In midst of 60,000 students, there lives a dance team that brings dhamaka (the Indian word for energetic fun) to the UBC campus and beyond.
Founded in 1994, the Bhangra club has focused on connecting students of the Indian community to their culture through events such as Exhibit India. But this year, they strive to be bigger and better by reaching out to individuals from different communities and backgrounds.
“One of our main focuses this year is to ask other communities from other cultures to come to our show," said Manjeet Takhi, co-president of the club. “We can do a lot and we think UBC is a good way to do that.”
Bhangra and Gidda are the primary folk dances of the Punjab culture, inculcating energy in every step that have been displayed in events such as Imagine day, the Student Leader Conference and the opening of the new UBC Bookstore.
But what makes this dance so attractive on campus? “I think … with our rich culture and rich colour, we give a vibrant performance," said Takhi. "Our dance is so energetic. Anyone can do it. So that’s what our goal is — to incorporate anyone.”
This has been accomplished in several universities throughout North America and UBC strives to be one of them. In universities such as Berkley and Cornell, the dance teams seek out people from all sorts of different cultures and there are several different ethnicities in just one dance team. Although currently a small club, the UBC Bhangra Club have sought out a few girls who weren’t just restricted to the Eastern Indian population.
The co-directors recommend people from all different backgrounds to come and try out bhangra. To familiarize people with the culture and dance, they have held weekly dance lessons in preparation for their end-of-year event. This is to incorporate students to become a part of something bigger.
Exhibit India plans to create a bridge between communities of all sorts and create diversity on campus by sharing different cultures on one platform and creating an atmosphere where as many students as possible can become one.
The Bhangra Club's event, Exhibition India, will be held on January 30 at 6 p.m. at the Massey Theatre.