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Teams take the stage in nationwide Raas competition

Teams from colleges all across the country perform and compete in GW’S 12th annual Raas Chaos dance exhibition Saturday night in Lisner. Scott Figatner | Hatchet Photographer

Flare, passion, resilience: that’s GW Raas’ motto and that is what goes into the 12th annual Raas Chaos – one of the year’s first competitions for cultural dance groups from all around the country.

Raas Chaos, hosted by the GW South Asian Society, is one of the first of more than ten competitions held annually all around the country. The annual event was held Saturday at Lisner Auditorium.

Parth Chauhan, a senior and co-captain of GW Raas, said that the event drew teams from all over the country, including Ohio State University and the University of Texas at Austin. GW Raas, the defending national champion, was the first exhibition team of the event, meaning they did not actually compete.

“It’s one of the oldest competitions so it’s like a nice thing to start off the season with a bang,” Chauhan said.

For Chauhan, who has been a part of the team for the last four years, his last Raas Chaos was a chance for him to really see the changes in styles of music and dancing in the competition. Chauhan said that the style of dance has strayed a bit from its West Indian roots and incorporated more hip hop music and dance styles – even a few steps of the tango are mixed in.

At his last Raas Chaos, Chauhan said he will be soaking in the time spent with friends on other teams, even those from halfway across the country that he sees once a year at competitions.

“I know that if I ever went to Boston or if I ever went to Indiana or California I could always find a place to crash, find a person to get dinner with,” Chauhan said.

Jigar Saraiya, a freshman member of the University of Pittsburgh PatheRAAS team, said that he was anxious to get out on stage for the first time.

The PantheRAAS team took four cars to transport over 15 dancers and their friends to the competition more than four hours away. Saraiya said that the team has spent over two months preparing for the competition not including time spent practicing over the summer.

“We’re excited and ecstatic to be in D.C. this weekend,” Saraiya said.

Ultimately, the University of Texas at Austin rose to victory, securing first place. Emory University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County swept second and third, respectively.

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