Aanika Patel (SFS ’13) is a coordinator, along with Shreya Kundur (COL ‘12) of this year’s Rangila, the 17th annual celebration of South Asian song and dance. The show is one of the largest events on campus, with over 400 dancers participating. Patel believes that this year’s show, “The Rangila Files: A Mystery at Gaston,” will be the best yet.
What is Rangila?
Rangila is this amazing [event] on campus every year that showcases Southeast Asian culture. It is about the Georgetown community coming together and doing something that is just so not normal. It’s interesting to watch people who don’t know that much about South Asian culture or society come together and perform traditional South Asian dance on stage for two nights.
When did you first get involved with Rangila?
My freshman year I actually almost didn’t join Rangila, but I lived in Darnall, and my roommate really wanted to do it, and they had signups in St. Mary’s, which is close by, so I went. The room was packed, and it seemed so cool. I choreographed my sophomore year. As a junior, I’m choreographing and coordinating the show.
Were you involved with this type of dance before coming to Georgetown?
I danced a little in high school and middle school. My mom was afraid that I wasn’t going to be very cultured, so she made me dance and get out of my comfort zone a little. The great thing about dance, especially Rangila, is that a lot of people have never danced before, and they’re jumping into a very specific kind of dance.
Why did you decide you wanted to be a coordinator?
It’s been exactly a year since I decided this was something I really wanted to do. The show had finished, and, after the last dance, everyone stormed the stage. Two guys from my dance lifted me up in the air. I was on their shoulders looking out at the entire audience and everyone on stage and I thought, “This is amazing. I want this to be mine next year.” When you’re [a] coordinator, every little piece of the show has a bit of you in it, and it’s a little part of you.
What would you say is the best part of being coordinator?
[The best part is] seeing everything come together. For choreographers, this journey has been about four and a half months long. For dancers, it’s been about two and a half. For me, it’s been seven months ever since I was elected. You start on the ground running from the very first day. It’s exciting to see everything come together, to see my dancers take the stage in costume for the first time because they are so excited.
And the worst?
There are some [not-so-great aspects to being coordinator]. The emails never stop. I think in the last hour I have gotten 75 asking me for tickets. The good thing is Shreya and I work really well together. We weren’t good friends before this started, but now we have become great friends because of this. It’s nice to have that support system.
What’s your most embarrassing Rangila story?
Last year during dress rehearsal I had to go through a costume change, and it was very quick. I went on to do the next act, and there’s a tie on your pants that I just didn’t have. There was a move when I was literally front and center, jumping up and down, and all of a sudden I feel something slipping down my legs. My pants were around my knees. Luckily, I had on leggings underneath.
What charity does Rangila benefit?
It’s called the Kumarappa Institute of Gram Swaraj. They do a lot of vocational training. Tara Hill (SFS ’13), our philanthropy chair, is going to give a short presentation about it, and she’s going to wear a sari that was made by the women in the vocational training program. It’s a great charity that we’ve been supporting for over a decade. We used to provide the entire operating budget for them; they’ve grown since then, but we’re still their largest donor.