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What Bhangra Dancing?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 April 2014
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Bhangra dancing is a traditional form of Indian folk dance performed in the Punjab region of India. The energetic music which accompanies this dance has become popular around the world, thanks to several major Indian performers in the 1970s and 1980s. Many modern musicians have integrated Bhangra beats and themes into their work, using additional instruments and a range of remixing techniques to create a very distinctive sound. Bhangra dancing can be seen in many parts of India and at competitions all over the world.

Study of the history of this dance form seems to suggest that it emerged around 500 years ago. Traditionally, Bhangra dancing is held to celebrate weddings and other major events, and performers typically celebrated the spring harvest with Bhangra as well. The dance is characterized by fast beating, energetic music with strong percussion and colorful, playful dancing. The high energy of Bhangra dance is fun for participants and observers alike.

Several traditional instruments are used to accompany Bhangra dancing, including the dholak, dhol, and tabla drums, which are usually beaten by hand. Musicians also play stringed instruments as well in some regions. In addition to playing music, accompanists also sing songs which encompass a wide range of themes. At harvest festivals, these songs celebrate a joyful and successful harvest, but Bhangra dancing can also be accompanied by political, historical, or love songs, which are traditionally sung in Punjabi.

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Dancers can be both male and female, and people tend to wear traditional costumes for Bhangra dancing. These costumes are usually brightly colored and flowing so that they move with the dancers as they execute challenging moves. A wide range of costumes can be seen in Bhangra dance performances, including long, flowing skirts for women and loosely fitting tunics for men. Scarves and jewelry are common accessories for dancers.

In Indian, traditional Bhangra dancing is a feature at many major events, with skilled dance troupes displaying a number of traditional dance moves for the crowd. Indian festivals and culture fairs in other parts of the world also feature Bhangra dancing. Some regions also sponsor Bhangra dancing competitions, in which regional teams can strut their stuff; despite the Indian origins of this traditional dance, people from all sorts of cultural backgrounds compete in these competitions. Bhangra music has also been borrowed by many musical traditions, and it pops up in some surprising places, from reggae performances to concert halls.

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Discuss this Article

wizup
Post 4

One thing to remember before learning to dance Bhangra is to do some good warm-up exercises before you start dancing, especially if you’re doing Bollywood dancing. This dance gives you an intense workout much like aerobics.

Bollywood dancing is derived from the Hindi music and film industry, and is an excellent dance form for getting into shape and staying fit. It’s a combination of traditional and modern moves that are very energetic. And once you learn a few basic moves you can start experimenting with it and create your own style.

aviva
Post 3

@babylove - Bhangra dance moves are not that difficult to learn. There are a lot of videos online that will teach you a few basic steps.

Traditional Bhangra movements are stomping your feet, swinging your arms, clapping and waving your hands, and shrugging your shoulders.

Jumping and bouncing are more modern steps. They've been added in more recent years, which have evolved into some very popular Bhangra dance workouts.

Bhangra dance lessons are taught all over the world now. I’m sure there’s a studio near you that offers classes. Otherwise as mentioned go online and find a video that you’re comfortable with and get to dancing.

babylove
Post 2

How difficult is it to learn Bhangra dance? I’ve seen it performed in parades before and it looks like so much fun.

The dancers were so entertaining with such a beautiful display of color and movement. I'd love to be able to duplicate it the next time I go out dancing.

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