April 20, 2009
This weekend I visited the NYC Bhangra Club as they were busily preparing for an upcoming performance. I had some time before the class began to speak to a few of the club members and find out what they were looking forward to when performing bhangra in front of an audience, many of them for the first time.
“I want to perform, but the choreography is kind of crazy right now so I’m up in the air about it,” Deborah Lugo admitted. Ms. Lugo joined the class as a way to stay fit after recently becoming a new mother. When asked about how she found out about bhangra, Ms. Lugo explained that she’d watched a lot of Bollywood on the Indian channels she receives on the television.
The class itself was interesting to watch. Typical classes begin with 15 minutes of stretching, followed by another 15 minutes of basic bhangra steps all done to fast bhangra music. The last half hour of the class is an intense workout of non-stop bhangra dance.
Sunday’s class, however, was all business. “Please don’t talk, we have very little time,” said instructor Megha Kalia. “That’s why we didn’t do warmup exercises today!”
The class was preparing for auditions for an upcoming June performance. In addition to telling the class to bend and smile, Ms. Kalia was also trying to get the class in the mindset of a performing group.
“You guys are all learning dance. You have to learn to adapt to new formations,” she said after a brief moment of confusion when the class, divided into two parts of the studio, began to tangle. “Presence of mind and body is what dance is all about!” said Ms. Kalia.
Fortunately, there’s still some time until the class auditions. Until then, the members can practice showing off their moves at NYC Bhangra Club’s new “Indian Summer” parties. The launch party is April 24th and will occur every 2nd and 4th Friday of every month. The first party looks to be a great one: only $10 cover charge the entire night, and ladies are free until midnight! Check out the flyer below. I know I’ll be there!
April 6, 2009
I found another video of NYU Pandemonium. This performance is from the Monsoon 2008 show. Enjoy!
April 5, 2009
Bhangra Blowout 16 will be in Washington D.C. next weekend on April 11th, so if you can make it, go and support your favorite collegiate bhangra team!
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.com and doors open at 6 in the D.A.R. Constitutional Hall. For more information, go to http://www.bhangrablowout.com.
April 5, 2009
Bhangra is one of my favorite folk dances. It’s incredibly energetic and fast-paced, and so much fun to dance at Indian events. But crazy parties aside, bhangra is taken seriously at dance competitions, usually at college campuses.
Here’s the NYU bhangra team’s 2008 performance in Pittsburgh.
Bhangra music and dance originated in Punjab as a dance by farmers celebrating the coming of spring. Bhangra became popular when Punjabis migrated to the UK around the 1980s, and today many of the celebrated bhangra music artists such as Punjabi MC and Punjabi Hit Squad infuse the traditional bhangra sound with modern hip-hop beats:
If you’re interested in learning how to dance bhangra, the NYC Bhangra Club offers classes that are $10/lesson. There is no registration and membership is free. Performances are on a volunteer basis, so if you’re confident and eager to dance in public, you’ll have many opportunities to do so.