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Email: basmatiraasstanford@gmail.com

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ALUMNI SPEAK

See what BR alumni have to say about their experiences on the team!

Anika Raghuvanshi

Dancer 2015-19, Captain 18-19

When I joined Basmati Raas, I was promised the chance to learn a new dance form and travel for competitions. But what I felt most excited about was the chance to be a part of what everyone kept calling the “BR family”. As is expected when forming new relationships, becoming a part of the family took time, but now, several years after those auditions, I can definitively say I know exactly what they meant by the BR fam. I met a large percentage of my closest friends from Stanford through Raas. Some I never even danced with, but got to know when they returned to practices to help us prepare for competitions or through social events involving multiple generations of BR. With every full routine run through, post-practice Taco Bell run, and almost missed flight, I have made new memories and lasting connections with my “siblings” (or “parents” as I’d call my captains, or “children” as I’d call the team when I captained). This fam will drive across states for a reunion and drop everything they’re doing to be there for you (or go on a boba run). When a BR couple got married this past summer, we expanded our motto “One team. One dance.” to include “One family.”— which makes sense in the context of a wedding, but also very accurately describes our team’s culture.

Shivani Pampati

Dancer 2014-18, Captain 16-17

Through my four years in college, one thing remained constant: my family in raas. I grew up in a predominantly white town with the number of Indian families dwindling the older I got. Starting at the age of 9, my parents made sure I was able to stay connected to my Indian roots through dance. When I came to Stanford, I knew I wanted to dance. What drew me to the raas team was the community, friendship, and ultimately family. I had spent my whole life living either as my “Indian” side or my “American” side. Through the family I made in BR, I was able to combine those sides and become more confident in my whole identity. Raas was a place where I could grow (be that intellectually, culturally, etc) ; a place where I could come to for emotional support; a place where I could laugh endlessly; a place where where I could of course ALWAYS dance; a place where I could watch any Bollywood movie; and ultimately a place that I could call home.

Divya Gopisetty

Dancer 2014-18, Captain 17-18

College was a new and unfamiliar space at first. I had an awful case of imposter syndrome (the feeling that I didn’t belong). And I was overwhelmed by the opportunities at hand to learn and grow. 

 

However, I was certain I wanted to dance. And I was so, so lucky to join Basmati Raas. Each year, we worked towards a powerful repertoire of high-knees, graceful garba, and dandia twirls to bring parts of Gujarati dance culture to American stages. When we danced, we danced together. 

 

My teammates have always been my people. They are still my closest friends, my sisters and brothers, and my role models. They are family I can count on to help me request a song by the DJ, go on a late night Taco Bell adventure, or come help me escape after a hard day. Amidst the rollercoaster and change that came with college, BR was a constant. They still are.

Siddharth Damania

Dancer 2008-12, Captain 11-12

As a high school senior, I remember watching videos of Stanford's 1st-place performance at GWA, dreaming that someday I could join the Greatest Show on the West Coast. One year later, in the fall of my freshman year, I joined Basmati Raas, embarking on the highlight of my Stanford life. In each of my four years on the team, our 16-member family came together with new faces, new creative elements, and new storylines, but we always maintained that distinctly Stanford Basmati Raas style and energy. All our experiences together - the 'guys solo' run-throughs, the routine Taco Bell runs, the joy of winning Raas Rodeo as a captain - made Basmati Raas one of the most unforgettable journeys of my life. #OneTeamOneDance, forever.

Ayushi Tandel

Dancer 2018-19

One of my favorite memories is road-tripping from San Francisco to Portland to visit my captain, Anika. It was the summer after she had graduated, and me and four other team members decided on a whim to take a weekend trip to Portland. We left behind our jobs and responsibilities and embarked on an adventure we would never forget. Along the way, we stopped for a family-style brunch, Guy Fieri approved Thai food, and boba. Fourteen hours later, we arrived in Portland! We all excitedly greeted Anika, played games, and roasted s’mores. The next day, we woke up early to enjoy our only full day in Portland. We started off at the Portland Rose Garden, got Blue Star donuts, and visited Powell’s bookstore. Next, we took on Portland’s famous Saturday markets where we taste-tested a variety of hot sauces to prove that Indians can handle that space. After lunch, we left the city and literally went chasing waterfalls. I don’t know how, but we ended up jumping into water with all our clothes on. We ended our day with a barbecue at Anika’s house and Salt & Straw ice cream for dessert. We left the next day, sad to be leaving but filled with memories. On our way back, we continued our adventure by stopping at Crater Lake and sharing a meal at Taco Bell (because you can’t have a good time without it). I honestly still can’t believe that we drove almost twenty eight hours for one day in Portland. All I can say is that I’m blessed to have met such amazing people on Basmati Raas. People who get me. People who will forever be a part of my life. People who say yes to the adventure of a lifetime. 

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