Have you ever found yourself in the bathroom stall on your iPhone having fictional showdowns between your favorite South Asian dance teams? Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical.
This past Saturday I was invited by my roommate The Urban Nerd a.k.a. Raj, to tag along as he went downtown to the Tribecca Performing Arts Center to cover the 7th annual Best of the Best Competition (video interview at end of post).
Apparently, this competition was born out of a desire to have the best teams from across the country and across genres come together on one stage and fight it out for the right to be the Best of the Best. In many ways, this is the real life desi “You Got Served“.
To be honest, I try to avoid college events at all costs, but for some reason my roommate caught me in the right mood and I decided to give it a shot. Armed with nothing but a strange curiosity, the support of the Urban Nerd, and the audio visual expertise of FK Photo & Video, I found myself venturing back into the wondrous world of Harry Potter [I had originally put South Asian Dance teams, but Harry Potter sounds more Wondrous, so just go with it].
Getting to the venue I was somewhat disappointed with the turnout. I have been to the Tribecca Performing Arts Center before for BAX events and the crowds are usually huge. Advertising an event as the BEST of the BEST inherently sets ones expectations high and although the dance teams were certainly some of the best of the best, I cant say the audience turnout was the Best of the Best-or even the middle-est of the middle-est.
The dance competition itself was actually surprisingly fun. All the teams definitely put in a lot of hard work into their routines and it showed. The costumes were all well designed and original.
I was very relieved to see that the days of biting on Jabbawockeez are long gone and no one decided to pull out his or her white masks/gloves and embarrass himself or herself. Meeting the teams, I was surprised to find a refreshing sense of camaraderie, which was a far departure from the drama filled days of my college dance team experience. The choreography has definitely improved since the last time I saw a competition.
Everyone has gotten a lot tighter and cleaner with their choreo and the hip-hop elements are now much more respectable. The few dance teams that had a theme did great jobs of narrating their story through dance in a way that everyone was able to follow and enjoy. Most importantly I saw a lot of diversity on stage.
The winners ended up being UIUC Illini Raas, UCLA Nashaa, and Michigan Bhangra, with UCLA Nashaa taking the coveted title of BEST of the BEST! If you ask me the real winners of this competition were all the non-South Asians that decided to participate in celebrating our culture. Overall a good experience!