Bhangra: A New Style of Dance

By The Spiritual Explorer | Published 22 October, 2016

Have you had your Bhangra dance workout yet? Well, I discovered Bhangra dancing when Sat Pavan Kaur Khalsa, cousin of one of our community residents, came to stay with us for a while in the last few months.


Sat Pavan Kaur

Bhangra was created hundreds of years ago in the region of Punjab in India. It is the traditional music and dance which is used to celebrate the coming of spring and Vaisakhi (a Sikh festival which celebrates the harvest season). Get your dancing shoes on, because this is a high-energy music and dance from the heartlands of Punjab in northern India. This lively village sound has now fused with modern music genres like hop and reggae to gain popularity worldwide.

Bhangra reminiscent of Krishna Das’ compilations

Bhangra is reminiscent of what Krishna Das has done with his sacred Indian music sung at the feet of is guru Baba Neem Karoli many decades ago. He has contemporized many of the sounds of Indian spiritual kirtan. By doing this, he has made it easily sound harmonious and wildly popular to western ears.

Sat Pavan Kaur learned Bhangra in India as a youth and began teaching and performing professionally at the age of 17. She performs in Mexico, India, England, Canada and the U.S. Excitement is reaching a high pitch welcoming her to Kashi Ashram October 28-30 at our Diwali retreat. We have a chance to view this spirited and spiritual dance.

Watching this lithe woman perform both intricate and simple moves of dance, you witness high energy and the enthusiasm she emits. You cannot help but want to join in these movements which are both complex and yet simply rendered.

What to wear when dancing Bhangra

Women dancing modern Bhangra wear a traditional Punjabi dress known as a salwarkameez—long baggy pants tied at the ankle with a long colorful shirt. It is also customary that women adorn their outfits with colorful pieces of cloth wrapped around the neck. They are rich and vibrant colors of their native land of Punjab.

Other dress might include a turban tied differently from the traditional turban one sees Sikhs wearing in the street. You tie the turban before each show.

A kurt, a loose hanging Indian shirt, similar to a silk shirt, may be worn very loosely with embroidered attars. Finally, you tie a very decorated loincloth around the dancer’s waist,

Optional wear might be the chagi, a waistcoat with no buttons.

Invitation extended to Sat Pavan Kaur to do more Bhangra at Kashi

Sat Pavan Kaur has performed at Kashi in the past. It is great to see both old and young alike picking up the sounds so easily with great abandon. She is truly graceful and exciting to watch as she performs this lively ceremonial dance. We hope she comes more often to grace us with her enthusiasm and verve. See you soon, Sat Pavan Kaur!

If you have a question about “Bhangra,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer.

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