If you don’t know what Bhangra is, it is an expressive dance form hailing from the Punjab region of South Asia. Traditionally, this dance form was an expression of gratitude towards nature and the seasonal cycle for bringing forth a fruitful harvest season. Now, bhangra is an art form that promotes more than just physical fitness and connects Punjabi youth to their culture (a noble yet big, hairy, audacious task in and of itself). It also creates future leaders.
Keep reading on to learn five ways Hardeep Singh Sahota’s Royal Academy of Bhangra is creating the future of youth leadership in Surrey B.C:
- Bhangra teaches team building
It is not unusual to see the dance form of bhangra be performed by a group of people. In fact, bhangra was originally performed by groups of people in a circle formation – like many other traditional and tribal dances found throughout the world. As such, synchronicity and coordination among dancing members is essential to performing the dance.
Because Bhangra is essentially a team sport, it requires the same skills any competitive team sport would: patience, coordination, synchronicity, time management, and arguably, most importantly, good sportsmanship.
- Bhangra builds the quality of leadership
Building off of the first point, team building is an essential characteristic of good leadership. Team building is not an easy task. It requires strong communication skills, as well as empathy, understanding and the ability to work together effectively to achieve a common goal.
Bhangra builds the quality of leadership because it requires teammates to communicate with each other during the experiences of practicing and performing. Many times, dance partners and teams utilise non-verbal communication during practices, on stage, and during bhangra competitions in order to stay in sync with one another and keep each other energised during their performances.
Bhangra builds these skills among youth, ultimately allowing future leaders to explore safely, and thrive in one another’s company.
- Bhangra promotes physical fitness
Bhangra, like many high intensity dance forms, promotes good cardiovascular health. Many dance moves within the art form are stoic and require often boxy, weighted, deliberate movements. Additionally, dance moves range greatly and many include complex positioning of the physical body such as jumping, squatting, pushing forward, and in the case of stunts, quite literal acrobats at a high frequency and intensity over the course of 10-15 minutes.
What does this mean? Agility, hand eye coordination, muscular strength, and motor fitness are essential in performing bhangra competitively within a team or while learning a new routine in a class. Overall, this promotes the physical fitness of bhangra lovers because of how physically demanding it is on the body.
- Bhangra requires discipline
We already established the intensity of bhangra routines, as well as the duration of performances. In order for a pupil to be able to perform well in class, discipline is essential. Without it, one would simply not be able to keep up with the routine nor the beat.
Additionally, focus is important in order to learn, understand and memorise the sequence of dance moves within a routine. In these situations, self-control and pacing oneself energetically are also important in order to complete a routine successfully. As such, the dance form of bhangra promotes discipline within its enthusiasts and students by fostering skills that require discipline in order to successfully engage with bhangra and complete a routine successfully.
- Bhangra encourages and nurtures creativity, which is essential to the success of young people
Creativity is essential to the holistic nurturing of young minds and young bodies. Creative outlets allow youth to take a breather from the pressures of life and the growing pains that come with it, such as doing well in school, peer pressure, social responsibility among other growing concerns they have on their plate.
Research data indicates that engaging in creative outlets such as dance promote the following benefits within youth:
- A positive pathways to channel, process, and understand complex thoughts & emotions
- Encourage curiosity
- Build problem solving skills
- Increase ambition and motivation to achieve goals
- Reduce stress (and in turn, increase happiness levels)
- Do better in school!
All in all, bhangra is a positive activity for youth to engage in, and its many benefits do not exclude positivity on the individual level.