Ghungroo Dance Academy
NATIONAL/ETHNIC IDENTITY: Punjab, North India
The earthy, bold and vibrant Indian folk dance known as bhangra has taken on new life and meaning over the last twenty years. With a driving beat, steps done low to the ground, shoulder and arm movements thrusting to the earth, bhangra was originally a harvest dance accompanied by a simple drum and flute danced by the people of Punjab in northern India. In the late 1980s, Indian deejays living in the UK began to mix the more authentic beats with hip-hop and other popular Western music. The sound caught on like wildfire amongst the large population of Indian immigrant and second-generation youth residing in the UK. Thus began a kind of "Bhangra revolution" that has since crossed several oceans to meet the vast Indian communities in the US, Canada, East Africa, and resurfacing back to its homeland in India.
The Nu Bhangra, as it has come to be known, is typically danced at festivals, clubs, weddings and other social gatherings. In the US, it is a way for Indo-Americans to connect to their heritage and to their sense of community. Yet bhangra's contagious and joyful spirit has extended well beyond the Indian communities. For example, many US universities have bhangra clubs that partake in national bhangra competitions. The form was also one of several dances chosen to be included in the prestigious public television documentary, Dancing, which came out in the mid 1990s.
Rani and Kaka Bhatia began Ghungroo Dance Company in 1992 specifically to pass on the traditional and popular forms of bhangra.
PIECE: TRIBUTE TO FOLK
Here on the Festival stage, Ghungroo offers a loving tribute to the late Punjabi singer Surjit Singh Bindrakhya. This young yet legendary singer passed away unexpectedly late last year after a prolific career making some 32 albums. Ghungroo performs to a compilation of some of Bindrakhya's greatest hit songs. They showcase the colorful harvest dance that celebrates the land and the bravery of the Punjabi people.