Dandiya Raas: The Original Indian Drum Workout

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Image Credit: Brian Glanz
Image Credit: Brian Glanz

Before there was Pound (Air Drum workout), there was Raas. Navratri, or Nav(Nine) Raath'(Night) Ree (no idea; ‘thing’ or ‘event’ or something), is celebrated by Hindus (and other dancing folks) around the world by gathering in gyms and dancing with sticks (this year, it’s October 1-10). Seriously, Raas has been around for years, decades, centuries even. Long before two LA drummers thought up the bright idea of holding drumsticks, adding cardio, and calling it innovation. Cultural appropriation, anyone?

Don’t believe me? Judge for yourselves:
Here’s Air Drum Workout

Here’s Raas (there are actually Raas competitions across the US that have been going on for decades)

or this

So what’s the big deal? It’s just a workout. It’s just a song. It’s just a word. It’s just a…

But that’s just it. If it were just a matter of mispronouncing words lifted from a phonetic language (it’s pronounced nuh-MUSS’-thè, and the ‘a’ at the end of Shiva, Siddhartha, Buddha is silent), that would be fine. Really it would. I’ve spent a lifetime correcting the pronunciation of my name, of letting it slide, so we can just move on with the conversation.

But when someone proclaims to have invented something that has literally existed for centuries, then yes, that’s a little obnoxious. If you’ve ever complained about what story Avatar ripped off, think the Windows GUI is a total copy of the Mac (or vice versa), or ever debated about whether the Marvel or DC version of a superhero was the original, then you can hopefully understand.

Except this isn’t a question of two things invented at roughly the same time; Dandiya Raas was invented literally in ancient times; Pound came around in 2011.

But hey, decide for yourself. And even if you’re not Hindu, join in the centuries-old dancing trend. Though you may want to leave the drumsticks behind.

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