Monday, May 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Spotlight On: Bhangra Society

Now in its second year, the Bhangra Society at Royal Holloway is forever growing and achieving new commendations. Having won a competition with RBS at the end of last year, receiving a prize of £250 and being invited to perform at an event run by the bank, the society is looking forward to moving forward from this and entering further competitions.

So what is Bhangra? Bhangra is a folk dance that originates from the Punjab and it is steeped in tradition. This includes the clothing and music associated with Bhangra and has led to the development of a culture that goes beyond the dancing. The celebratory nature of this dancing style has resulted in it being very popular at weddings and parties.

This festivity is encouraged by the society at their classes and social events. Classes run once a week on Thursdays from 6pm to 7pm, with an informal dancing session often running for an hour afterwards. In these classes, members learn new moves and routines ready for performances, such as the dance society show in February.

The dancing doesn’t stop when the society go out together. Members often go out to clubs and enjoy music from popular artists of the Bhangra genre, all the while busting a move or two and having a great time. The integration of more modern music and the traditional Bhangra style is something that the society enjoys on their nights out.

Whilst the society focuses on enjoying the tradition of Bhangra, the physical demands of such a high intensity style of dancing means that it can be used as a way to keep fit. There are rarely any times when some part of the body is not moving in time with the music, whether it be just the shoulders or the whole body. However tiring it is though, the upbeat music and party style atmosphere means that it is one of the more entertaining ways to keep active.

One of the biggest competitions in Bhangra is the Bhangra Showdown. This is a competition in which universities enter teams to compete against each other. Last year a group from Royal Holloway attended the show as spectators to appreciate the performances of other universities, Bhangra Society are hoping to repeat this again this year. In the future however, it is hoped that Royal Holloway will be able to enter a team of dancers into the competition.

This year Bhangra has had a lot of interest from new students and their taster classes proved to be very popular. As a society they accept anyone of any previous experience as their classes teach from the very basics through to the more complicated routines. This new intake means that they are hopeful of having a group of dancers ready for entering competitions next year.

Bhangra society are proud to have a welcoming and friendly atmosphere and would encourage anyone who is considering trying this style of dancing to attend one of their classes on Thursday nights. Or, if you want to see more of what the society is about, join them on one of their informal nights out, where everyone can enjoy the traditional music and have a dance.