Bhangra dance is an energetic folk dance and music form from Punjab, India. Bhangra is an amalgamation of various folk dances from all over Punjab, many of which can be traced back to before the term Bhangra was coined in the late 1800s. Sammi, Jhummar, Luddi, Giddha, Dhamaal, Sialkot, and many other dances are among them.
Bhangra, an energetic Punjabi dance, began with Punjab farmers as a cultural and communal celebration; its modern evolution has allowed bhangra to retain its traditional Indian roots while broadening its reach to include integration into popular music and DJing, group-based competitions, and even exercise and dance programs in schools and studios.
Bhangra was originally a Punjabi farmer’s dance. People used to attend cultural festivals while dancing bhangra after harvesting their wheat crop during the Vaisakhi season, or Khalsa day. The main occasions for bhangra dancing were Vaisakhi festivals. Farmers, on the other hand, performed this dance while performing agricultural chores. Many of the most popular bhangra moves have their roots in specific farming activities. For example, when farmers needed to pick something from one location and move it to another, they devised a bhangra move to make the task more enjoyable. Pick and place or pick and let it go is a bhangra move.
People sing Punjabi Boliyaan lyrics and at least one person plays the dhol drum during Bhangra. The dancers form a circle around the drummer, who occasionally lifts the two sticks with which he beats the drum to encourage the dancers to move at a faster pace.
Bhangra was originally a male-only dance. However, as time passed, women began to participate as well, and it is now a gender-neutral art form. It is prevalent in Sikh and Punjabi culture, weddings, parties, and other types of celebrations. Bhangra has progressed from farming and villages to large cities and modern life.
The Bhangra is said to have originated in the 14th or 15th centuries by Punjabi farmers to celebrate the harvest season. With the passage of time, the Bhangra came to be used in almost all major celebrations in Punjab, such as weddings and festivals. The Bhangra is performed to the beat of a drum called the dhol.
Around the late 1800s, the first mentions of Bhangra as a dance entity appear in historical records. The current style and form of Bhangra emerged in the 1940s and have evolved since then. It began as a folk dance performed during the harvest season. Bhangra is traditionally performed to the dhol, a large drum, and boliyan, which are short sets of lyrics that describe scenes or stories from Punjab. The most common themes in these lyrics are love, patriotism, strength, and celebration.
With so much evolution in such a short period of time, controversy has frequently erupted on the Bhangra circuit. Some believe the dance’s boundaries have been pushed too far and advocate for dancers to return the dance to its more traditional roots.
Others believe that because Bhangra dance has changed so much throughout its history, it should be allowed to evolve naturally and without restriction. There is a lot of grey area in this debate, but the end result is a rich diversity in Bhangra all over the world. Many competitions cater to specific styles, and teams take pride in their individual style, whether they consider themselves modern, traditional, in between, or neither.
However, regardless of style, all Bhangra dancers agree that Bhangra is a dance of strength, power, energy, and grace. In the midst of the self-discipline required to complete a full routine, a sense of complete freedom and passion emerges, encouraging the circuit to evolve and thrive.
Bhangra dancers can be identified by their dresses in a single glance. Not only that, but both male and female bhangra dancers wear different, one-of-a-kind, and colorful outfits for their performances.
The pag must be tied before each performance and is not pre-made like a hat. When tying a pag, most dancers require assistance. The Pag is without a doubt the most important part of a man’s attire. The way it is tied distinguishes it from a standard Sikh turban. The Pag style is more akin to the headdress of the Jatt community in rural Punjab.The turla is typically made from one end of a heavily starched pag. Dancers can also wear a chunni around their waist and juttis on their feet. They do, however, prefer to dance barefoot.
Women’s dupattas are usually draped over their heads and fastened to their dresses with safety pins to prevent them from falling during the performance. The parandha is woven into the braid, and the women prefer long parandhas. When wearing a Salwar Kameez, the kameez is usually a different colour than the dupatta and salwar. When performing the dance, they also like to adorn themselves with a lot of jewellery.
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The dresses that are worn during a Bhangra performance are very bright, bold and colorful to symbolize the joyful and celebratory nature of the occasion. Since there is a lot of movement associated with this dance form, it is very important that the dresses allow the dancers to move freely.
This is why the dancers’ clothing is loose-fitting to ensure that body movement isn’t constricted. Bright shades generally mean different things. For example, Yellow is used to symbolize sarson or mustard, green symbolizes prosperity and red/saffron symbolizes the auspicious occasion itself.
Bhangra has spread throughout the world thanks to the large Punjabi diaspora. It has now become popular enough that Bhangra influences can be heard in Western pop/hip-hop music. Bhangra music grew in popularity in the United Kingdom. Its large Punjabi population was the first to mix traditional Bhangra rhythms with Western music. Bhangra music and Punjabi culture became popular in Bollywood films as well, particularly during celebratory scenes.