Onto the third collegiate dance team series, University of Chapel Hill’s coed dance team UNC Chapel Hill Chalkaa combines elements of Bollywood, Hip Hop, Fusion, Modern, and other classical Indian forms to create a unique blend of East and West culture.
UNC Chalkaa was founded in 2006 and the dance team is still going strong with its traditional roots. The team has always received tremendous recognition for their creativity and presentation. There’s no surprise though, the team spends six to twelve hours practicing and additional time prior to competition week.
Speaking of competitions, the team placed second at Dance Dimensions at Princeton University in New Jersey. They also placed second at Aag Ki Raat at the University of South Carolina. The team won the audience choice award at Carolina’s got Talent!
Check out their performance at Dance Dimensions here!
The team has expressed that prior to competitions, when prepping they focus on dance formations and most importantly getting the team to function as a team instead of individual dancers. Chalkaa overlooks the team as creating a production. They instill the dance styles, props, costumes, expressions, and formation changes and vigorously focus on all of these facets.
When Chalkaa is seeking to recruit new dancers for the team, they teach a routine to those auditioning. The dancers are recorded and evaluated by being able to pick up multiple dance styles, expression and energy. No one is ever expected to be perfect!
Everyone on the UNC Chalkaa team is not trained, those who are though have some training in raas, classical, Bollywood, Modern, jazz and many more styles.
The team expressed,
The coolest thing about a fusion team is that dancers who are trained in variety of styles are able to teach the rest of us their style.
This past year the team learned some hip-hop, ballet and even traditional Mexican dancing.
Along with the beautiful various dance forms that we see on-stage from the team, their costumes are always eye-catching. But because costumes for the team is very important, they will go above and beyond to make sure the costumes, song and theme of the choreography all match with one another.
The choreography process changes year-to-year. The captains sometimes ask for open input from the team, but at the end of the day they mostly choreograph the routine along with other members who are trained in specific styles.
The fusion team has a very strong belief to go off the taste of what is happening currently in Bollywood. Chalkaa enjoys taking the most recent and trendy songs and still going back to old school Bollywood plus using classical forms and fusing it all together by mixing all kinds of moods together.
The team conveyed,
We’re a big family and compatible together and we need to work together to strive for the best. When we critique one another, we take it with a grain of salt. Our personalities fuse together—we’re not a click, but we’re a family who is willing to put the team first.
When one sees Chalkaa performs, their philosophy shows on-stage! Rather than it just being a performance, it showcases their personalities and a good representation of each individual on the team. They never forget to highlight each person’s style and talent!
Don’t forget to follow the team on their social site pages!