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Traditional Indian dances featured at competition

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Keep on Dancing, or Nachte Raho, is the largest intercollegiate dance competition in the Midwest. It is an annual event that was started by the University of Iowa’s Indian Student Association.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the event, and it is hoping to be the best one yet. There will be nine teams performing, including teams from Iowa State University, the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, University of Illinois, Purdue University, Ohio State University and many others.

Along with the teams, there will be a special guest performing: Culture Shock. This is a musical group from Canada that blends Indian-punjabi and English music.

How the dance competition works is similar to American dance themed competitions. Each team performs a dance in a category, which are Indian dance styles. These dances include: Garba-Raas, Bhangra and Bollywood Fusion. There are nine teams that will be competing for a total cash prize of $5,500. The teams will be divided equally into the three categories, and the top team from each category will be chosen to receive the prize money for that style of dance. A top team from the three winners will be chosen to receive an additional prize and named as Nachte Raho 2012 first-place winner.

“The premise of Nachte Raho, and really any event created by University of Iowa’s ISA or Drake’s (South Asian Student Association), is to promote South Asian culture,” senior Nayasha Madhan said. “SASA is attending this event, not only support other colleges, but also to share the music, dance and people that breathe life into South Indian culture.”

Drake’s SASA has attended the event in the past and plans on sending 30 members and friends to the event this weekend.

“SASA took its first bus trip to Nachte Raho two years ago, and it was a huge success,” said junior Ankita Dhussa, SASA vice president. “Last year, we weren’t able to book a bus, but there was still tons of interest, and many SASA members carpooled to Iowa City. Drake won first place in 2004. I think it was a group of South Asian students who decided to get together and put together a dance but was not an official team. Drake does not currently have a South Asian dance team, but hopefully someday (it will) in the future.”

For many attendees of Nachte Raho, it is a chance for them to experience South Asian culture as well as to network and to create a bond with a larger population of South Asian students.

“This is my first year attending Nachte Raho, and I cannot wait for what promises to be a crazy weekend with 30 other Drake students and other students from across the country,” Madhan said.

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