Sky is the limit for these panchhees, the Hindi for birds. Must be wondering why they are referred like this? Once someone mispronounced Panache, the official name of this western dance group, and since then it became their unofficial name.
Formed five years ago, Panache, the western dance group of Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), has 13 students, of which nine are girls. “Even though we are a young team, we have given tough competition to other colleges at various competitions,” says Aarshiya Choudhary, president, Panache.
Since the college has no Extra Curricular Activities (ECA) quota, these dancers might have been excellent in studies, but perhaps no experts in dancing. “The fact that most of us have not been dancers before we joined SRCC does not hamper the quality of our performance, as we all are equally passionate about dancing,” says Varsha Rawat, a member of the troupe.
Any student has to undergo three rigorous rounds of auditions in order to make it to the group. “Each round leads to a more demanding round; from Freestyle to Jazz, and finally to choreographing an entire performance,” says Mohna Sharma, first year student of Economics (Hons).
And it’s considered quite cool in SRCC to be a part of Panache. In the last session, 180 students auditioned. “When I went for the auditions, I became nervous as soon as I saw the huge queue,” says Nikunj Soni, one of the four male members of the group. “Being a non-dancer, I thought my chances of getting through were low, but the seniors were encouraging.”
But why only four boys? Apparently, boys consider dramatics more suitable. “Out of the total 180 students who were there for the auditions, only 30 were guys,” says Rahul Jain, a Panache dancer. “I wanted to break people’s inhibition that certain dance steps are very girly for boys. As soon as I’m on the stage, all that matters to me is to dance.”
From elaborate costumes to equally elaborate make up, the students do not spare any effort to add substance to their performances. And they do it themselves, unlike in other societies of Delhi University where dresses are usually outsourced. “We buy fancy cloth pieces from Chandni Chowk,” says Prachi Jindal, a member. “We prefer doing make up ourselves because we understand the demand of the performance better than any one else.” Adds Varsha, “And we save on money too.”
The college does not provide any financial help, and so, all the money comes from prize money the group frequently wins in university events. “The budget sometimes goes as high as Rs 20, 000,” says Khushboo Goel, a troupe member.
The group has won many accolades for the college, including a first position at Hindu College, second at Ramjas and Jesus and Mary College, and third at IIT Delhi and SRCC’s fests. But since the Panache dancers are always using free time for rehearsals, they say, they have no other social life. Price for success, we say.
What makes them click: Equal devotion towards dance and studies
President: Aarshiya Chaudhary
Biggest competitor: IP College for Women
How to be a member: Anyone can be a part of the group after clearing three rounds of auditions
Ideology of the group: The show must go on, no matter what