Winning 1st 3 prizes for solo(s)/group(s) in Indian Dance Competitions for over a decade in our genre of specialization for non-voting Indian Dance Competitions sounds like a big thing. It actually isn’t if you follow curriculum and keep it fun. For us, it has been a norm for Bharatanatyam, Indian Folk Dances & Bollywood/Some Tollywood and from 2013-Fusion!
HOW ? We love to share how we have been winning from over a decade in all the “stage dance competitions” and how our elites have come this far with such good paid commitments.
So, here’s our HOW TO Win Indian Dance Competitions for Dummies…! Our Fool Proof guidelines and tips for those interested.
One of main attributes in stage competitions/for all genres are : Techniques. Techniques also means right amount of expressions required at certain techniques or mood used in the dance, coordination if group, comfort level of dancers with respect to dance, stage presence and personality, choreography, costumes, makeup and drama aspect. To do it right, you have to feel it and go through it which at Grace And Grooves is a norm! Because our owner herself comes from that background of competitions from over 2 decades! Read About Ms. Hetal Nagaraj.
To begin with, what are the types of dances ?
Be it Bharatanatyam, Indian folk dances or Bollywood/Movie inspired dances; usually these dances are non-commercial dances. For bollywood or tollywood dance industry genre, there is level of dance and name of dance as well. As we all know that bollywood dances emerge from various forms or styles or certain drama attributes and thus will always have name.
However, there are certain category of dances within bollywood that do not have name because they do no follow a form or style and are purely for entertainment or let’s just say – NO RULES thus, these dances makes them commercial dances and usually gets disqualified in first round itself if you do it in-spite of rules given. Open category of competitions usually accepts these for example – most reality show competitions are based on this! That dance industry/world is entirely different than education studio. Education world competitions are to encourage the dancer to follow the rules, get finer in it and excel with feedbacks and let’s just say prepare them for higher grounds of possibilities within the form or with fusions later, if trained. Then, break the rules-it is completely dancers wish and instructor’s wish! None-the-less, our students have won these open category dance competitions with their actual dance forms itself or with fusion depending on what is allowed. Usually it will depend on judges, number of rounds in competitions and students training level in that genre. Everything goes in there…
For Bharatanatyam/Classical Dances & indian folk dances, the category is always non-commercial and standard as it is dance form. Even for entertainment, creativity is out of this world if used within the form. Most classical dances are actual dance formats/margams itself and then there are dance dramas. Not to confuse with dance musicals!
There is this entire category of exclusive Indian Folk Dances that is entirely different than the dances that are into Community stage dances/cultural dances/regional dances/bollywood inspired folk dances/ethnic dances/creative folk dances. Why ? Because of rubrics of judging and rules that go with it is entirely different for both these categories. You cannot possibly compare Folk Dances rubrics to Bollywood or with Bharatanatyam. With Bollywood having different types of techniques and some folk dances do not even have expressions as their main factor. Likewise, Bharatanatyam nritta if done will lack several attributes of nritya or natyam itself. So rubrics are often kept in % by the genre or type of entries.
Depending on competitions, they categorize fusion dances or they put them in open category. Concept of fusion dances is very simple! Some go by dance done on other music to be considered as fusion because their argument is that if dance is not danced on its actual/real music then it is not that dance. That is true but if u do not consider music at all and see the dance without music; what will you name it? That raises lot of fundamental questions. So these occurrences have been very rare in over 10 years of history that we have participated. We had 2 such competitions that we came across in entire history of 10+ years where they had that kind of rule! We got 1st place in both anyway. The only argument to this was you cannot name that dance as fusion unless 2 or more dance form or styles are used. Rest are very clear about categories & thus you’ll know it well.
Then comes the judges. First experience is always a question for you because these competitions do not tell you who the judges are and some do not specify the rubrics either but when you test waters, you’ll know! We had tested some waters — we decided not to waste time there as they were bias to one team based on their friendly relations! Then be it that way, you should call only them!
Some competitions are very transparent to names of judges and their experiences and that is fun! Last but not the least, whether or not there it is any voting. If voting then how many % is counted towards total judging points. What age group we are competing in one category/genre is also important factor for stage like dances!!
Then comes, prize money if there is one or something of that sort. Then it is motivating for students who are doing competitions regularly or something of that equivalent value. Nobody wants a 10$ trophy after spending money on hours of practices, competition fees, costumes and that just adds to a collection without a meaning!
For us at Grace And Grooves, it has been other way round. Our students have earned more, earned bigger opportunties than what they put money in! It is just boring for our students who have competed from over 10 years now to go for $10 trophies without the meaning to it. They rather spend money 50 to 60$ and do shows with us where they know they are going to get recognition, feathers to wear that they can own as skill-set, showcase as their own, perks, discounts and many more fun things to take home. A beautiful memory to take home. Budget is very important factor too!
Alas, comes the winning part after all that! Most difficult & unpredictable of all!
Just like that you do not get the wins in 1st 3 places & $$$ prizes. Here are some standard points that we have come across for rubrics in judgement & we would absolutely love to share with you:
1. Expressions 40% depending on genre. Some genres strongly requires that this element isn’t the part of dance because of restrictions on costumes, mask, type of song/pure technique competitions, or certain type of dramas. so % is then distributed.
2. Techniques 50% & % is distributed
3. Comfort level of dance & body movements-rest % divided, solo or group and as per difficulty level.
4. Coordination to music-rest % divided, if solo or group.
6. Costumes-rest % divided
7. Makeup / Dramatic effects of dance : % is divided by genre.
7. Props & usages
8. Choreography and Innovation in dance form without losing genre category—-some competitions have this highest! some have these 2 seperate.
10. Culture aspect depending on dance (if required depending on competitions since we have been to some of most difficult & strict competitions too!!!)
Sounds easy ? See you there..!!!!
Congrats to all our elites Nirja Setty, Samarth Setty, Setty Siblings, Ashna Pethe, Hetal Nagaraj, and lot of our graduates who have won them through a decade as they grew with us by balancing not only personal life but studies too.
Check out their real dances & results as they have been doing it beautifully and gracefully like cute little swans! Click Here.
Read about these budding stars : Here.
See their dance trainings at : https://www.graceandgrooves.com/our-graduates
Our Performing Teams too have won several such auditions/competitions or are called for special paid appearances : https://www.graceandgrooves.com/our-performing-team
Do not forget to sign up or subscribe our Youtube Channel Playlists. You will find lot of videos of our competition students, recreational dances, party dances, margam dances for classical dances, audition videos, our program videos, media releases & videos of different age groups starting from 3.5 to 5 years onwards to Adults 50+, and many more!!! Do not miss the Teenagers tribute of fun dances they do.
Exclusive Copyrights by Reachh Mediaa for Hetal Joshi Nagaraj| Grace & Grooves | Grace Creations | Grace And Grooves | Nruthyakala Dance Academy | Mirchi Dance Academy | Kalasri Classical Dance Academy : 2012-2020.
This material can not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Why Grace And Grooves LLC discontinued Better Business Bureau of Dallas Fortworth :
Loved, loved and loved the services and perks that we received from BBB, A Better Business Bureau. Past 2 years has been an amazing ride with them with all the wonderful services, workshops and knowledge that they offer for small businesses like Grace And Grooves LLC.
It is when you suddenly realize that you are the only Indian Company offering exclusive indian folk dance classes apart from bollywood and not mix it up anywhere around, and that you are the only one with absolutely transparent background in all the programs that you offer from Bharatnatyam and Bollywood as well, it is a feature on our hats to be connected with BBB, A better Business Bureau.
The only problem that we faced was as we moved further in journey with them, we asked our parents and staff members to write something about how they feel about us on our little place that we earned it from Better Business Bureau as we were with A+ accreditation with them.
It seems like social media such as google, waze, facebook, twitter and instagram took over all of this when it came to customer feeling more at comfort talking about it. Our customers share such a fun and healthy relationship with us that it was better and easier for them to just write reviews over social medias instead of BBB boards.
From ethical grounds, quality of work, affordable services, beautiful costumes, non-allergic jewelry, arangetram preps, continued education in classical dances for various degrees and providing services as promised in the related programs, everything just ended up in social medias, recommendations, emails and text/sms messages.
And thus, we had to let go the better business bureau accreditation at-least until we get students/parents/customers who would not mind spending some time logging to these BBB boards to see our exclusive little place on their website and write something about us-good or bad!
That being said, we still enjoy attending their programs as we come across and available. We miss that tiny little icon of better business bureau and we hope that in near future, we can do something more with them and use them further for our services and products.
Grace And Grooves LLC shared A+ accreditation amongst the BBB businesses from 2016 to May 2018.
But that taught us to give you all what we do best :).
Copyright Reach Media for Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2018. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Past Staff (Volunteer & Paid)
Mrs. Swathi Burra, Irving-Texas :
She was volunteering with us for about 2 full years in lieu of her daughter’s dance fees from 2011-2013 and some months post 2013. Rest, we would gift her. A fabulous lady who knows how to treat people, understands queries and at times their concerns regarding costumes, jewelry, to just about anything. She has travelled around world and knew pretty much everything that anybody had queries regarding.
Those 2-3 years when we started off doing regular lessons and filed for company name, we had people from outside US such as newly moved to US due to Green-Card Lottery, some moved to US on business visa or H1 visa from other countries while some like us who were pretty much settled where we were(Irving-Coppell). Times, we needed hand in backstage for costumes, makeup, ticketing, coordinating with organizers, collecting fees, checking the venues-this girl would get it all done. Some of these people had never spoken english or barely knew hindi and were an exclusive Telugu influenced. Swati was our big time help for all our south asian/indian programs for coordinating.
Till date, it is 2019 when we are editing this blog entry and we have received calls from organizers asking if its Swati they are talking to and they would start their talk in Telugu.
Journey with us :
We had just registered our company and formation was still going on with lot of other paper-work during that time and our Indian Folk Dances Program was pretty well established with private groups in Irving, Coppell, Valley Ranch Areas of Dallas and Denton County with over 30 students on an average. Some recreational while some only competitions in Indian Folk Dances and a few work-out groups for moms.
Recreational Folk Dances were only names as such because they would not bother to perform in US or anywhere at all or would perform only in Indian audiences in India which made us even more proud when we received compliments and in some cases, some certificates or awards as they would participate in India for various competitions during their visits to their homeland.
Even after we were registered fully and almost all paper work was done, we were NOT committed to doing any regular community performances as Indian Folk Dances at competition level or even basic performance took us about fairly 10-12 classes for a good choreography to establish for an age group of 6 to 10 years.
It was Ms. Swati’s decision however to prompt us to start Bollywood / Tollywood (Telugu Cinema Dances)/Indian Movie Dances.
And our very first Bollywood Group had its very first official performance in IANT 2013 under the name of Grace Creations-our non-competitive performing fusion company. And we started taking Bollywood students in groups targeting specific performances for community events.
Grace Creation, however, was formed with an inspiration from Indian dance companies in east-coast which Mrs. Nagaraj had been following in various social-media channels or as her idols or via her network of dancers in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Rajasthan and Delhi. Our Students were already trained in Non-Indian Dances from Ballet Academy of Texas, and Coppell Dance Center(Now Prestige Dance Center) and we already had required Indian Dance knowledge of Indian Folk and Bharatnatyam that we needed to create fusion category of dances.
But that was it, the group then dissolved as nobody was interested in regular community performances on monthly basis for Bollywood but instead wanted to move to Bharatnatyam when they saw Ms. Hetal Nagaraj teaching some classical work to college students who had come for competition related classes.
Some students moved outside city itself while for others who stayed with us, shaped with us with our newly established structured program for Bollywood Dances. These students were also taking Indian Folk Dance Lessons from us as seperate programs and Bharatanatyam. In total, they would dance 1 hour per week for each program i.e. 3 hours total.
Looking back, if it wasn’t for the push of Ms. Burra, we would NOT have initiated the Bollywood-Tollywood or Indian Movie Dances Program and Grace Creations wouldn’t have existed so early. Initial plan was to launch Grace Creations in 2016, otherwise. Grace Creations is still our non-competing group for Bollywood students where now, most of our Musical Theatre Dances and acts happen in their respective categories and programs based on type/timeline of performance date. However, off-late in 2016 onwards, some of our fusion dances won 1st place non-stop in various competition from local, regional to state and national level.
Ms. Swati’s daughter, Srinija Burra was a fabulous recreational Indian Folk Dancer who was accepted in several competitions as Solo dance artist(Age 6) and was important part of our team. She has also won group Indian Folk Dance Competitions (Pure Folk and with respected judges/organizers with double degrees in fine arts-very proud of this young lady!) with our other 10 Indian Folk Dance Students. Srinija Burra has also been the student of the year and received discounts on our elite line of costumes rentals and several other perks that we offered from our sponsorships of our dances that time.
Srinija & Nirja were often mistaken and switched in their solo performances by the organizers due to similarity in names and back then they would look very same! Best part was, both these girls would steal the show anywhere they would go, be it solo, duet or in group. All photographers, videographers and other parents who did not know us or these girls would take only their pictures and dance-videos with close-ups in-spite of being 10-15 dancers on stage without our informing them.
They were/are known to be the face and honor of Grace And Grooves LLC and often mistaken as Mrs. Hetal’s daughters or Mrs. Swati’s daughters as well. Nobody knew. Fun!
Today as well, till date in 2019, they are asked by various organizers who see our promo videos and pictures going out or in google search for modeling to dance assignments. A childhood friendship that shares some of the most beautiful memories that both the girls will cherish throughout their life! We are very blessed to have these young ladies as part of our family.
Srinija was also the reason why we have student of the year today and was amongst our very first Student Of The Year :).
Thank you Swati for being our best one. We Miss You 🙂 This Blog post is exclusively for you!
Copyright Reach Media for Hetal Nagaraj | Grace And Grooves | Grace Creations | 2012-2019. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
Just as our artistic director Ms. Hetal Nagaraj had the opportunity to learn from her own schools and colleges during her entire academic life, she just follows same here. A little give back to her kids’ schools other than her active PTO involvements such as Vice President PTO, Cultural Committee Coordinator, and Staff-Event Coordinator.
Focusing on just one country(India) is an easy job in India where the diversity/culture in forms of Indian Folk or Cultural Dances makes sense as in regions or states of India when celebrating India’s Independence Day or Republic Day or school annual day. This is not really a possibility in Dallas-Texas charter schools(USA) where every other student studying in school is from the different country with absolutely no common culture grounds! With this global diversities, imposing an Indian Performing Arts or even using Indian music wasn’t a good fit.
But, efforts were paid off when the parents opened their doors to do some creative works as long as it was limited to school environment and shows. Most dancers who joined this program had never danced before or had never even moved themselves to the tunes of music. From selecting the music, costumes, moves and the makeup standards were as per school guidelines. The performance was to appeal not only most/all demographics depending on the school, and the environment but also must fit the guidelines of the school. Dance lessons happened throughout the academic year following the school guidelines and calendar.
Finally, we could get a decent 4-5 min of presentable creative works by the end of the year. Kids loved it and parents admired it. Grace And Grooves had undertaken these fun creative projects with the following schools:
Below are the pictures of performances from both the schools. These pictures are released based on parent’s consent forms signed exclusively for Grace And Grooves releases Only.
Exclusive Copyrights by Reach Media for Hetal Joshi | Grace & Grooves | Grace Creations | Grace And Grooves 2012-2017. All Pictures posted here are with an exclusive consent of participating students, parents or school staffs. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.