Two student dance teams place first at state competition

Hurricane Raas and Hurricane Bhangra stole the stage at IndiaFest in Tampa, Fla., otherwise known as TampaFest, for the second year in a row.

Raas is a highly energetic, fast-paced dance played with two sticks that are about one and a half feet long. It is a form of dance that originated in Gujarat, India.

Bhangra is a lively form of folk dance, which originated in Punjab, India. Bhangra includes someone playing the dhol (drum), flute, dholak (another type of drum) and various other instruments.

Both Hurricane dance competition teams represented the University of Miami and competed at a high level, allowing them to secure their second consecutive first place finishes at the annual event.

“The feeling is awesome,” Raas co-choreographer Amar Mandalia said. “It’s a great feeling to know that we’re one of the top teams in Florida.”

The victories by both Hurricane teams are very meaningful, as TampaFest normally attracts the top raas and bhangra teams in Florida.

First place, though, did not come easy, as they are the fruits of hours of choreographing and practice. Hurricane Raas was choreographed by Mandalia and Ami Panara, while Hurricane Bhangra was choreographed by Soni Dhand and Neil Shah.

The hard work and dedication put in by these choreographers was equally matched by the rest of the team, who have put in roughly six or more hours of practice each week since the beginning of the semester.

For their first place win, both teams received $500 toward their teams.

Pravin Patel may be contacted at