Aarabi Mahendran, the Secretary of Bristol Tamil Society, reccounts the experiences of the group and performing at The O2
For the first time in history, Bristol Tamil Society has had the opportunity to perform gaana at one of Imperial College London’s most prestigious events, Mega Maalai XVIII. Organised by the Imperial Tamil Society, this event marks 25 years since its establishment and Bristol Tamil Society is proud to say that we were a part of it.
finding space to rehearse was a struggle
Gaana is an authentic form of dance, originating from Tamil speaking regions in South India and has a huge following worldwide. Gaana is a type of powerful street dance; it is fast, upbeat and energetic. It gives me great pleasure as the Secretary of Britsol TSoc to share my experience this year with the rest of the university.
From auditioning dancers, to choosing the right songs and most importantly, to choreographing the dancing, many months of hard work have been put into the whole ordeal. Head Choreographer Hasan KJ and President and Choreographer Julia Christy faced many challenges and adapted their choreographies to the abilities and requests of the dancers, whilst still challenging the participants to test their limits.
Even finding space to rehearse was a struggle for our Social Secretary Vaisaalii Indralingam, with the university’s other dance groups needing rooms at the SU for the numerous other events that were taking place around the same time. For TSoc, this involved Aashiyana Spring Ball 2018, an event we co-hosted with Bristol Asian Society, UoB Bollywood Dance Society and Bristol Punjabi Society, for which a number of our Mega Maalai dancers also performed a similar routine merely a week before taking the big stage at indigo at The O2.
Following that performance, as a team we discussed and agreed upon several changes to song choice, the routine, and dance style. It is an understatement to say that we felt very unprepared for the big show. However, the 16 performers really pulled together and focused on perfecting our 6-minute dance to the best of our abilities.
this experience would have been impossible without the financial aid we received from the Alumni Foundation
I am very proud of my team for being flexible in both their time and their dance styles and for getting through several intense weeks of daily rehearsals. For many of the dancers, gaana rehearsals did not stop after this performance, as we took the stage in the Anson Rooms, just a fortnight later, with a completely different routine for Hindu Society’s musical, East Meets West. It is clear to see that TSoc has had a crazy month of events and shows and it is enlightening to see so many dancers stick it through to the end!
Without a doubt, this experience would have been impossible without the financial aid we received from the Alumni Foundation which was co-organised by our Treasurer Sargithan Senthilselvan and myself. The Alumni Foundation’s donation provided us with the right funds to order bespoke, tailor-made costumes from India, which helped make our performance stand out from the other acts. Our costumes were among the most unique of all the other dancing acts and the vibrant colours, matched with the traditional style, gave our performance a really authentic touch. We could not have achieved all this if it were not for the Alumni Foundation and the many months of correspondence and time given by our Gaana Admin, Anisha Shanmugham.
Featured image: Flickr/Bernt Rostad
Keep up to date with Features...