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Learn bhangra dancing for credit

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Raakhi Sinha, South Asian Arts, 778.883.2429; info@southasianarts.ca
Dixon Tam, PAMR, 778.782.8742; dixon_tam@sfu.ca

September 2, 2010

You saw bhangra dancing performed during the 2010 Winter Olympics and the opening for the recent Canadian Juno Awards. Simon Fraser University students now have the unique opportunity to learn this popular Indian dance form and earn credit for it this fall.

The course, called Popular Dance – Introduction to Modern and Traditional Bhangra, will be available for the first time through SFU’s new School for the Contemporary Arts at Woodward’s.

“This class will appeal to both bhangra enthusiasts and beginners. Students will learn traditional bhangra moves, modern stunts, facial expressions, and lyrical translations,” says instructor Raakhi Sinha. “Bhangra can be very theatrical and always entertaining. Modern bhangra has elements of Bollywood-style dance. The charm of the art form lies in its charisma, facial expressions, and personal style.”

Bhangra is a celebration dance in Punjab that was traditionally performed by farmers during the harvest season. The men took moves they did in the fields and turned them into dance moves. They rejoiced by singing songs about their life, families, and work.

Today, there is a huge competitive bhangra dancing community in the U.S. and Canada. Popular TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars have brought bhangra to primetime audiences, while events like the 2010 Winter Olympics and the Canadian Juno Awards have prominently featured bhangra performances. Vancouver hosts the largest bhangra festival in North America.

The SFU course explores the roots of traditional bhangra and the competitive modern version of the dance in North America. Students will present a final project demonstrating the use of traditional bhangra movements in their own sequences, plus participate in a group performance with the class.

Sinha says bhangra is accessible to everyone because it focuses on large, energetic movements and not complex choreography.

“No experience is necessary – just come with an open heart and we’ll take care of the rest,” says Sinha, who is also artistic director for the South Asian Arts Society. “Oh, and be willing to sweat.”



Comment Guidelines

gurleen randhawa

Can we get more info on this class?


How many times a week and for how long etc etc



Hi, I'd love to take your course, but I'm close to being a senior and probablyl too out of shape for it. Can you tell me of any community organizations where I could learn bhangra at my own speed - more or less B


What is the course number? I do not see it listed in goSFU.

Raakhi Sinha

Hi Everyone!

Thanks for the comments!

The course is FPA 120- introduction to Popular Dance. It runs Monday and Wednesday from 4:30- 6:30pm at the new Woodwards building downtown and runs the entire fall term.

Barbara- you can email info@southasianarts.ca and i'll point you in the right direction :)

Raakhi Sinha

Woops! The time is from 5:30-7:30pm on Monday and Wednesday starting the Sept 8th till Dec 6th.

Mr Burns


I think you mean 5:30-7:20*

on mondays/wednesdays?


i am confused because the course on student info system says it is from 530-720 and raakhi posted 4 30- 5 20?


How many credits do you get taking this class?

Raakhi Sinha

My error!

The class is from 5:30-7:30pm

Sorry for the mistake!


Nicky Gill

Will it be offered in the Spring? It conflicts with my schedule this semester :(


I definitely wanna take this course, but it conflicts with my schedule... =(

Is it gonna be available in the Spring semester at all...???


I definetly want to take this class! But will it be offered again? Because right now I have sceduling conflicts :(


how much does the program cost?


Regarding FPA 120 - Introduction to Contemporary Popular Dance Forms, is bhangra the only form of dance taught? Or does it change per semester?