By Usha Wagle Gautam
Dance like nobody’s watching, even when one of the most notable personalities of community is sitting right in front of you, watching. Now, that’s a bigger challenge. But, UNI proves their dancing prowess every time they take over a stage or two and puts up a performance to detail, and to remember. These are real dancers, dressed in sweatpants and tank tops; their beautiful, fluidly moving bodies are always the focus at any event.
UNI is a Doha-based Nepali dance troupe that frequently performs at local community events. Established in 2013 with merely five members, now UNI has grown to a cluster of 15 members including Nepali boys and girls from different age groups.
Given the freewheeling spirit of the performance, the group is well recognised among Indian, Bengali, Pakistani and Filipino communities in Doha. From performing at Qatar National Day celebrations, organised by Ministry of Interior, to staging a performance to raise funds for the earthquake victims of Nepal in 2015, UNI knows their business well and translates it to detail with self-expression. UNI has been a part of more than a dozen dance videos, including tutorials and have performed for various music experts including Nepathye, music band, and Pramod Kharel, Nepali singer.
Sometimes it’s a thwarting struggle, but UNI has successfully managed to place itself on the map of established performers in Doha in less than a decade.
Youb Raj Oli, Dance Director at UNI, came to Doha in 2011 to work as an accountant. For seven years Oli was a dance teacher in Kathmandu, before he moved to Qatar. “My first dance performance in Doha was not even scheduled. As I saw a couple of artistes performing at an event, I requested the organisers to give me a chance. That’s how it all started,” says Oli.
Oli founded UNI with his four friends including, Deepak Magar, Shekhar KC, Shekhar Tamang and Lucky Bista, who later left for Kathmandu to pursue dancing as a career, leaving Oli behind, with the sole responsibility of the troupe.
On talking about the experience of joining UNI, Rohit Bishwokarma, a dancer member of UNI, said, “I come from a poor family and I was always discouraged to dance because it didn’t pay well back then. But now, my friends and families are happy about it.”
Munal Gurung, another dance member of UNI, came to Qatar in 2010 as a driver and later joined UNI to pursue his passion for dancing. Munal has been felicitated with numerous awards and certificates for dancing ever since. He also supports the crew from the backstage. Well how he joined the dance masters? “I met Youb Raj Oli at an event organised by Struggle Band and that’s how things came into place. I haven’t looked back, ever since.”
Other members of UNI included Bhupendra Bharati who comes from east Nepal and specialises in traditional folk dance; Kisore Thapa, Sandip Pariyar, Romit Poudel, specialises in hip-hop genre; Mahesh Babu Chhetri, Nisha Sherpa, a female member of UNI; and Soni Bhujel among others.
UNI also provides a platform to amateur and professional dancers from Nepal, who work partime with the dance group, juggling between their job and interest. The members of UNI aspires to establish a dance institute in their home country.
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