Bhangra is a living tradition that has grown and morphed over the course of many decades. Our definition of bhangra expands beyond the traditional cultural practices, and towards describing the community movement we seek to create.
Bhangra is a style of folk dance and rhythm that originated in the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan. Over time, bhangra has come to represent the blend of a variety folk dances and includes a spectrum of musical beats. Driven by the dhol drum, the music of bhangra truly became a phenomenon during the 70s and 80s when the bhangra band movement was born in the United Kingdom.
Bhangra was often performed in small rural towns by young Punjabi labourers, as a way to cut through racial tensions and connect with their communities. In the Punjabi and larger South Asian diaspora, bhangra is used by new generations of dancers and musicians to continue to find new ways of expressing themselves, crafting their identities and connecting with their cultural heritage.
For VIBC, bhangra is about bringing together dance, music and community to celebrate life, love and inclusion. Although it's not a part of the official definition, for us bhangra is a movement. A movement needed to help to build bridges across cultures and strengthening the community through shared experiences.
We see the power of arts and culture to shatter barriers and build meaningful bridges between people. Our work is to engage and to provoke – to reimagine ourselves, our identities and roles in our community.
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