On the 7th of March, Sydney saw the beginning of a new era; the start of the Australian Bhangra circuit. Harbour City Bhangra 2015, organised by The Bhangra Project. Harbour City Bhangra 2015 was a Bhangra Competition held at Riverside Theatre Parramatta and entertained a sold out show of over 700 people. There were 7 teams that participated, with one team travelling up all the way from Melbourne, and another from Canberra.
‘The Bhangra Project’ is the initiative of a group of 9 Punjabi youth, who have been brought up in Australia and have kept a strong sense of pride with their mother country. They felt that there was a lack of platform for those who have a passion for the cultural art form Bhangra, and thus set upon a mission to provide a fair and enjoyable platform for performers and a way for the youth to appreciate and connect to their cultural heritage. Their first event was held last year in August, “Bhangra Knockout” and was aimed at mainly high school and university students. With a turnout of over 400 youth, the event was a HUGE success among the Indian youth and they can’t wait for the next one!
Following this, they started their preparation for an international standard Competition, with the Aussie touch. For the judging of ‘Harbour City’ they brought down Danny Singh, a renowned Bhangra dancer and judge from the USA. He was a part of Anakh Punjabi Di and has judged esteemed competitions like World’s Best Bhangra Crew and Warrior Bhangra. And for their second judge, they invited Kuldeep Singh from the Melbourne Singh Sabha group. This was all done to ensure fairness and because both judges have a very large amount of knowledge in Bhangra.
The competition has garnered a vast sum of appreciation from all members of the community and people of every age enjoyed what these young people managed to put together. They catered for youngsters and families by having two sets of MC’s (one majority English and the other Punjabi). More notably Preetinder Grewal from Melbourne.
And most importantly, the calibre of performances was something Sydney has never seen before. Not one team failed to impress. Every single competitor brought to the stage their own flare and creativity, not to mention the high level of energy and ‘nakhra’ that was present! Whether it was dancing to old school tunes like ‘Makhna’ or ‘Nit Khair Manga’ or clever gimmicks such as climbing stairs made by ‘daangs’, each team had something different and amazing to deliver.
In order of placing, Sydney’s very own Ministry of Bhangra (MOB) took out first place, creating history with the first 22 man bhangra on stage in Australia. Newly formed girls’ team Haneri Punjab Di (HPD) graced second place with the vast amount of energy and sync they brought to the stage. And Legit Bhangra Crew highly commended for their technique and use of innovative gimmicks won third place. Other teams who performed equally well on the night and entertained the crowd of 700+ from Sydney include Pure Bhangra Australia, Melbourne Bhangra Regiment, Canberra Bhangra Jammers and NachdiShaan.
We are so very proud of the work of our Australian youth and we can’t wait to see what other creative and well organised events they bring to the stage. Australia, get ready for the Bhangra scene to explode…this is only the beginning.
For more information, head www.facebook.com/thebhangraproject or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can contact 0433854336.
The Bhangra Project
Article by MonishaBhogal.
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