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The student cafeteria was a kaleidoscope of traditional dresses and the lively beat of Bhangra. The Sikh Student Association, in collaboration with the student union, held its annual Bhangra Night.
Bhangra is a popular dance and music genre originating from Punjab. Sophomore Alex Chen described Bhangra music as “energetic” and “very rhythmic.” On May 29, multiple live performances took place including those by Virsa, Habibi Express, EBC, and the Townsend Harris alumni.
Dance competitions followed the choreographed performances in which the girls faced off against the boys. The dance floor was open to all. Senior Sadiqa Taaseen said that “everyone was dancing at one point on the open dance floor.” Kirandeep Kaur stated that along with the dance that Virsa FON performed, the smiles on everybody’s faces when the dance floor was opened were part of the evening’s highlights for her.
Having organized Bhangra Night for the second year in a row, Kirandeep described the planning saying, ”I spent most most of my free bands trying to advertise and organize Bhangra Night. The biggest struggle was to predict the number of guests so that we would be able to order enough food.” The food provided included mango shakes, bread pakoras, aloo tikkis, and snow cones. Kirandeep voiced her concern “about students actually attending the event.” Sadiqa validated this concern by saying she knows “that a lot of people who bought tickets but didn’t show up.” Many people may have bought tickets to help the cause of Bhangra Night, since all the proceeds went towards helping Nepal recuperate from its calamitous April 2015 earthquake.
To promote the event, “flashmobs,” or 20 second mini dances, were held during lunch bands. The participants in the “flashmobs” were of different ethnicities to convey the idea that everyone attending Bhangra Night will feel comfortable and well received upon arrival. Sophomore Jin Li attended Bhangra Night and said that she didn’t feel excluded and was invited by some of her friends who were part of the Sikh Student Association.
When questioned about this year’s Bhangra Night, Jagjot Singh, one of next year’s Sikh Student Association’s leaders, pronounced that it was “successful” and “fun.” He said that both him and Amrinderjit, his co-leader, plan to include “more performances from outside groups next year to improve the event.”
In finis, Bhangra Night supplied the student body the opportunity to experience a new culture together in a unique manner.