What is South Asian dance?


A guide to Bhangra

Bhangra refers to several types of dance originating from the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent and it is a celebratory folk dance which welcomes the coming of spring, or Vaisakhi, as it is known. Bhangra dance is based on music from a dhol, folk singing, and the chimta. The accompanying songs are small couplets written in the Punjabi language called bolis. The dancers move with passion and use lots of energy. The dance rhythm is set by the dhols. Bhangra is often danced in circles and uses a lot of arm and shoulder movement.

Some dances use sticks and swords. Other dances use stunts such as a dancer sitting on someone’s shoulders, while another person hangs from his torso by his legs.

group of South Asian dancers in ornate clothing
Bhangra. Photo courtesy of WikiCommons

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