Musical Ethnography of the Bhangra Fever VI


Musical Ethnography of the Bhangra Fever VI

The Bhangra Fever VI is a dance competition held on 14February at the Binghamton University. The competition comprised often teams from different regions in America. The Bhangra has itsroots in the Indian culture and is Punjab’s most recognized dance.The competition creates a platform for communicating and spreadingthe Indian culture in an interesting manner. With roots from India,this explains why the audience composition was mainly Indian. Half ofthe individuals attending the competition were of Indian origin,while the other half were from diverse backgrounds. Students fromBinghamton University formed most of the audience.

The dance event differs from performances in the home country. Thisis because the event in a competition unlike in the home countrywhere the dance happens for entertainment during events. The dancecompetition is more interesting and international, as it hasincorporated aspects from different cultures and made modificationsto the dances, which differ from traditional Bhangra dance. Anillustration is the inclusion of Karate movement towards the end ofthe second show by Michign Bhangra. The karate movement involves aman kicking a wooden board. Another disparity derives from the factthat the competition is more interactive with audiences, which makesit appear as small games.

The reactions from audiences are different. The Indian studentsenjoyed the competition more, apparent in their scream and cheers.Contrary, it was not possible for international students tounderstand everything, as individuals unfamiliar with the Indianculture could only understand some movements. When compared to dancesfrom different regions, the Bhangra is exciting, long and tiring. Thedancers are able to dance for longer periods, which make themovements interesting to watch.


The Bhangra initially emerged as a folk dance sang duringharvest time. Despite having moved since 200 years ago, it maintainsthe dance steps that imitate agricultural actions, such as sowing orreaping (England/UK 83). This explains why the dance duringthe competition takes longer when compared to dances from differentcultures. The dancers at the Bhangra Fever VI were able toillustrate the Indian dance culture through their steps. Anotheraspect, which does not go unnoticed all through the dancecompetition, is the loud, as well as playful drum beats. This isbecause the Bhangra dance is characterized by the playing of loud,playful drum (England/UK 84). As a harvest dance, the drumsound is aimed at calling individuals to attend the harvestcelebration dance. The dance is interesting to watch, especiallyduring the competition as the dancers endeavor to entertain andengage audiences. The dance performance happens in the similarmanner, as though the dancers are calling upon harvesters tocelebrate their harvest.

The dance associated more with the Indian culture, which explainswhy most of the students enjoying the dance were Indians. As apparentin the competition, Asian music concentrates on customary Punjabifolk. However, over the years, there has been inclusion of moremodern aspects to the dance like disco. A modern factor incorporatedin the competition is the karate movement. New stars of the Bhangramusic progress to refresh the performance, which explains why thedance currently differs from its traditional form (England/UK88). Over the years, contemporary musicians have changed how thedance is performed to suit the different cultures.

Works Cited

England/UK. Bhangra/Asian Beat: One-way ticket to BritishAsia, 83-89.

Bhangra Fever VI dance competition (Feb 2015).

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