With our highly anticipated winter event, TransFusion, coming up in less than a month, you’re probably wondering: “What’s all this commotion around bhangra fusion? Is this just another catchy tag line to describe a bhangra performance?” Believe it or not, much of the music we hear and bhangra dance we see these days is in some way fused with modern dance forms connected to earlier forms of folk bhangra. Check out the interesting discovery I made as I looked further into this concept of fusion…
If we get down to the literal meaning of fusion, it’s defined as “the process of joining two or more things to form a single entity.” From there, take a look at the definition of bhangra; according to Dictionary.com, bhangra is “a type of popular dance music combining Punjabi folk traditions with Western pop music, fusing traditional drum–based music with elements of reggae, ragga, hip-hop, rock, soul, and dance.”
The definition itself describes fusing other Western music with folk dance! Once known as a dance performed only during harvest time in Punjab, bhangra has evolved into a modern day art form so versatile it can be incorporated—in other words, transfused—into almost any other form of music and dance.
For me, the most admirable thing about fused dance is the way it captivates the viewer. I remember my first time as a spectator of VIBC’s TransFusion: all I could remember was how intriguing it was seeing so many different dance forms mixed with folk bhangra. That one performance highlighted VIBC’s vision of using the power of art and culture to shatter barriers and build meaningful bridges between people.
If we want communities to engage and connect with each other, I believe the greatest way of doing this is through culture. Culture is one of the artistic ways people differentiate themselves, and to fuse those unique differences to create a captivating masterpiece is extraordinary. Not only does it make people proud of their heritage but also allows us to be part of something bigger—an all-inclusive community that celebrates together.
Be sure to participate in this year’s TransFusion event as we introduce African dance, tap, flamenco, contemporary, and hip-hop in fusion with bhangra. I promise it’ll be an experience you won’t easily forget!
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Blog by Suman Lally. Photo by Joe Carlson: Delhi2Dublin’s Ravi Binning & Serena Eades, Dhol and Violin Fusion, City of Bhangra Festival 2015.