Indian Summer Has Arrived

May 2, 2009

Last week I went to the start of the Indian Summer bimonthly bhangra parties hosted by the NYC Bhangra Club. The launch party was held in 218 Bar on Lafayette Street. When I arrived, it was a typical bar scene where the patrons had no idea that a bhangra blowout of sorts was going to happen until a crowd of people that began filing in around 11 p.m. started pumping their arms to the bhangra beat that suddenly blasted through the bar’s speakers.

nyc-bhangra-launch-party-027 The crowd was a pretty diverse mix of people. The Bhangra Club’s members are a diverse crowd in itself, and there was only more fun to be had when drunk bar patrons joined in the mix. It was amusing for me to see them bemused at the unannounced party unfolding in front of them, only to jump right in. Those familiar with bhangra dance moves helped them to move to the energetic beat, teaching them one or two basic bhangra steps. One guy dancing in front of me was doing pretty well, even inventing some of his own moves, until I turned around and realized he was borrowing from the person directly behind me!

Around 12:30 p.m., the bhangra club put on a performance of its own, as four people–two women, two men–dressed in traditional bhangra costumes cleared a space in the middle of the floor and began a three-minute choreographed routine. nyc-bhangra-launch-party-064

The dance was pretty impressive and showcased the NYC Bhangra Club’s strength as a performing team. One of my favorite parts of their choreography involved the women getting on the men’s shoulders and then raising their arms to the ceiling, all the while still in rhythm with the music:

nyc-bhangra-launch-party-084

The performance was followed by the dhol beats of Madan Madi, world famous dhol master. A dhol is a large two-sided drum, which when played, reverberated around the room. Immediately, people jumped in the space left by the previous performance and began dancing along as Mr. Madi played in time with the music, which had swept up again in a crescendo of sound.

nyc-bhangra-launch-party-092

Overall, it was an incredible evening. The next party is set for Friday, May 8th at the same 218 Bar and Restaurant. Cover is $15, though there is a coupon for $10 on the NYC Bhangra Club’s website. Ladies are free before 12 a.m., so if the pictures above are any indication, this isn’t something you’re going to want to miss!

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