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Art of Emceeing a Perfect Dandiya Night: Swati Sharma

Here are some important tips about anchoring a perfect Dandiya night.

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Every once in a year for 9 to 10 days the Dandiya and Garba fever captivates the Indian entertainment loving audience. Though the most enthusiasm is seen amongst the Gujarati community all over the world this phenomenon has grown to an all inclusive fest of colors, costumes and music for Indian music and dance lovers.

Several live stages are set with high productions and detailed planning across India and abroad to feed this enthusiasm. I have hosted many such events, one of the recent one being Advantage Dandiya Night   in Patna. Before that I have also had the opportunity of hosting several of them in Gujrat, Mumbai , Indore and Delhi. From hosting a one day event in a city to festivals spreading over 10 days such as Pankhida. Deriving from my experience here is what you should know if you are about to Emcee a Dandiya night. 


Types of Dandiya Nights

Dandiya nights can be organized in two contexts .One is the public dandiya - either ticketing or passes based, backed by sponsors. Second is the club Dandiya party, organized by a selective community or club for their members and selective guests.

The two key differences in both are:

a) The number of audience involved

b) The public profile of some of the Attending guests.


Role of the Emcee

As an emcee you will be expected to fulfill the following functions: 

--Cheering the Audience

--As you open, there has to be spunk and cheerfulness in your voice, body language and content.  The feeling of festivity should be expressed and passed on to the audience.

Thanking Sponsors

There is always a team of partners that have to come together to create a public Dandiya event. Make sure to ask their names in advance and thank them for their support at the beginning, middle and end.  

Welcoming important guests on and off stage 

In public Dandiya nights several popular faces may be invited as added attractions. These may be artist from TV and Film media. VIP political and social leaders or government officials of that region.

Make note of who is to come on stage and who is to be felicitated with flowers or some other kind of Respectful token and by whom. The more VIP the gathering the more names may need to be called out during the event.

If the guests are from entertainment field you can also encourage them for a few Dandiya steps and engage them around Dandiya related talks asking - how did they like the crowd? Or what is their favorite dandiya song? Etc.( please note names may be added at the last moment. Make sure you take them in written form as far as possible to avoid any confusion. ) 

Introducing the Performers 

There will be a set of Singers with One or Two lead ,  who would take stage along with Live Musicians,  to make the audience swing to the beats if Dandiya. Introduce them in a way that makes the audience bee in awe of their stardom, making sure you highlight their professional achievements. You van get their profile details directly from them or the event managing team. 

For highly accomplished artists you can also refer the internet. 

Prize distribution

Some Dandiya nights may have prize distributions or lucky draws during or at the end of the event.

Most common ones being:

  • Best dressed
  • Best dancing female
  • Best dancing male
  • Best dancing kid. etc.  

In case of inclusion of this nature, the list will be given to you.  At times you may also have to play the role of judge and select the winners. Watching performances and noting names of participating guests with the help of a volunteer that may be assigned to you. 


Steps

1- You call upon the VIPs/Judges/Organizing members who will present the gift/prize.

2- Then you announce the prize title

3 - If there is 1st 2nd 3rd then In the reverse order you call the winners. 3rd then 2nd then 1st. 

4 - Depending on the time available you can also add a comment and ask the winners some fun question related to winning or performance or make them do a few steps on stage. 

Attire

It should be something traditional preferably. Unless the managing agency has any specific inputs on the same. Some teams may like the anchor to wear glamorous gown. Left to you, good looking Indian attire with maybe some western twists will also do well. Accessorize accordingly, syncing in with your attire.

Content

- You can incorporate the content around the 9 devis and how the festival celebrates their unique strengths for opening. 

- You can talk about the raas that comes from Krishna and his Gopis.

- There are many young people and couples also in the Dandiya crowd so you can add some funny stories around love and romance.

- General fun conversations derived from the on location observation, a compliment on someone’s dress and energy and connecting it to a humorous story can also a great addition.

- If time permits you can get down in the crowd and play games like who does the maximum spins in 30 seconds, or who shouts the loudest jai mata di or I love dandiya or a style walk of some selective one’s on stage showing off their attire and give away titles like Mr./Miss/Mrs. Dandiya queen/king etc. or even distribute goodies if provided by the team on that basis. 

Energy

The energy levels of an event like Dandiya should always be high. You can also choose to engage beyond your speaking skills by Dancing with the crowd through stage on a couple of songs.

Seeing the appropriate time and place for it, if you feel that it would help the crowd engagement and make them more participative. Don’t go out of breathe or over do. At the end you are there for a specific job. Simply use this part as a value addition.

Points to Note

- Take stage time only when asked to by the organizer as the people are there for the musical experience more than anything else.

- Confirm and reconfirm names with pronunciations if time allows.

- Confirm in advance on which one or two people will be giving you directions for any additions during the event and insist on getting instructions from them.

- Keep checking with the backstage team for the next announcement so everything is in sync. 

With a combination of these basic instructions and your personal flair you are on your way to hosting a great and memorable Dandiya night for your audience. The purpose of this article is to share the structure of a Dandiya event in relation to an Emcees role. Hope you find it useful. Do share your thoughts in comments.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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Dandiya Emcee Garba

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