Feet of Fire: A Journey Through Time
To win Centrifuge was the team's dream.
These were the Club President's words when they were crowned with overwhelming glory. This troupe from NIT-R has been on the popular news since a few days now. This team has nipped and tucked and patched and sewed on its uneven edges to shape out into something perfect and beautiful. What started as a group of 4 students is today a huge family with their heads ever buzzing with new ideas and their feet tapping to every tune on the go. The story of The Mavericks is an amazing and inspiring one.
6 Years Back:
Before The Mavericks came into existence, NIT-R consisted of just one dance club called Synergy.The reason for starting a second dance club was to change the old-fashioned dance scenario. A few days before any show, the students used to hire a choreographer who used to teach the dance forms to the participants, which they then used to perform. There was no culture for dance, and new ideas and initiatives were not much in vogue. Inspired by a Freshers' party organised in SAC, back in 2008, where there was a group of dancers who were invited to perform, a group of four students decided to change the approach towards dance in the Institute. They decided to start another dance club which would facilitate the dance education at NITR with different dance styles, regular training sessions, performances before the students and would bring together people who were passionate about learning and sharing. These four people were:
Sumon Rudra - The mastermind behind the whole idea, someone who loved dancing; not just to put up an entertaining performance but to bring something new to the plate every time he hit the stage.
Debayan Chakraborty: His dearest friend, who started performing together with Sumon, both of whom had a similar thought process. They would practice, watch videos and talk about dance forms
Ashis Das and Shalabh Gupta: Two students, who shared their ideology and believed in their vision. Ashis Das was also the one who began the culture of B-boying (a form of street breakdancing) in NITR.
It was a mammoth task to introduce another dance club in the Institute. There were massive ego clashes, They faced stiff opposition, debating for nights together in night canteens, in front of the hostels, in their rooms, to convince everyone why it was important. In their first ever inductions "you could hear the crickets chirping" for there were hardly any people who wanted to join them. Even still, they conducted around 4-5 inductions in less than two months to put together a team of 11 members, some of who had been rejected earlier in the Synergy inductions, and rest who had never performed on stage before. The founders put it as the best part.
We were total underdogs, little talent but immense passion! It was frustrating at times to teach move by move but then everyone was so passionate that we couldn't just give up.
They presented their proposal in an open discussion with Synergy and the SAC authorities and after a lengthy discussion finally managed to convince them to give them the opportunity to prove themselves. With the first budget of around 5000 INR, The Mavericks began with just a good sound system and some bare minimum for their costumes. They decided not to invite any choreographers, recycle their old clothes to make costumes and create their routines themselves by watching YouTube videos.
Their first performance at the Institute Freshers' in 2011 was an instant hit, and The Mavericks had made its presence known. They even made a PowerPoint presentation on B-boying beside Rengcol outside BBA. They proved themselves again in NU 2012 where they won the 1st prize.
It was an absolute shocker.
They then decided to compete in ISM Dhanbad with their choreography and bagged the 2nd runners - up position.
Since then, the troupe has never looked back and has secured some incredible wins in a span of 5-6 years.
Some of these include:
- 1st Prize in the Group Dance Competition (NU 2013)
- 1st Prize in the Group Dance Competition (Spring Fest 2013, IIT-Kharagpur),
- 1st Prize in the Duet Dance Competition (Spring Fest 2013, IIT-Kharagpur),
- 1st Runners-Up in the Group Dance Competition (NU 2014, 2015 and 2016),
- 2nd Prize in the Indian Hip Hop Championship, Mega Crew Division (in collaboration with Synergy),
- Winners of Centrifuge (Spring Fest 2017, IIT-Kharagpur) and Winners of Footloose (NU 2017).
In 2013, NIT-R was blessed with the Spring Fest Championship Trophy at IIT Kharagpur, because of the Mavericks, changing the whole dance culture of NIT Rourkela. It was for the first time that Classical was fused with hip-hop dance and all the ideas and choreographies were done solely by the members of The Mavericks. Since then no professional choreographers are called to the institute, and all concepts are created by the students itself.
Collaborating with Synergy:
In 2016 Synergy and Mavericks teamed up to represent our institute proudly for the biggest dance competition in India, Indian Hip-hop Dance Championship, 2016. The two teams although known for their onstage rivalry united together by the true spirit of dance when it came to representing their institute across the nation. They managed to create a fantastic choreography, that aided them in winning a proud silver in their maiden attempt itself.
Today, the Mavericks has grown into a huge family fully functional, and often performing alongside Synergy in several events. All the senior members have been extremely helpful and supportive. Each and everyone has equal interaction with each and every member of Mavericks, right from the founder members to recently graduated seniors. The Student Activity Centre has been supportive, especially after the incredible wins they secured. There haven't been any monetary issues, and they received the exact budget that they needed this year along with an advance on time as well. The members practice every day and are inspired by new ideas and keep on the zeal.
Apart from the usual selections that are held every semester, they conduct workshops through which people with proper body language and the ability to pick up steps are conducted.
On being asked about her most memorable experience in the club, Shreya Das, President of the Mavericks said:
Mavericks to me, is not just a club. It's a family. And there have been so many memories that I wouldn't be able to state just one. But, I guess winning Centrifuge is the recent most memorable moment. And apart from that, there are many fun moments.
Team MM got in touch with one of the founder members, Sumon Rudra, who is currently studying Aktina School of Dance. Sumon, a graduate from the Biotechnology Department, conveys his thoughts in a message.
First of all, Congratulations to The Mavericks for winning Centrifuge '17 and Footloose '17. It was my dream to compete in Centrifuge, IIT-Kharagpur and win but unfortunately I was graduating and I didn't have another shot. But I lived my dream through The Mavericks. It's after a long time that you have won both the national and state level competitions! I became very nostalgic this morning when Facebook reminded me with a picture, of some 5 years ago, the very same night when The Mavericks had won it's first competition in Nitrutsav '12. I have been in contact with The Mavericks since my graduation and I have seen them evolving. My input has always been to remind them in a way what being a Maverick means and that you have to outperform yourself by bringing something new to the table everytime your perform. And that it's possible only if there is a level of consistent hardwork. The Mavericks Introduced the Indian classical and hip-hop fusion in NITR in 2012 and ever since, have enthralled the audiences all-over. The biggest credit goes to Prashanti Jena , a phenomenal Odissi dancer, also a former Maverick. Having said that, I cannot undermine the role of Synergy in the birth of this dance revolution in NITR. Synergy stepped up its game so much, winning NU, IIT Kharagpur, ISM Dhanbaad and other such dance events and this healthy competition really helped dance thrive in NITR , with hundreds of students being able to learn and perform over the years. This dance culture has shaped the personalities of many, produced leadership qualities and most importantly reinstalled self confidence in so many individuals, and these are not just my words! It was also an extremely proud moment for me to watch the two crews come together and compete as SnM crew and win a Silver Medal in the Indian Hip-hop Championship 2016. Being into professional dancing for 5 years now, I appreciate Synergy and The Mavericks even more because they keep surprising me with their creativity. They are still engineering students but the level of their choreographies are very professional. They have become a force to reckon with. They have and are still carrying the name of NITR throughout India and it would be only fair if they keep getting the financial and moral support from the Institute to travel, perform, compete and conquer all the prestigious stages across the country and even the world in near future! There is nothing but immense respect for both the dance crews in NITR and a sense of pride to have been associated with one of them! Wishing both good health and good luck and Congratulations to The Mavericks! Never miss a Chance to Dance!