a play on this experience being a once in a lifetime opportunity. Yes I understand we have participated more than once but you’re missing the point. We as a team should treat this experience as if it would never happen again. We should put our best foot forward, dance like it’s the last time we’ll touch the stage and understand that this competition is not an everyday opportunity; we need to, live, feel, and breathe Raas like it’s our last time. That’s our mindset, and what Y.O.R.O. symbolizes.

But, Time will tell, inthe end, we might end up with neither and end up going into Calgary with a name like “GujuRaasis”

Good luck to the other teams finalizing their names.

RD Out

Check out previous blogs

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Ronil Desai is a Youth Ambassador for the Gujarati Society of British Columbia.

First of many

Everyday is Saturday night but I can’t wait for Sunday morning…

Hold up, I’ll take that back, especially when Sunday morning starts off at 6:30am… Yup, you read that correctly, 6:30 in the morning. Now I know there are those keeners who are out having breakfast and going for runs as the sun rises but for the Raas team, 6:30 in the morning involves a pillow, a blanket and possibly a teddy bear.

However, now that the Raas Garba journey has begun, the members of the Raas team will have to fine-tune their sleeping pattern because Sunday mornings will be starting off bright and early.

The first practice/meeting was on May 20th at 6:30am for the Vancouver Raasters’. The team finally had a chance to meet one another and learn more about their managers and choreographers. These are the individuals the dancers will be dealing with over the next few months, so this first meet and greet was essential.

After a brief discussion on the administrative aspects of the competition and festival, the managers outlined a few of the guidelines and expectations they have of the dancers throughout the summer. One of them of course is being punctual and as we all know, that is often an issue. After getting to know some of the members on the team for a few years, let’s just say a few latecomers will have to empty out their pockets.

Following the discussion, practice was in full effect beginning with a few footwork drills and basic Raas technique. The team formed a circle and attempted to mimic the choreographer, Meera Rajs’ grace and talent. Unfortunately, the speed and form was lacking and the circle was rotating slower than the senior circle at Navratri….we’ll get it don’t worry.

A concern that is likely to dominate the discussion throughout the summer is spinning the Dandiya. It’s time to close the casket of making the illusion of spinning, choreographer Meera Raj was adamant in making this a priority. So if you’re ever wondering why our wrists are hurting, that’s the reason…the only reason.

It was the first of many practices but it definitely started off on a strong note. The priority was clear; we’re in it to win it and each member will have to put in the work if they expect any success Labour Day weekend.

See you next practice Ladies and Gents’

RD Out

Check out previous blogs

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Ronil Desai is a Youth Ambassador for the Gujarati Society of British Columbia.

B-Unit 2011 Performance

Presenting The 2011 Diwali Show B-Unit Performance. We always kept note this team has stepped away from the normal and this is no different. The Visuals are amazing, the effects are apparent and the dance speaks for itself. Be sure to check out the brand Video by the B-Unit highlighting their 2011 performance.

Watch Now: Born To Be United

Did I Make It?

An audition is a chance to make a great first impression to the panel of judges. When entering an audition, you must not let yourself be overwhelmed. There are certain things to keep in mind so that your audition experience can be fulfilling, whether or not you get the part you are seeking.

The atmosphere was intense and the nerves were high on April 30th at Simon Fraser University, when the GSBC Raas Garba committee hosted the 2012 auditions for all who plan to play a role in this year’s competition which takes place in Calgary.

Once individuals completed their trek up on the mountain they checked in at the registry table and were assigned numbers to classify them in several groups. Once all the hopeful dancers checked in, the process took flight and Garba Choreographer Divya Thakore initiated the teaching procedure. The applicants were taught a minute of choreography that tested the basics and the probable challenges that one may face on the road to the competition.Some were prepared, some were eager, and some clearly lacked the experience to master the set. In the end, it’s precisely what each applicant needed, a challenge which illustrates that the expedition is not going to be a walk in the park.

The room was soaked with sweat, sprinkled with fatigue, stirred with talent, baked with excitement, and consumed with a hunger to succeed. It was a unique recipe that exemplifies what this entire competition is about. If you plan on hoisting the cup, you better put in the work from day one.

As the procedure continued each hopeful dancer marched into the room and performed in front of Randy, Paul and Simon… (According to their name tags). The room was soundless and edgy and the only sign of joy came from the expressions of the dancers who gave it their all to demonstrate that they deserve a spot on the roster.

Dancers were tested on their ability from head to toe, ranging from cleanliness, alignment, body structure to facial expressions and overall appeal. The judging criterion was well-defined and each dancer knew exactly what the judges were looking for, but it was up to each performer to add their own flavor to the mix.

After every registered participant completed their audition, there was nothing left to do but hope and analyze. Every applicant admitted to making a few mistakes while some left the room with a frown and chose not to speak about what went down. The expressions following the try-out were mixed, some were confident while some were unsure on what the future holds.

The judging panel and the selection committee will sit down and analyze the scores in order to make their final decisions. With so many eager individuals the most difficult aspect of building three teams is dealing with the numbers. The process will be intricate and measured accurately to ensure that each team is given a legitimate shot from day one.

I hope everyone is happy in the end and if for some reason the decision is not what you were expecting, just be sure to keep your head up continue taking the steps towards the overall goal. If anyone is itching for a spot it’s the men, I mean, they are the minority and this field of dance is usually dominated by the females. So good luck to all the men, I’m sure you’ll make the Raas Team 😉

To all the participants, the more you sweat in training the less you bleed in battle…

Until we meet again…RD Out.

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Back at it again


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Back at it again…

In a room full of Gujarati’s deliberating budgets, marketing strategies, and approaches to fundraising, any educated GSBC member would assume something rather large is in the works.

As I stretch my fingers and scrabble up the words to illustrate these thoughts, it’s surprising to realize we’re back working from the ground up. Ladies and Gents, get your popcorn ready, camera’s charged, money set aside for gas and a few new outfits, it’s time to prepare for yet another community road trip!

The meeting which lasted 150 minutes on March 30th in Burnaby was for the 2012 Raas Garba competition in Calgary. It’s the time of year again where countless members of the community work behind the scenes and in front of the camera to ensure the finest product is presented on stage, but more importantly, an experience that will be remembered forever by all in attendance. Over the last twenty years, this event has brought together many individuals in and outside of the community who work together to partake in one of the Society’s greatest events.

In 2010, Vancouver had a clean sweep – taking first in Adult Garba by Lady GarbaAdult Co-Ed Raas by CobRaas, and Youth Folk by the VanGopis (need facebook login to watch).…And of course the first overall was awarded to the infamous Raas group…It’s a bias perspective, deal with it.

For those of you who weren’t a part of the 2010 troupe, let’s just say it was an opportunity for the competing teams to purchase the latest version of the Swiffer sweeper. However, it’s a new year and each squad will have to take it from step one and put forth a paramount effort if they have any hopes of returning to the throne.

There were new faces in attendance and old as well, some of which have contended in the past and are considered veterans in the field of dance. One of the greatest assets of the competitions is its ability to entice the new and upcoming talents; a quality that truly came to form after the introduction meeting.

After discussing the administrative factors of the competition, it was a mutual decision that auditions would be the next step in the process. Because of the overwhelming response to the competition, there must be auditions to confirm and place the precise number of individuals on each team. Unfortunately, some may not arrive to their anticipated location and some might have to take a seat on the sidelines by the end of it, it’ the nature of the business and each participant is well aware of the consequences. However, the talent is immeasurable and while some may not make the cut, they will still hold a vital spot to the big picture.

It’s sad to the see lack of male dancers on the field, I know you’re out there but this competition is a substantial commitment both in time and effort and it is tough to prioritize and juggle it all while still giving your all for the team. I get it, I understand, but we’ll still pester those who should be in the line-up….

That’s all to report from the first of many gatherings amongst the participants and family members. Before you know it, practices will fill the hours of the day, sore muscles will need time to heal, and you will be washing muddy vehicles for cheap change…sounds exciting right?

It’s what comes with the territory and whether you come back empty handed or with a trophy; the experience is one you won’t regret.

Check the blog for summaries and/or updates with the competition or you can check it because you’re bored and all your friends are at the beach while you’re at home waiting for a ride to practice, both scenarios work just fine.

 

Auditions are currently scheduled for April 29th.

Check for the latest updates via Twitter and/or Facebook.

 

Until we meet again…RD Out.

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Ronil Desai is a Youth Ambassador for the Gujarati Society of British Columbia.