AEG at Alvin Ailey with Masala Bhangra

Sue Sylvester

kinnell
Messages
467
Meeting Sarina Jain in person changes a lot of things as well. Her intention is not to dilute the art form in order to commercialize it. She learned bhangra in a certain way, in a manner that most of us non-Punjabis can definitely relate to. She doesn't assume any grand origins (ie: "I was taught by Ustad Jor-El, spent 7 years dancing for Phantom Zone Agriculture College and sent to this planet with a penultimate purpose to teach bhangra") She took a passion she had and made a business around it. She is quite humble about what her limitations are. She even acknowledges she knows little about traditional bhangra and is very open to learning more about it. But as AEG tried to teach her some basic moves, it was evident that her style works for her dancing ability and that she could do very little good with what we consider "bhangra".

Dilbagh talks about one of the core philosophies and driving principles of AEG that I know many other teams also agree with or are starting realize. Bhangra is a dance that will change. There is an essence that needs to be maintained, but in the end, the dance is for the audience. But what 99% of teams keep forgetting is that if we box ourselves to an audience of 15 people on BTF and bhangra heads who know the minute differences between double chaffa and a double chaffa cappucino variation, then we limit the growth and exposure of the form. The rest of the world sees bhangra as a dance, we need to sometimes re-evaluate what truly defines the dance and what can be improved to increase appeal to the rest of the world without compromising the general essence.

Many people will see Sarina Jain as detrimental to bhangra. I no longer see her as that, especially after meeting her in person, and knowing her intention is not dilution for the sake of commercialization but simply doing what she knew.
[SIZE=small]Honestly, I see certain judging mentalities in the competitive world more detrimental to bhangra than "MASALA BHANGRA". Seeing judging comments like "phumania was too complex" or "too much swag" makes you realize the ever-shrinking box that we've put ourselves into and how it's affected how we view others in our industry (aka "Sarina Jain"). I agree that there is still an essence and defining characteristics of bhangra, but those are simpler than we think. [/SIZE][SIZE=small]I'm still not the biggest fan of people who know differently or have access, but could care less. For example, you have reality shows that may mislabel a Bollywood dance to a Bollywood song as Bhangra despite having an expert who knew differently and could have said something. But this is completely different situation from Sarina Jain.[/SIZE]

I see it akin to an immigrant who has difficulty with English. He has an accent and butchers the language in spoken and written form but his lack of speaking ability is a result of him not being exposed and quite situational. Given the opportunity, he would try to get better but he also knows that using more complex words and phrases may bring attention to his inability to communicate effectively, use them in the correct context or even pronounce them correctly. This is completely different from someone who grew up in the United States, had a respectable education resulting in a college degree, but then tyPn lKe d1s 4 kno gud raisin.
 

KingGeorge

New Member
Messages
664
Sue Sylvester said:
Seeing judging comments like "phumania was too complex" or "too much swag" makes you realize the ever-shrinking box that we've put ourselves into and how it's affected how we view others in our industry (aka "Sarina Jain").
Couldn't agree more...
 

jfried

Member
Messages
502
Sue Sylvester said:
Meeting Sarina Jain in person changes a lot of things as well. Her intention is not to dilute the art form in order to commercialize it. She learned bhangra in a certain way, in a manner that most of us non-Punjabis can definitely relate to. She doesn't assume any grand origins (ie: "I was taught by Ustad Jor-El, spent 7 years dancing for Phantom Zone Agriculture College and sent to this planet with a penultimate purpose to teach bhangra") She took a passion she had and made a business around it. She is quite humble about what her limitations are. She even acknowledges she knows little about traditional bhangra and is very open to learning more about it. But as AEG tried to teach her some basic moves, it was evident that her style works for her dancing ability and that she could do very little good with what we consider "bhangra".

Dilbagh talks about one of the core philosophies and driving principles of AEG that I know many other teams also agree with or are starting realize. Bhangra is a dance that will change. There is an essence that needs to be maintained, but in the end, the dance is for the audience. But what 99% of teams keep forgetting is that if we box ourselves to an audience of 15 people on BTF and bhangra heads who know the minute differences between double chaffa and a double chaffa cappucino variation, then we limit the growth and exposure of the form. The rest of the world sees bhangra as a dance, we need to sometimes re-evaluate what truly defines the dance and what can be improved to increase appeal to the rest of the world without compromising the general essence.

Many people will see Sarina Jain as detrimental to bhangra. I no longer see her as that, especially after meeting her in person, and knowing her intention is not dilution for the sake of commercialization but simply doing what she knew.
[SIZE=small]Honestly, I see certain judging mentalities in the competitive world more detrimental to bhangra than "MASALA BHANGRA". Seeing judging comments like "phumania was too complex" or "too much swag" makes you realize the ever-shrinking box that we've put ourselves into and how it's affected how we view others in our industry (aka "Sarina Jain"). I agree that there is still an essence and defining characteristics of bhangra, but those are simpler than we think. [/SIZE][SIZE=small]I'm still not the biggest fan of people who know differently or have access, but could care less. For example, you have reality shows that may mislabel a Bollywood dance to a Bollywood song as Bhangra despite having an expert who knew differently and could have said something. But this is completely different situation from Sarina Jain.[/SIZE]

I see it akin to an immigrant who has difficulty with English. He has an accent and butchers the language in spoken and written form but his lack of speaking ability is a result of him not being exposed and quite situational. Given the opportunity, he would try to get better but he also knows that using more complex words and phrases may bring attention to his inability to communicate effectively, use them in the correct context or even pronounce them correctly. This is completely different from someone who grew up in the United States, had a respectable education resulting in a college degree, but then tyPn lKe d1s 4 kno gud raisin.
One thing I wasn't entirely clear on here, Kinnell: when you say he could do very little good with what we consider "bhangra," do you mean in a commercial/teaching sense (ie: the moves are going to be tough to teach to her target audience), or do you mean in the sense of expanding her "library" of moves (ie: she had trouble with beats 9-12 of your phumaniyan)? Just curious.
 

HarmanSingh

New Member
Messages
531
In the 10+ years Sarina Jain has been profiting off this art, did she ever bother to learn the history or importance of it to the people of Punjab? I really don't know, but I am sure those of you who do know her could answer this question.

I have a problem with people who do not respect the art and do not take the effort to learn about the culture before they use it to make money. In many ways, I see Sarina Jain of a caricature of what an outsider would view bhangra as. Her constant "balle balle" and fusion bollywood dance being called bhangra is troublesome in my mind. In the same way I shake my head when I see Punjabi rappers running around rapping without understanding the hip hop culture & black culture, I shake my head when I see Sarina Jain gaining fame and money from this watered down version of bhangra devoid of all cultural perspective.
 

AnkurK

Member
Messages
862
HarmanSingh said:
In the 10+ years Sarina Jain has been profiting off this art, did she ever bother to learn the history or importance of it to the people of Punjab? I really don't know, but I am sure those of you who do know her could answer this question.

I have a problem with people who do not respect the art and do not take the effort to learn about the culture before they use it to make money. In many ways, I see Sarina Jain of a caricature of what an outsider would view bhangra as. Her constant "balle balle" and fusion bollywood dance being called bhangra is troublesome in my mind. In the same way I shake my head when I see Punjabi rappers running around rapping without understanding the hip hop culture & black culture, I shake my head when I see Sarina Jain gaining fame and money from this watered down version of bhangra devoid of all cultural perspective.
I don't know about you, but I think this is pretty legit:

BOHEMIA - Kali denali
 

ENVY BANG-RUH

Let the music move you!!!!!
Messages
1,151
AnkurK said:
HarmanSingh said:
In the 10+ years Sarina Jain has been profiting off this art, did she ever bother to learn the history or importance of it to the people of Punjab? I really don't know, but I am sure those of you who do know her could answer this question.

I have a problem with people who do not respect the art and do not take the effort to learn about the culture before they use it to make money. In many ways, I see Sarina Jain of a caricature of what an outsider would view bhangra as. Her constant "balle balle" and fusion bollywood dance being called bhangra is troublesome in my mind. In the same way I shake my head when I see Punjabi rappers running around rapping without understanding the hip hop culture & black culture, I shake my head when I see Sarina Jain gaining fame and money from this watered down version of bhangra devoid of all cultural perspective.
I don't know about you, but I think this is pretty legit:

BOHEMIA - Kali denali
I used to have a ridin' rims version of this. Can't find it anymore.
 

Sonuu

Member
Messages
189
HarmanSingh said:
In the 10+ years Sarina Jain has been profiting off this art, did she ever bother to learn the history or importance of it to the people of Punjab? I really don't know, but I am sure those of you who do know her could answer this question.

I have a problem with people who do not respect the art and do not take the effort to learn about the culture before they use it to make money. In many ways, I see Sarina Jain of a caricature of what an outsider would view bhangra as. Her constant "balle balle" and fusion bollywood dance being called bhangra is troublesome in my mind. In the same way I shake my head when I see Punjabi rappers running around rapping without understanding the hip hop culture & black culture, I shake my head when I see Sarina Jain gaining fame and money from this watered down version of bhangra devoid of all cultural perspective.

Welcome to capitalism.
 

voxanimus

<('.'<) (>'.')>
Messages
1,685
there's a fine line between expanding the horizons of bhangra and entirely supplanting it with something else. teaching bhangra in a way that's authentic and pays respect to its origins and current form should be the paramount concern for anyone wanting to associate themselves with the art form, to the exclusion of all others. i feel like sarina jain wanted to teach dance and fitness first, and then decided to pick bhangra because it was tangentially related to her indian heritage. her workout videos come off as just "indian," and not uniquely "bhangra" in any way.


i'm not saying that only the "Ustad Jor-Els" of the world are qualified to teach bhangra, but i think anyone that tries to do so should make an effort to learn what it actually is. that is, a modicum of proficiency in a subject should always be of eminent concern to a person who seeks to teach it. i don't know about you, but i wouldn't attempt to teach differential geometry at a national level relying only on wikipedia articles i cursorily glanced over while browsing around. her apparent lack of a desire to reflect the true nature of bhangra grows increasingly irksome when you consider her level of prominence; i feel like it's because of things like her "masala bhangra" that people think bhangra is just "petting the dog and screwing in the lightbulb." bhangra is, in many ways, like modern hip-hop, and i feel that it should be afforded a commensurate level of respect. people like shane sparks and d-trix teach hip-hop "master classes." sarina teaches bhangra "master classes." there's something wrong with that.


it's good to hear that she's open about her shortcomings, but i don't see any real effort from her to reflect this desire to learn more in her exercise routines. the big thing that separates the immigrant that butchers english from sarina is that the immigrant actively seeks to improve.
 

campy614

New Member
Messages
666
voxanimus said:
it's good to hear that she's open about her shortcomings, but i don't see any real effort from her to reflect this desire to learn more in her exercise routines. the big thing that separates the immigrant that butchers english from sarina is that the immigrant actively seeks to improve.
Far be it from me to speak about this, but maybe she intends on taking on this process through this class? I can almost guarantee that AEG has been giving her tips on the more folk approach to bhangra. Maybe she intends on learning it throught his process and incorporating it into her workout.

Either that or maybe if AEG does well, they can help revolutionize her Masala Bhangra workout in general-which would be cool. Either way, baby steps people. Before this whole process begins, Sarina and (more importantly) the theater need to know that AEG can teach in general.

I don't know what will happen. What I do know is that this wasn't the point of the thread. The point of the thread is that AEG is teaching bhangra at one of the top dance institutions in the world, and they are trying to promote their event.

If they succeed, the possibilities are endless. But for now, baby steps.
 

smp

Member
Messages
418
ENVY BANG-RUH said:
AnkurK said:
HarmanSingh said:
In the 10+ years Sarina Jain has been profiting off this art, did she ever bother to learn the history or importance of it to the people of Punjab? I really don't know, but I am sure those of you who do know her could answer this question.

I have a problem with people who do not respect the art and do not take the effort to learn about the culture before they use it to make money. In many ways, I see Sarina Jain of a caricature of what an outsider would view bhangra as. Her constant "balle balle" and fusion bollywood dance being called bhangra is troublesome in my mind. In the same way I shake my head when I see Punjabi rappers running around rapping without understanding the hip hop culture & black culture, I shake my head when I see Sarina Jain gaining fame and money from this watered down version of bhangra devoid of all cultural perspective.
I don't know about you, but I think this is pretty legit:

BOHEMIA - Kali denali
I used to have a ridin' rims version of this. Can't find it anymore.
I remember that I think it was HiClass or DDR who made it
 
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