Anyone who has spent a week or two on campus can safely assure any foreign readers of the popularity of Bhangra, the Southeast Asian dance. Synonymous with the pride of Punjab, it started out on campus in 1998 with an aim to represent the vibrant and unparalleled Punjabi way of life some 7,000 miles west of its birthplace.

As the club expands, so does it leadership.

“Most people join the team with no prior Bhangra experience, many with no dance experience at all,” Rebecca, Nikhil, and Brian, captains of the Bhangra team, said in an email. “This is why our captains and our eE-bBoard are committed to investing a lot of time in our new dancers.”

With leadership so dedicated to their art, it’s no wonder that the group dominates its competitions. Ever energetic, with their feet thumping on the ground in holy matrimony, the beats of their hearts syncs with each other and the music.

The team leadership has also gone through a series of changes.

“Most recently, we expanded our executive board and enacted new positions to better cater to a growing and dynamic team,” the captains said. “We elected a third captain, a cultural chair, and expanded efforts to reach out to our newer and developing members/dancers.”

“A big focus these past couple years has been ‘sustainability,’ and above all else we want to enact policies that drive engagement and help our team compete at this high level for future years,” they added.

No doubt the recent alterations in the management of the team have helped UR Bhangra achieve their goal.

But the e-board can’t take all the credit. After going through a grueling three-step callback process, only the most Punjabi of them all make it onto the team. Practicing for almost 10 hours a week, they beat upon their craft day after day, perfecting move after move. And their efforts do indeed pay off.

The UR Bhangra team ranked first at the Dancers for Difference competition at the University of Connecticut, as well as the Taste of India competition in Norfolk, VA last semester. They have also successfully qualified for several prestigious competitions elsewhere in the U.S. and in Canada.

Lack of sustainable funding has been a recurring issue for the team, according to its captains.

“Essentially, due to our exclusive nature, we aren’t given direct funding or a budget,” the captains said. “When competitions arise, we must apply for supplemental funding and can only apply twice per year, despite our growing number of competitions per year.”

Despite these difficulties, the captains look ahead earnestly.

“Money is always a challenge, but we are optimistic that, now and in the future, we’ll be able to work with the administration to continue to grow.”

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