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The Blue & Gray Press | May 23, 2018

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Bhangra Dance Competition Comes to UMW

Bhangra Dance Competition Comes to UMW

By the end of the 7th Annual Bhangra Beat competition held on Nov. 19, I was tired. Why? Because Bhangra is the kind of dance style that you can’t watch without being exhausted yourself.

Everybody is smiling and bouncing in elaborate costumes under the hot lights of the Great Hall for at least seven minutes each performance. While every single team deserved a hand clap for their endurance, Virginia Tech was the ultimate winner.

From what I could see, the victory was well deserved. The choreography for the team was intricate, energetic, and the movements were sharp and clean. You don’t even have to have a dance background to know that this team was impressive.

This year’s Bhangra Beat had the most competition teams so far. The competition started out with only having three visiting teams, but this year there were five. The competing teams included Virginia Tech, William & Mary, James Madison University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU ranked in second place and JMU ranked 3rd. All three of the teams that placed were obvious choices to most onlookers, of which there were many.

The program was certainly well attended. All of the floor seats in the center and on both of the sides, were full. Audience members ended up having to stand on the sides but that did not daunt them. They were very willing to stand to give their support. UMW’s Eagle Bhangra team did not join the competition but they gave a great performance as well.

One not so satisfying element to the competition was the overall late start. The program was supposed to begin at 6:30 p.m. but actually did not begin until well after 7 p.m. because of late judges.

Even though the event was free, audience members were displeased and restless because of the long wait in the beginning, and waiting for the judges to come to a decision. The transitions during the program were problematic throughout.

There was a lot of awkward emcee humor in between each dance that almost wasn’t worth sitting through. While the emcees were well dressed and looked great, it didn’t seem that they were well-rehearsed and spontaneous enough to entertain and set the audience at ease.

Overall, the program is definitely one to look forward to every year if you want a good dose of great dancing and diversity. Despite the few snags, the audience enjoyed themselves. I enjoyed myself. The teams were great, the costumes were great and the energy was great. If you ever want to have a great time just sitting in your seat, go to Bhangra Beat.

Image courtesy of Marie Sicola/The Bullet