Divya Aickara is a sophomore at the University of Florida and a co-captain of Gator Adaa, UF’s own Indian Fusion Dance Team. The dancers capture the essence of traditional Indian Dance while also incorporating Raas, Bhangra, Garba, Bollywood and Hip-Hop rhythms. Nina Patel and Simmi Kaur initially founded the team and upon graduation appointed Aickara, Jennifer Pathiyil and Stephanie Motilall as the current captains.
Co-Captain of Gator Adaa (pictured on right)
Indian Fusion Dance Team
Aickara says, “All three of us hold this team dear to our hearts because we have been raised in the dancing world. It is a part-time job to be a captain of a team. You must love to dance in order to commit this much time and effort.”
The captains lead practice three times a week. A typical practice consists of warm ups, stretching, new choreography and numerous repetitions of the dance.
“In order to catch any mistakes a captain might have missed, groups of two members perform while the entire team critiques and watches” Aickara explains. This process is crucial so every member can perfect the dance. As performances come closer, practices become daily.
The dance troupe has performed at numerous venues including the UF Pharmacy Program and the Penn Masala Concert held in the University Auditorium. Although the team can be booked to perform at weddings, sweet sixteen parties and other events, they spend most of their time preparing for numerous statewide competitions. Last semester they won first place at India Festival in Tampa and Diwali Dhamaka in Ft. Lauderdale. They travel from West Palm Beach to Jacksonville representing the Gator Nation.
Aickara is thrilled as the team will be performing in their first out-of-state competition on March 31. Eight teams were selected to perform in the dance contest known as “Midwest Dhamaka”, after a rigorous audition process. Gator Adaa will fly to Cincinnati, Ohio, to dance their way to a national championship title and a grand cash prize.