By: Simran Randhawa
Canada is known for being a land of immigrants, and along with that comes multiculturalism and diversity. As clearly as anywhere else in this country, we see this at SFU. SFU Bhangra is one club that helps students stay in touch with their culture through its own brand of musical athleticism.
Bhangra is a traditional dance form originating from Punjab, in northwestern India and northeastern Pakistan, and it came about as a way of celebrating the harvest season. Traditionally, Bhangra was performed by all-male groups in conjunction with a separate dance form called Giddha, which was performed by all-female groups.
The Bhangra club at SFU involves people of all genders and identities as members in their dance troop. The club is attempting to take on the traditional version of this dance form and add modern values to it. Members perform dance steps on upbeat music, and all in all, they create a friendly, uplifting vibe.
In the past, the club has performed in various events and are now hoping to compete in competitions. They are open to be booked for performances, and if you want to see an amazing Punjabi dance performance, this might be the way to go.
Whether this is your first time shaking your boots or you’ve been dancing since your first steps, this club has a place for you. The club meets every Tuesday at SFU Surrey campus. To be a member, you do not need prior experience; members of the executive team themselves will teach you how to dance and perform with you.
Aside from being a place to dance, this club is a community in itself. The executive team hopes to maintain a safe space of sorts, bringing people together for their love of cool dance moves and fun workouts and keeping them there because of the bonds they make. You know what they say: “If you sweat together, you stay together.”
Upon attending their icebreaker on September 25, I was taken aback by the number of people interested in SFU Bhangra. They had good pizza and great music, which was a blend of songs from three languages: English, Hindi, and, of course, Punjabi.
They played a few games to welcome new members. They started with the age-old game of musical chairs, and they topped it off with a game which was more of a workout than I personally liked (or expected!), but which was a lot of fun regardless. In this particular game, you got on your toes and crouched down to a squatting position. You had to stay in that position while simultaneously trying to push other people off their toes. The last one crouching wins the game.
These two games really put everyone at ease and tore down the silent demeanour which we all usually develop after even a week of classes. They really created a welcoming environment where people would feel confident enough to try out a new dance form.
We could all use some dance in our life, especially when it helps us spend some quality time with others. This can be hard for students with ever-changing schedules, especially in the fall, which is when many folks are just getting started at SFU. In lonely places like this, it is always a beneficial experience to have a place to unwind in, work up some sweat, release endorphins, and just dance. The Bhangra club is exactly that opportunity — not to mention the delicious pizzas.