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Noore-Punjab Dance Team Gets Second at Competition

Gabor Csanyi--The Tech
MIT's Noor-e-Punjab (Light of Poonjab) bhangra team (pictured at last Saturday's Ek Nazar South Asian Cultural Chow) placed second at the annual Bhangra Blowout Competition held in Washington, D.C. over spring break.

Ashima Dua

The MIT Noor-e-Punjab (Light of Punjab) bhangra team competed at the annual Bhangra Blowout Competition in Washington D.C. over spring break. The event, which was hosted by George Washington University, is a national event attended by schools from across the country. Although this competition has been held for the past five years, this was the first year that the Sangam Bhangra Club competed.

Bhangra is a traditional Indian folk dance that is performed during harvest season in the state of Punjab in India. Characterized by synchronized acrobatic moves, vigorous enthusiasm, and colorful costumes, this dance requires both high stamina and exceptional physical fitness. The Noor-e-Punjab's team members have been practicing and training for their competition since January. Daily regiments of push-ups, sit-ups, and calisthenics have helped shaped this team into extraordinary dancers.

Led by coach and choreographer, Sumer S. Johal '95, team members Fawaz Chaudhry '00, Surya Ganguli G, Amar Kendale '00, Sheila Mehra '98, Vinay Mohta G, Radhika Nagpal G, Reshma Patil '00, Michael Prior G, Seema Sanzgiri '00, Mona Shah '00, Hemant Taneja G, Anu Tewary '98, and Sunil Vemuri G spent many hours perfecting and synchronizing their dancing.

As Noor-e-Punjab took the stage before the panel of judges, the audience was already fired up. Mesmerized by their fluid moves and incredible stunts people began chanting, "MIT, MIT," and when the dance came to its conclusion, the team was honored with an unusual standing ovation.

The MIT's Noor-e-Punjab beat out Cornell, Boston College, George Washington University, Georgetown University, and the University of Pennsylvania en route to a second place finish. The University of Texas Austin captured first place. The team has been thrilled by their performance in their rookie year of competition.

Since their victory in Washington D.C., Noor-e-Punjab, has gone on to dazzle others. Last Saturday, they displayed their talents at the South Asian cultural show Ek Nazar. They are scheduled to compete at Amherst College this weekend.