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BHANGRA AT INDIAN WEDDINGS

Updated: May 1, 2018

Are you a feet tapper or a full on raver? When it comes to Panjabi weddings dancing is key for many events, from the ladies sangeet and pre-wedding party right through to the wedding reception - the 'ronak' starts when everyone is on the dance floor! Last week, at Funjabi Tuition I asked the children to 'show me their bhangra moves!' and instantly hands were raised, shoulders were shrugged and index fingers pointed in the air. Bhangra dancing has been around for centuries and highlights the fun side of Panjabi culture. Today, some of my Funjabi Tuition students have taken charge and are delighted to be interviewing Suki Randhawa of world famous bhangra dance group 4x4, to find out more about the amazing dance of bhangra.



Aman, 5: Is it fun dancing at weddings?

Absolutely! Dancing at weddings is a must. When the music is good, your body starts moving automatically. I can't wait to get onto the dance floor and bust some moves! When I'm dancing with the team it's an amazing buzz when we get a great reaction from the crowd.

Avneet, 7: What's your favourite dance move?

Where do I start! There are so many I love, but I'm going to have to say 'Bhangra' which is named after the dance we do. It's one of those dance steps which is really easy to do. You simply put your hands in the air and jump up and down. It's a move which gives you so much energy and is a great destresser too.

Jaipal, 7: How do you come up with the dance moves?

It all depends on the routine that we want to do. Some routines have over 100 dance moves so it takes a lot of planning. Everyone has an input in the dance moves, not just one person.

Rohan, 7: How long does it take you to learn a new dance routine?

It can take ages! When putting a new routine together we spend months on it, making sure everyone is doing the steps at the same time and in sequence. As a team, we rehearse at least twice a week, sometimes three hours at a time!

Aarun, 6: If there's one football team in the world you could teach bhangra to, who would it be?

I'm not a huge football fan personally, but if I had to choose then it's got to be Manchester United. I've been to Old Trafford a number of times. In particular, the class of 92 - the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes. They are the class I would like to teach bhangra too.

Josh, 10: Do you get nervous on stage or before you perform?

4x4 have been dancing for 27 years now and yes, we do still get nervous. I believe it's good to get nervous though as when you get those butterflies in your tummy, you know you're going to do a good performance. It actually helps me to keep more focused.

Priya, 6: Who chooses the outfits?

It's not a one person decision, it's a team effort. Once a year we plan our design, the colours etc and then I go to India and meet our designer. I always enjoy the shopping part!

Sarvan, 6: What are your favourite colour outfits?

We've had most of the colours out there - blue, red, yellow and green. At the moment we're wearing a pink kit and it's been the most liked bhangra costume we've ever worn. Especially from the ladies - "That pink looks great on you!".

Hari, 8: Which singer/song is your favourite to dance to?

There's loads! If I'm at home in the UK then it's anything by Diljit Dosanjh, Gurdas Mann and Jazzy B. When I'm abroad it has to be Panjabi MC's 'Mundehya toh bachkeh'. That song is so universal, that no matter your background, it gets everyone onto the dance floor.

Jaiden, 6: Who is the most famous person you've danced with?

In the UK bhangra industry/India, we've danced with the likes of Gurdas Mann, Jazzy B, Jassi Sidhu and Hans Raj Hans, some of whom are good friends of our own now. In the mainstream, we've just done a music video with music band, Kasabian - 'you're in love with a psycho'. We have also danced FOR the Queen (note the for and not with!).

Avneet, 6: Can I join a dance group?

Of course you can. If you want to dance bhangra, come along to 4x4 junior dance lessons on Friday evenings in Gravesend, Kent. Joining a dance group is very good for you, whether it's ballet, street dance or bhangra. Dance is a sport which keeps you fit, healthy and helps with confidence.

And finally, for anyone who gets shy or is reluctant to dance at weddings and parties, any advice?

Be yourself! Enjoy it. Sometimes you need a little confidence but once you've done it once or twice, it'll be hard to keep you off the dancefloor. Don't think about anyone else, just enjoy it and be free!

For further information about 4x4 Bhangra Dance Group, follow them on social media @4x4bhangra. You can also follow Suki on twitter @sukirandhawa4x4.

Photo credit: L-R Parmi Kalsi, Mander Suman, Gurdish Sall, Marni Dhinsa, Suki Randhawa and Gurinder Singh

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© 2020 Kiran Lyall

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