A night of mayhem

raas_dance_useThe University of Miami and the South Florida community came together for a night of sheer mayhem at the Julius Littman Performing Arts Center in North Miami Beach on Saturday night. 

Miami Mayhem, a national cultural dance competition in its second year, featured 10 of the nation’s top raas teams – Case Western, Duke, Florida, George Washington, Maryland, Penn State, University of California Riverside and Stanford. The competition also had exhibition acts from USF Garba, Hurricane Bhangra and Hurricane Raas.

“Raas is a form of Indian cultural dance, which originated from Western India,” said senior Shawn Shah, a pre-medical student and one of the executive co-chairs of Miami Mayhem. “It is a very energetic dance form, which utilizes dandiyas [dance sticks].”

The electrifying competition showcased some of the best talent in the entire country, as witnessed by the sold-out crowd of over 950 people.

The competition was highlighted by three teams in particular. UF’s Gator Raas finished in third place and took home $750. The GW Raas Team left the audience asking for more, as they put together a second place performance, which allowed them to walk away with $1,250.

When it was all said and done, though, it was the Penn State Ghaamudyaz who left the audience with their jaws dropped, as they danced their way to a first place finish, $2,000 and an automatic bid to Raas Nationals.

“It was an amazing event,” sophomore Christine Smith said. “I knew nothing about raas before coming to this event. I just came along because my friends were going. I am really glad I came, though. It was an amazing cultural experience. The teams were fantastic and filled with so much energy and enthusiasm, and I feel like I want to try out for our campus team next year.”

This year’s Miami Mayhem Committee included 25 University of Miami students, who have been putting time and energy into assuring that this event be a success since last March.

“Our executive board has worked extremely diligently in fulfilling all of their responsibilities,” said senior Amar Mandalia, a pre-medical student and one of the executive co-chairs of Miami Mayhem. “They are the real reason the event was such a big success, not to mention all the help given to us by the Indian Students Association, the Hindu Students’ Council and some UM alumni.”

The show, itself, ran very smoothly and featured many innovative and interactive ideas, such as live interviews with the teams and team introduction videos, which captured the audience.

In addition to simply putting on a show, the competition also featured a charity component.

“We are donating a portion of our budget to the Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust,” Shah said. “Ratna Nidhi is a non-profit organization that is striving to raise money for the children who were recently orphaned by the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.”

The night and the event was best summed up by Mandalia, who said, “We are all very fortunate. We have been given the opportunity to spread our culture to the University of Miami and to South Florida. Our goal was to bring some excitement and happiness in the lives of those here and the children in India. I think we met that goal.”

March 8, 2009


Pravin Patel

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

The Miami Hurricanes, still waiting for a starting quarterback to be named, are in the top 25 again. ...

Happy first day of school for everyone out there, including the University of Miami students. We jus ...

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.