In July, Royal Academy of Punjab’s founder and General Manager, Hardeep Singh Sahota travelled to Athens Greece for the 58th World Congress of Dance Research, where he facilitated a workshop titled, ‘Bhangra: Mystics, Music and Migration’ to the world’s most influential and acclaimed dance professionals.
Here, important knowledge keepers of global dance forms were exposed to the intricacies of the dance form as well as their deep historical and cultural roots - all stemming from across South Asia. This epic moment allowed for Punjabi Folk Art to take centre stage in the global conversation, alongside mainstream dance forms like ballet, kathak, and salsa, as well as modern, contemporary dance forms emerging from technology, such as kinetics and theatrics.
The 58th World Congress of Dance Research is the world’s oldest dance forum. Produced by the International Dance Council, this forum brings together dance specialists from over 40 countries around the world. Annually, over 300 international dancers, world dance leaders, and dance knowledge keepers attend the event to lead and participate in workshops, research, studies, exhibitions and performances.
As Punjabi’s and artists fight for survival and their rights to expression, this intercultural dialogue shattered social barriers between the Punjabi Folk Art form and mainstream dance forms that have been centre stage for decades. Through this engagement, Hardeep’s participation in the Congress of Dance Research as a knowledge keeper seeking to elevate the platforms of Punjabi Folk Art not only disrupted the norm, but created a safe space for a global community of dancers to explore Punjabi culture and meaningfully engage with Punjabi Folk Art.
“As artists and cultural knowledge keepers, we are very honoured to be able to attend these conferences and present Punjabi Folk Art as the robust, rich and dynamic art form that it is. The opportunities for learning and sharing, for creating and pushing boundaries, while at the same time researching and preserving our art form is important. We are in a very unique space to do all this, and we are looking forward to continuing to lead the way.” – Hardeep Singh Sahota