Bhangra, a popular style of folk dancing that originates in the Punjab region of India, will be offered as a course at Kwantlen Polytechnic University come September.
The course will be the first of its kind in Vancouver, and will teach students about Punjabi culture through dance.
“With [the dancing] will be a bit of historical knowledge sprinkled in throughout the semester as well,” bhangra instructor Gurpreet Sian tells Daily Hive. “The focus is that it’s a dance-based course.”
Students will be expected to choreograph their own dance pieces and there will be guest lecturers to demonstrate different aspects of bhangra. Costumes, instruments, and props will be introduced to students so they get a true feel of what’s involved in bhangra dancing.
“It’s very similar to hip-hop and how that involves different elements,” Sian says. “There’s the DJ, the rapping, the breakdancing, the knowledge, the culture – bhangra is very similar in that sense, especially with the competitive scene.”
Sian says there are bhangra competitions and events all over the world, and he has participated in many himself, including at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
“We really want to expose the students to the entire culture of bhangra as it is here in North America and how it’s evolved over the years. A really immersive experience as opposed to just lecturing,” he says.
The introductory course will be offered under the faculty of arts at KPU and is taught by Sian and Rayman Bhuller. Sian adds that it’s suitable for beginners who have never danced bhangra before.