Dola Re Dandiya, located at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a collegiate dance competition primarily focused with the Raas and Bhangra circuits. It was founded in early 2017 by Beyla Patel, Shaily Aghera, and Kinjal Patel. These three founders were members of Tar Heel Raas and came up with the concept after placing at their first national bid competition. They believed it was time to bring some fun to the area by showing their community why they love dance. They also hoped that the competition would help spread their Gujarati culture with the rest of Chapel Hill. This year, the competition has evolved to incorporate the Punjabi culture as well and the board of Dola Re Dandiya is very excited. The competition takes place on February 9, 2019 at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Memorial Hall.
What distinguishes you from other competitions?
The biggest thing that distinguishes us is how our competition combines both the raas and bhangra circuits. Generally, raas competitions are exclusively raas and bhangra competitions are either exclusively bhangra or coupled with the fusion circuit. We are one of the very few competitions that blend raas and bhangra.
What do you think are the biggest challenges within your circuit to host a successful competition?
The biggest challenges, as with most, are usually getting enough funding to host the competition. We need to have enough money to cover all the costs, but also make sure to have enough leftover to ensure that all the dancers have a great weekend. At the end of the day, it is all about them. Another challenge is getting enough teams to apply. Being a new competition, we do not necessarily have the same status as a bid competition. This limits the teams that would be willing to apply to the competition, let alone compete. Working to contact teams to apply and marketing our competition to the circuits were some of our main obstacles.
Are there any traditions your competition has?
A tradition that we started last year, and plan to continue again this year, is to provide teams with Taco Bell after their post mixer practice. We know that teams get hungry and that filling up with mixer dinner is not necessarily the best idea, especially since they will be practicing right after. Almost everyone loves Taco Bell as a late-night snack.
Have there been any defining moments or particularly memorable moments for your competition?
Since we have only had one competition so far, a particularly memorable moment was seeing the expression on faces of teams that had placed. Seeing the pure excitement of what they were able to achieve together, and the joy that they received from something that we had put together, was heartwarming.
What feedback have you received from teams that have attended?
People really enjoyed the mixer, but made us aware to take into account food allergies for the future. Despite this issue, we were still able to provide those individuals with meals. The mixer games were a great way to interact with other teams. Tech time went smoothly, as did the moments leading to and afterwards. Even though we had venue changes last minute, due to weather, everyone was impressed with how we handled it and thought that the new show location was good. Also, providing transportation throughout the day and including an afterparty bus turned out to be a huge plus for most competitors.
What do you think is one team gift that is a must give?
Shot glasses and shirts are gifts that are must gives, because almost all competitions include them. However, we think that including an item that relates to the theme of the mixer is something that must be given to the team/individuals.
Fun Facts & Social Media
It is the only raas competition that occurs in North Carolina
Our first board was mostly comprised of individuals that have never been on a raas team
Our competition was a platform for many teams to take their first steps in the dance community