During the 2014-2015 academic year, the Carnegie Mellon Raasta dance team, led by several Tepper School of Business students, saw unprecedented success. Carnegie Mellon Raasta performs a dance style known as “garba-raas,” originating from the Western state of India, Gujarat.
The Raasta collegiate circuit consists of nearly 50 teams that participate in more than 10 competitions. During each competition, teams earn points that will determine whether they qualify for the national championship. This year, the Carnegie Mellon team earned top honors at all of their competitions, earning 10 points and a national third-place ranking. This score qualified the team to be one of eight teams to compete at the Raas All Stars National Championship in Houston, the largest competition of the team’s circuit.
Since the team’s conception in 2012, they have quickly progressed through the competitive circuit. Their accomplishments throughout the 2014-2015 season include a first place win at the Dandia Dhamaka competition in Ann Arbor, Michigan; a first place win at the Raas Rodeo in Austin, Texas; and a second place win at the A-Town Showdown in Atlanta, Georgia.
Garba-raas incorporates hitting and twirling of sticks, called dandiyas, and partner interaction. The dance also relies on extravagant costumes and themes to convey a story.
The Carnegie Mellon team includes 16 men and women from across campus, who strive to preserve Indian culture and promote diversity within the Carnegie Mellon campus and throughout the Greater Pittsburgh community.
The team was led by captains Meghna Baskar, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences ’16, and Disha Bora, School of Computer Science ’15; and vice-captains Suruchi Sheth, BSBA ’16, and Shyama Sadashiv, College of Engineering ’17.
Sheth and Sadashiv will enter as captains this academic year alongside vice-captains Rohan Shah, BSBA ’18, and Riya Savla, College of Engineering ’17.
Photo by Tejasvir Singh Rekhi