Bhangra 101: Where to perfect your bhangra moves in Vancouver

Question: How do you prepare your best friend’s upcoming Indian wedding?

Answers: grab a great outfit that’s equal parts loose-fitting, colourful and decked with bling, get ready to eat, a lot (see loose-fitting clothing above), and attend the HSBC City of Bhangra Festival for wedding reception dance floor inspiration.  

Starting May 30, bhangra will reverberate through downtown Vancouver for 10 beat-filled days at the HSBC City of Bhangra Festival. The annual spring gathering attracts Punjabi folk music and dance groups from as far as Pennsylvania, California and Finland. Rocking the stage at this year’s free event, Downtown Bhangra, local favourites like the UBC Bhangra Team, Vancity Boys Bhangra, Shan-E-Punjab Arts Club, South Asian Arts and the HSBC Bhangra Team are guaranteed to make a few toes tap and hips sway.

Whether you’re rhythmically challenged (like me) or a wannabe Rheka, Vancouver has a pretty great selection of bhangra and Bollywood classes that may just put you on stage at next year’s festival. Or, in my case, rock the reception dancefloor at my bestie’s August nuptials.  

Shan-E-Punjab Arts Club – this Fraser Street dance and cultural club was founded in April 2007 by a group of passionate bhangra and giddha devotees.  Their dance team will also be performing at this year’s HSBC City of Bhangra.

YWCA, Harbour Dance Centre or iDance Studios all offer weekly continuous or drop-in Bollywood dance classes sure that appeal to folks who want to learn bhangra, Bollywood and jazz dance moves combined. 

 Vancouver Westside Indian Cultural Centre – for the wee bhangra dancers in your life, the VWICC offers classes for seven to 10 year-olds. 

South Asian Arts – offering bhangra, gidha and khatak classes for an array of age levels and skill levels (beginner to competitive), South Asian Arts holds classes in both Surrey and Vancouver.

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