OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It’s only been a few weeks since this group got together.
Word started passing around through text and phone calls from dance teacher Bianca Mahbubani to learn a type of step called Bhangra.
She begins describing it like this, “They’re considered different beats and different time signatures.”
You can find this style of dance in a lot of spots these days, the club scene, even exercise classes, but it started in the State of Punjab in India with farmers who wanted to celebrate a good harvest.
It’s only been in the last few decades that all the different movements started to fall under the categorical name.
“Only in the middle of the 20th Century actually,” says Mahbubani. “That’s when these people all came together and started having more contact with each other to develop what we now call Bhangra.”
Raghav Gupta’s grandparents came from the Punjabi state but that doesn’t mean he found this dance easy to learn.
“Honestly, ” he grins, “I didn’t think I could do this the first day. I didn’t think I would be able to finish this off.”
Payal Amin is a more experienced dancer but her family comes from the state of Gujarat.
Traditional dances there are completely different she tells us, but with a little hard foot work anything is possible.
“It takes a lot of energy,” she tells us.
“Were you able to pick it up pretty fast,” we ask?
“Yes,” she answers, “Bianca teaches so well.”
“Easy to learn. High impact,” cautions Mahbubani. “So you want to be prepared for a high energy, high impact, cardio heavy, cardio intensive dance. It’s a lot of fun after that.”
So why learn this medley of steps now?
Well, it’s harvest time in Oklahoma too.
It’s also time for the annual India Association of Oklahoma’s Food and Arts Festival, a sort of one day fair celebrating all things from the country of India.
Raghav Gupta states, “Oklahoma has always been so amazing in terms of coming out (to the festival) and accepting us.”
American Square Dance, Clogging, Polka, Salsa, and now Bhangra.
A lot of different cultures move together in Oklahoma, which is always a fun thing to watch.
For more information on the India Food and Arts Festival for 2022 go to their Facebook page.
Great State is sponsored by WEOKIE Credit Union