Bhangra is a type of dance that originates in the Punjab region of Southeast Asia. This style of dance originally developed as part of harvest festivals but has since transformed into a lively dance that is performed at weddings, New Year celebrations, and many other occasions. Bhangra has seen the greatest change in the last 30 years. It has been made famous worldwide through Bollywood movies as well as it's merging with more contemporary music such as hip-hop, house, and reggae.
Bhangra may have origins dating back to 300 B.C.; however, it was in the 14th and 15th century that harvesters began this style of performance in order to pass the time during harvest. It quickly gained popularity and moved up the social ladder. Bhangra today has continued to evolve and the term "Bhangra" encompasses many subclasses of dance. During professional performances, traditional costumes are adorned by both men and women. The men wear a long Punjab-style shirt with a colorful piece of cloth wrapped around their waist and a turbin on their head. Women wear traditional Punjab attire, consisting of long colorful shirts and vibrant pants. They often wear a colorful piece of cloth wrapped around their neck known as a duppatta.
I was first introduced to Bhangra while watching a Bollywood movie entitled "Bride and Prejudice." I was fascinated by the vibrant colors, hand gestures, and body movements that were being performed. It's indeed a very lively form of dancing. I do know some of the basic movements, which I learned from a follow-along TV fitness program. Participating in an actual Bhangra performance, is one of my life-long goals. I can't help but get up and dance what movements I know whenever I hear the Punjab-style music that is often associated with Bhangra.