A&E, Clubs, Waterloo

Waterloo Warriors Gaana Dance Team Excels at K2B Choreo Competition

Photo Credits: Gana Arumugam

On January 21, 2024, the University of Waterloo (UW) Gaana Dance Team excelled at the Kalaipuyal & K2B Dance Choreo Clash competition in Scarborough, Ontario. They earned 2nd place in the event out of five teams. 

For those who are unfamiliar with the group, the UW Gaana Dance Team is a dance team at the University of Waterloo that primarily is connected to South Asian culture and performs in various dance styles (both South Asian and non-South Asian), including Bharatanatyam, Kuthu, Hip-Hop, and Dancehall. With more than 50 students from both the University of Waterloo and Laurier University part of the team, their goals involve fostering a fun environment for students who want to demonstrate their love of South Asian dance while allowing their members to grow as dancers themselves. 

They provide both a competitive team, for more experienced dancers, and a non-competitive team, for those who do not have as much experience and want to do dance for fun. They are also associated with the University of Waterloo Tamil Networking Association (UWATNA), which is the university’s largest Tamil-led club that promotes Tamil culture to the UWaterloo community. In February of this year, they performed at the Gujarati Student Association formal and the Sillunu Oru Kadhal, which is UWATNA’s yearly Valentine’s Day formal.

In terms of K2B, they are a South Asian-ran dance school located in Scarborough, Ontario that teaches students from as early as 3 years old about various dance styles including Urban, Gaana, Tamil Folk, and Hip-Hop. For the K2B Choreo Clash competition, 25 members of the UW Gaana competitive team participated at the university level, competing against other Canadian universities including Toronto Metropolitan University, McMaster University, York University, and the University of Ottawa. 

To prepare for the K2B competition, it took a fair amount of time to determine what to execute. Specifically, the team needed to figure out what would be the best choreos to showcase. Eventually, when the choreos were selected, the group continuously practiced throughout late December (during finals and the winter break) to the eventual day of the competition in late January. In fact, they were having practices up to 5 hours in the Engineering 7 (E7) building just running through their sets and cleaning any scenes they performed. It was certainly a well-earned effort as they managed to rank as one of the top teams in the event.

Thushalan Mathan, a first-year chemical engineering student studying at UWaterloo is one of the members of the competitive team who won big at the Choreo Clash competition. He has been dancing with K2B Dance Studios ever since the opening of their studio and has developed into a professional dancer that has competed in high-level competitions. One of which was an international hip-hop competition called Hip-Hop International (HHI) which took place in Phoenix, Arizona. In fact, the K2B team he was a part of were the first Tamil dance team to be on that large of a stage internationally.

In terms of Gaana, he has thoroughly enjoyed being on the team in his first year. He said that he knew a fair share of dancers before joining the team but still created strong bonds with members that he had first met on the UW Gaana dance team. Thushalan also mentions competitions such as the K2B Choreo Clash being a strong reason as to why the team grew a lot over a short period of time. He said, “A competition can do a lot for dancers. It’s like you’re doing a project with this team. You’re for sure going to grow with that team and form a bond with that team. And for us, I think we grew and formed a great bond to let it out and have fun.”

He also expressed the feeling of dancing with his fellow teammates, saying “When you dance, you can feel the energy of another dancer. If you do good and they do good, you can feel that energy vibing off. That makes you feel like you want to do more. On the day of the competition, every single person related to that.”

All in all, the UW Gaana dance team hopes to use this competition as a launching point to continue their dominance as an incredible group of individuals expressing their love of South Asian culture through dance. For more information about the UW Gaana Dance Team, feel free to follow their Instagram (@wlwarriorsdance) to hear more about their upcoming events, competitions, and workshops.

Leave a Reply