The Bhangra Evolution

Ever listened to Bhangra music? It’s a challenge to keep yourself still. The infectious rhythm of the dhol crosses all cultures, ages and backgrounds. It’s a diverse style which can be blended with many different genres. Add Bhangra to anything and it’s instantly better.

This humble folk dance has come a long way from a festive farming tradition. Originally performed during harvesting season in Punjab, Bhangra started gaining popularity in other parts of India and Pakistan in the 1950’s and 60’s. No longer just a dance for farmers, Bhangra became a regular part of wedding festivities, birthdays and celebrations.

It didn’t take long for Bollywood to cash in on the mainstream appeal of Bhangra. Music and dance sequences started incorporating aspects of Bhangra. It was a winning formula. Just look at the huge success of songs such as Kala Chashma and Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan in recent times. Studio J started Bolly-Bhangra classes in 2018 with Joshinder, and our students love it! Check out their recent student video:

With the South Asian community growing worldwide, Bhangra began popping up in other parts of the globe, and most notably in the UK. Bhangra music became heavily influenced by western sounds, as well as reggae, rap, and hip-hop music genres. Lyrics also moved increasingly to a mix of Punjabi and English, making the music more appealing to an international market. Inevitably, the evolution of Bhangra music has impacted the dance form itself. Elements of western, urban and hip-hop can often be seen combined with traditional Bhangra steps.

Bhangra – the best folk dance to ever exist? Try it out and decide for yourself.

For all queries and enrolments for next term, please contact Studio J Dance.

Jaya Karan
Originally posted 21 July 2017, updated 26 March 2019

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