Spring 2024 - CA 120 E100

Introduction to Dance Forms: Contemporary and Popular (3)


Class Number: 6330

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, Thu, 5:30–7:20 p.m.



A studio course devoted to the development of movement skills through specific styles of dance. The content of the course changes every term including techniques in Bhangra, Afro-Caribbian, Hip Hop and Contemporary. May repeat for credit. May be of particular interest to students in other departments.


This course provides an introduction to the popular Indian dance form, Bhangra. Students will learn and perform modern and traditional choreography to Punjabi music. The class will learn a corpus of movements that Bhangra improvisation and choreography are based upon. Emphasis will be on North American style modern Bhangra, trends, variations, charisma,
facial expression and lyrical dance. Students will present projects that demonstrate the use of traditional and modern Bhangra movements in their own sequences and participate in a large group performance with the class.

Bhangra (pron. Pung-rah) is a lively form of folk music and dance that originates from the northern Indian state of Punjab. People traditionally performed Bhangra when celebrating the end of the harvesting season, which is also known as Vaisakhi. Vaisakhi, which also marks the birth of Sikhism, is an mportant celebration in Punjab. While performing Bhangra, people sing Punjabi Boliyan (poetic lyrics), with at least one person playing the Dhol drum and others possibly playing the Alghoza, Tumbi, Chimta, Dholak or other musical instruments. While Bhangra began as a part of the harvest festival celebrations, it eventually became a part of such diverse occasions as weddings, birthdays and all types of celebrations. Moreover, during the last thirty years, Bhangra has enjoyed a surge in popularity worldwide, both in traditional form and as a fusion with genres such as hip-hop, house, and reggae. As Bhangra continues to move into mainstream culture, an understanding of its history and tradition helps to appreciate it.It is believed that Bhangra originated in the 1400s. Primarily men performed Bhangra, while he ladies performed their own fierce, yet elegant folk dance called Giddha. The men wore the turban, lungi (long cloth wrapped around the waist), and kurta (traditional long Indian shirt). While performing Giddha, women wore the salwaar kameez (a long colorful shirt accompanied with baggy style pants) accompanied by their bright colored duppattas (scarf- like cloth wrapped around the neck). These days, due to the heavy Punjabi influence worldwide, Bhangra has evolved from a dance and music only performed in the Punjab region to a popular style of music and dance that is performed in all parts of the world. People of non-Punjabi background are listening to and performing Bhangra. Universities and other organizations are holding annual Bhangra dance competitions in many of the main cities of the United States, Canada, and England. At these competitions, people from different South Asian backgrounds and people with no South Asian background all compete together for the top prize and bragging rights as the "Bhangra Champion." Influences of Bhangra music can also be found in the music produced by many western artists, such as Britney Spears, Timbaland, Missy Eliot, Nelly Furtado, Dr. Dre, and many more.


  • Contribution to In-Class Activities: This involves active participation in every class and a willingness to explore movement fully, intelligent risk-taking, being open to a new approach and feedback, application of individual/group corrections, self motivation, focus and concentration, paying careful attention to one’s own body work and thoughtful, supportive group awareness. 10%
  • Technique Demonstrations: Overall balanced coordination, correct body alignment, movement range, strength, clarity, precision, movement range/flow/freedom, musicality, and ability to execute specific contemporary dance movements and combinations. 20%
  • Overall Improvement/Progress: Includes anatomically correct alignment, integrated whole body use, overall coordination, movement ease, range, efficiency, flow, clarity, strength, precision, and overall technical mastery. Practicing and thinking through class material outside of class time is necessary. 20%
  • Choreography Assignments & Quizzes: Choreograph and perform TWO short Bhangra dance compositions individually and possibly in small groups, using movements and techniques learned in class. There will also be TWO quizzes, which consist of identifying the elements of Bhangra theory taught throughout the semester. 30%
  • Final Group Performance: The entire class will be taught approximately 2-2.5 minutes of choreography using traditional Bhangra movements, modern elements, stunts, and expression. To be performed during the final class. 15%
  • Final Written Exam: Consists of identifying the elements of Bhangra theory taught throughout the entire semester. 5%


Students are advised that grades in studio courses are based on participation, progress, potential, and proper execution of the dance moves and choreography that are taught,
including successful completion of class assignments. Grades are determined primarily by the instructor's observation of in-class work during the entire semester, therefore class
attendance is crucial and mandatory and will unavoidably affect final grades. The instructor will advise each student of his/her level of performance at the end of the semester
and be available to advise at any other time upon request. More precise grading information will be announced during the first week of classes.

Missing more than 5 classes in the semester could result in a failing grade!



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html