The Daily Gamecock

‘Night of Fire’ Indian dance competition sets Koger Center ablaze

Indian dance competition donates some funds to charity

The Indian Cultural Exchange put on its fifth-annual Aag Ki Raat, “Night of Fire,” dance competition Saturday night in the Koger Center.

The event, which donated a percentage of its proceeds to Aman Biradari, hosted nine teams in three different categories, all competing for a grand prize of $1,500.

Aman Birardi is a charity that focuses on education and unity in South Asia.

There were three categories of dance: bhangra, garba and fusion. Bhangra is a type of folk dance; garba, also called raas, is traditional Indian dance; and fusion is a combination of dance types.

The University of North Carolina’s Ek Taal returned to the competition and took grand prize yet again with UNC’s Bhangra Elite and Columbia University’s Columbia Raas both winning Best in Category.

Best in Category winners were awarded with $750, up from $600 last year. The overall prize also grew from $1,200.

“It’s been a little hectic but we assumed it was going to be like that,” said Jugal Dalal, a third-year biology student and ICE treasurer.

Dalal said that there has been considerable support for the organization. On Wednesday, the organization hosted a preview midweek dance on Greene Street where two of USC’s own Indian dance teams performed.

The competition was preceded by a preparty on Friday at Sharky’s in Five Points, where there was a meet and greet with the competing teams and a reception with Indian Food provided by Delhi Palace right before the competition.

USC’s male a capella group Soundcheck opened the night of competition by singing the Star Spangled Banner, which was followed by a performance of the Indian National Anthem by students of the Columbia Temple School.

The night was emceed by Maaz Khan and third year accounting student Kristi Govind, who explained “we’re in a dream of a dream, that’s a cousin of another dream that had a baby with the first dream.”  

The two kept up the humor as the night went on.

The first dance performance was from USC’s Moksha, one of two exhibition teams along with USC’s Gamecock Bhangra.

“We do fusion dance which means we combine every single style of dance,” said Krisha Desai, a Moksha captain and third-year public relations student. “Every year we like to incorporate something different. We did a circus theme last year.”  

This year there was no theme to Moksha’s performance.

Opening to Rihanna’s “S&M,” the team of 10 girls and two boys set the tone for the night by incorporating traditional Indian dance with contemporary moves like the “jerk” and b-boy spins.

Throughout the night, to cheers from the audience of “Tar-Heels!” and “Game-Cocks!” that rivaled those at sporting events, teams performed with themes ranging from 007 to Jersey Shore and the Power Rangers. Soundtracks included music from mainstream artists such as Lil’ Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Usher, Chris Brown, Willow Smith and Lil’ Jon.