Atlanta’s Girls Take National Garba Title
After taking the top spot at the regional Federation of Gujarati Associations of North America (FOGANA) competition in Charlotte, N.C., in June, Atlanta's garba team blew away the competition at the 2005 FOGANA Competition, held at the India Performance Arts Center in New Jersey on September 4.
Atlanta was among the 35 regional finalists (650 participants in all) at the competition. The volunteer teachers and choreographers for Atlanta were Hetal Patel and Jeepsi Patel, while the garba troupe comprised 16 girls, who showed discipline and perseverance throughout their practice sessions. Away from the spotlight, parents and volunteers arranged for the team's travel and accommodation. The members of the winning team were Aekta Patel, Ayesha Patel, Bianca Desai, Jayna Patel, Keya Patel, Karishma Amin, Mili Chauhan, Neshima Patel, Paris Patel, Priya Patel, Priyanka Patel, Priya Malhotra, Sabrina Patel, Shivany Bhakta, Sonam Patel and Tulsi Patel.
Gam ne padar medo jamyo was the traditional number to which the local girls gave a riveting and winning performance. While the fast-paced folk dance was traditional, the team complemented it. They were traditional to the hilt. Starting with the traditional chaniya-choli and mehndi (henna) design on their hands, to the jewelry and flowers in their hair, each looked every bit the vibrant Gujarati girl. And their performance evoked memories of the lively outdoor garba performances in the villages of Gujarat. The high octane rendition by the Atlanta team just grew faster as the drum beats and vocals reached a crescendo. As it climaxed, the Atlanta girls received a thunderous applause at the packed venue.
In addition to winning the trophy, the teammates from Atlanta got an opportunity to spend three days in New Jersey, forging new friendships and exploring a new place.
The competition was widely televised by TV Asia during first week of October.
Varshaben Patel, the spokesperson for the team, was jubilant. "It is not about winning. The competition gives them an opportunity to showcase their budding talents, and boost their confidence by performing in presence of a large audience. It will inspire them to accomplish even better things in life."
- Mahadev Desai
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