What is it: Bhangra is a form of folkdance originating in Punjab (northern India). This form of dance originated as a form of entertainment and fun for Punjabis, who were traditionally farmers. Bhangra often has use of live music, and is danced to with sticks and flags that resemble farm tools used by Punjabis out on their farms.
Where did you learn it: I picked it up myself largely, but soon after I joined a Bhangra team here in the Los Angeles area, and began to learn from my pears and my coaches.
What does it mean to you: Bhangra has, for quite some time now, stepped into the competitive scene in North America. There are tens of thousands of teams between America and Canada – high school affiliated, temple affiliated, university affiliated, city affiliated, etc. Competitions have been around for decades, and Bhangra has transformed into a competitive sport. I have been the captain of UCLA’s Bhangra team for 2 years, and we have been very successful in the past. I aim to keep up the reputation and continue to bring to the world high quality performances. We aim to hype a crowd with our high energy and creative in choreography, musicality and formations.
Context of Performance
There are many different contexts for performance of Bhangra, but the one Vaibhav has focused on is dance competitions.
I believe that the spread of Bhangra for a competitive purpose helped keep the Punjabi culture alive for people abroad, away from Punjab. However after spreading into the competitive scene, I believe that it began to take on it’s own purpose and it’s own identity, and now there are people like Vaibhav, who is from Gujarat, but identifies much more strongly with Bhangra, the folkdance of Punjab, than he does with Garba, the folkdance of his own region.