Students from eight university Bhangra teams competed at Warner Theatre Saturday night in Bhangra Blowout XXI. University of Virginia’s bhangra team swept first place. Benjamin Lim | Hatchet Photographer
This post was written by Hatchet reporter Olivia Kantor.
This is where Bollywood meets dubstep.
Strobe lights flash across the stage as students dressed in hot pink, neon green and deep purple romp across the stage, dancing their hearts out to sick mash-ups of American pop hits and Bollywood classics.
The 20th annual Bhangra Blowout kicked off Saturday at the Warner Theatre. The event featured the top eight Bhangra teams in the country, YouTube sensation Lilly Singh – better known by her online alias Superwoman – and GW’s own dance crew Capital Funk.
A high-energy dance, which originated in northern India and features lengthy routines and intensive dance moves, Bhangra today infuses modern music with traditional choreography. Dancers use props and yell chants to liven the performances.
GW Bhangra co-captains Eishita Nariani, Pratigya Singh and Vishaal Kothari each find that Bhangra dancing offers them an outlet, culturally and artistically, that they can’t find elsewhere.
“I think dancing sets it aside from other cultural groups because getting together and doing something cultural, for me it makes my day feel full, and without dancing I just don’t feel right,” Nariani said.
University of Miami came in third place, Carnegie Mellon University in second and University of Virginia — to the cheers from their supporters in the audience — won first place and a $2,000 cash prize.
Regardless of the winners and losers, however, performing is what truly counts, Singh said.
“To go out there and put forward the best performance and the set we’ve worked so hard on, just seeing that come to fruition is the best reward we could ask for,” she said.