The embodiment of these core values of Taaza serve as the foundation of our organization. Taaza was created by dancers who wanted to take both their favorite parts of attending competitions and missteps at competitions to form an artistic-centric with innovation at its roots. There was nothing stopping this core group from creating Taaza.
Co-Founder Mek Rao has stated that being part of her collegiate dance team, Pitt Mastana, supplied her with a community where she was accepted and could embrace her passion for South Asian dance. That’s why organizing a competition where more people could experience the same feeling & be empowered by one another just made sense.
But the former and current dancers leading Taaza aren’t the only ones at the forefront of change.
Taaza’s diverse board, filled with people interested and studying engineering, digital marketing, supply chain management, film production, health care, political science, and so much more craft and mold the diverse ideas we innovate as a Taaza community. Here, it is evident that Taaza has a place for everyone.
Our collection of fresh perspectives only serves to make our competition bigger and better each year. This diversity in interests is just the beginning-- as a board, we are literally composed of ⅓ Garba-Raas dancers, ⅓ Bollywood-Fusion dancers, and ⅓ non-dancers. Every single one of our committees has diversity in experience, yet we all have two things in common: our love for dance and our love for culture.
Each Taaza member shares these passions in their own unique way, whether it be ensuring that our dancers see their choreography come to life on stage with the help of our tech team or setting up fundraisers and social media campaigns to raise awareness for our initiatives. At Taaza, even the most technical work is creative, and the most creative work is technical-- a true testament to our versatility and collaboration.
To broaden our reach beyond the scope of our competition to make a true impact, uplifting our own communities as well as other communities.
To show each person at Taaza, whether that be a dancer, judge, videographer, caterer, or host, that we value the uniqueness they bring to our competition weekend.
Encourage and bring innovation and creativity on and off stage to bring a new perspective to the dance community and specifically DDN landscape.
As an organization, we consistently ask ourselves, how can we utilize our platform to go beyond the scope of just dance? The South Asian dance community allows individuals to communicate, share and collaborate on initiatives that they don’t just believe to be important but must be discussed by our community. .
We acknowledged the turmoil happening in our society -- and we acted. Last year, Taaza put its efforts towards raising money and awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement. We went beyond monetary efforts by taking steps to provide our board with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to understand, identify, and dismantle systemic oppression.
Through attending our University’s Diversity Forum in Summer 2020 consisting of several virtual workshops and keynote speakers, we were able to frame our privilege, learn how to be good allies, and better understand the oppression ingrained in our society. We have pledged to not let the momentum behind this movement fade, until the injustice stops.
Taaza doesn’t settle for less-- our expectations for everything we do on the weekend of the competition are set above the bar, by prioritizing teams and our community in a way that they want to come back year after year. As a new competition during our Taaza 1.0 year, we knew the most impactful way to improve was to go straight to the source by asking for teams’ feedback AND publicizing both the positive and negative feedback on our social media accounts to hold ourselves accountable. This not only helps us improve as the information is transitioned from board to board, but it also upholds the authenticity embedded into the foundation and values of Taaza.
Other transparency initiatives include:
Releasing all information to teams in the application packet including but not limited to venue, COVID policies, registration fees breakdowns, rubrics, etc.
Providing teams with an option to receive audition video feedback via email or a meeting.
Distributing anonymous post-mixer surveys for immediate feedback from teams to implement into the rest of the competition weekend.
Holding follow-up conversations with judges and vendors to gauge their thoughts on their unique Taaza experience.