Gather around, my friends, for I have a story to tell, a story of happiness and laughter, tears and suffering. This story is about the UR Bhangra team.

First, allow me to correct something: the only tears shed are my tears of jealously at my inability to move with the slightest of grace, while the members of the Bhangra team move their bodies in ways I never knew were possible and to this day still question.

I know very little about dance and perhaps even less about the Punjab region of India, the birthplace of Bhangra. However, I do know that every time I watch a Bhangra performance, I become as excited as a 12-year-old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.

But there is certainly reason for me and everyone else in the audience to get so excited. ‘Bhangra is a dance of passionate times and happiness,” captain and junior Krishna Upadhyaya said. Upadhyaya was more than helpful in explaining what Bhangra was all about. This seems true of all the Bhangra performances I’ve been to: the crowd is excited, the dancers are excited and the mood is very high. The performers come out and, from that point forward, it’s basically a party.

If you have never been to a Bhangra show, I’ll let you in on a secret: they dance to music. This music is hard to describe, but, luckily, something known as the Internet was invented by Al Gore, so you can probably find some music there. If for some reason you don’t know how to use the Internet perhaps because you are John McCain I’ll do my best to explain it. It’s a merge of new and old, a combination of modern dance beats with the traditional Dhol drum. The music itself is so high-energy that it really is difficult to stand still while listening to it.

Music isn’t the only thing to be heard at the shows, though. If you listen closely, or just read the back of someone’s Bhangra T-shirt, you will hear the phrases, ‘Hoi! Hoi!” ‘Brrrruaaaaah!” or ‘Chak de!” The first two are simply exclamations that can’t be translated, while ‘Chak de!” means ‘Let’s go!” They are all sorts of rally calls and ways for the performers to pronounce their passion while showing it through dance.

In order to write this article, I had to find a time to actually watch and talk with some of the people on the team. My opportunity came Monday night during their auditions. Not only did I get to talk to some people about Bhangra and its origins and see a small bit of a dance, but I also got to see why the performers themselves liked it.

I saw that just about every member of the team was engrossed in the music, bobbing their heads along with the beat or just silently mouthing the words of the song. While it may be embarrassing for me to get caught singing Amy Winehouse to myself, the Bhangra performers sing out of sheer passion and love for their activity.

When I did get the chance to talk to some of the members, they all had slightly different reasons for why they danced. One performer did it for the fun of dancing. Another did it to satisfy her exhibitionist side, as she loves to perform. One of the people auditioning said she was doing it so she could learn to dance with her boyfriend, because he made it look so fun.

Perhaps the most conversation I got was from junior Alex Perry. He dances because he is getting ‘in touch with [his] Indian roots.” He shared something that has been a theme of sorts throughout this article: ‘It’s a fun team…[It’s] a bunch of fun people who can dance really well.”

So, friends, that is the story of UR Bhangra as I see it. It’s just a simple story of some people wanting to have fun and give audience members something to remember, and with their mind-numbingly elaborate choreography and, well, what’s not to love about that? Hoi! Hoi!

Bierasinski is a member of the class of 2010.



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