How do you rationalize to yourself and others the amount of time you spend on Bhangra?

Ashley

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How do you rationalize to yourself and others the amount of time you spend on practice, competitions, watching videos and just generally thinking about bhangra? Friends/ family/ significant others, anyone who doesn't do bhangra might think the time (and also $$$) investment just isn't worth it.

For me personally, Bhangra is not in my culture and i'm not trying to pursue a dance studio career ( dreams though, am I right?) In my case, there is no concrete success or monetary value that comes from my work.

But it genuinely makes me happy. Using my body as a tool to do something I love and have worked hard on for years is so gratifying. So, *Kanye shrug + "it makes me happy" has been my excuse to those who have questioned my commitment over the years.

Whats yours?
 

sdadoo15

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Aside from the joy of dancing and the challenge of a high-energy activity like bhangra, I like to tell people that it's the easiest way for me to escape the stress of school, life, etc. During the 2-3 hours of practice or the 10 mins I spend watching a video, nothing else in life really matters to me and I can focus all my attention on improving myself and those around me.
 

ramv88

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Great topic. :)

From my experience- Being non-punjabi (south indians represent woot woot)- Bhangra always gives me a lot of excitement and the thing that I like about it is the "escape" as Sahil had mentioned that it gives me from the daily grind. Just this year, I have been through a few mental health issues in my life and bhangra has helped calm me down through the struggles via listening to the music in my car, hanging out with people in the circuit, travelling to a different place and just performing in front of people who I have never met ever before in my life.

Circuit wise- (coming from the viewpoint of primarily a dholi) I love the opportunity of meeting different teams/people and understanding their expression of the art as well as the opportunity to challenge myself. Bhangra gives me a challenge still to this day, which I am able to test my limits as earlier when I started, was undermined by people because I wasn't punjabi and told me to quit. My goal is to one day play a proper LIVE routine with a singer which would provide me with the true experience of what playing dhol truly means.

Outside the circuit- It has been an eye opener to be able to use bhangra as a platform to give back to the community and being able to work with pretty cool people from the political-entertainment-social causes as well as working for Learn Bhangra which helps people around the world understand that bhangra is more than just a "lightbulb dance" from a small town of Salta, Argentina to the City of Beijing, China.

I'd say bhangra can be used to help bridge communities together and give back and for me it has been a pretty fulfilling feeling that validates me still devoting time to it on and off the stage.



- Dholi Ram
 
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Jahordon

Active Member
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I don't need to rationalize anything. Bhangra brings me joy, and as long as it doesn't interfere with my career or well-being, there's no reason I shouldn't spend as much time as I do on it. I'm fortunate in that my family is supportive and understanding, but if they weren't, I could care less. I'm the only one that has to live my life, and I'm going to spend it doing things that make me happy.
 

siddyp

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From a captains perspective: It is a complex thing to run a team. It's a learning experience. How to interact with people. How to build and run an organization. How to communicate. How to creatively think through different problems. Learning basic travel logistics. And so much more. It all translates heavily into the "real world" and that's paid off big time for me.

Understanding and working through the complexities while they are nominal compared to some real world jobs, it helps prepare you. It gives you a microcosm of a world to play with and learn from.
 

Varan Rakhra

bas iko varr boldi dunali te doji vari VARAN bolda
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From a captains perspective: It is a complex thing to run a team. It's a learning experience. How to interact with people. How to build and run an organization. How to communicate. How to creatively think through different problems. Learning basic travel logistics. And so much more. It all translates heavily into the "real world" and that's paid off big time for me.

Understanding and working through the complexities while they are nominal compared to some real world jobs, it helps prepare you. It gives you a microcosm of a world to play with and learn from.
Okay Siri.
 

angeblah

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Love this topic, @Ashley94!

My rationalization began with purely loving Bhangra, but it’s more complicated now. For example, I’ve made amazing dance friendships, but in turn, I sacrificed relationships with classmates and family. And although Bhangra “feeds my soul,” the self-discipline required to captain/dance has been more damaging to my mental health than school.

It’s been the most isolating, loving, frustrating, and spiritual joyride.

However, I think it’s this “give and take” relationship that makes me feel confident that Bhangra is worth doing. That struggle gives meaning to it.

As for rationalizing to others, the hardest discussions have been with my parents. They both grew up during the Cultural Revolution in China, and we have starkly different approaches to life. My struggle has been accepting that I cannot rationalize this with them. Instead, I did my best to do well in school and work, so they could find less objection with how I spent the rest of my time.
 

SahilG

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Love this topic, @Ashley94!

My rationalization began with purely loving Bhangra, but it’s more complicated now. For example, I’ve made amazing dance friendships, but in turn, I sacrificed relationships with classmates and family. And although Bhangra “feeds my soul,” the self-discipline required to captain/dance has been more damaging to my mental health than school.

It’s been the most isolating, loving, frustrating, and spiritual joyride.

However, I think it’s this “give and take” relationship that makes me feel confident that Bhangra is worth doing. That struggle gives meaning to it.

As for rationalizing to others, the hardest discussions have been with my parents. They both grew up during the Cultural Revolution in China, and we have starkly different approaches to life. My struggle has been accepting that I cannot rationalize this with them. Instead, I did my best to do well in school and work, so they could find less objection with how I spent the rest of my time.
Probably the most accurate thing I've seen on BTF. As much as you try to explain your love for bhangra, parents just sometimes won't get it so doing well in school becomes your only option to justify it and get them to complain less about it.

In terms of friend, everyone hit the nail on the dot. If it makes you happy, just do it. Doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.
 

HdBrar

Welcome to the Dark Side.
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This hits me pretty deep. I've been dancing since I was young and even then it's been a rollercoaster. Of course, for those of us who aren't doing dance for a living, spending so much time on something that might bring the bread to the table seems kinda' pointless but I find that doing bhangra is sort of an outlet for me. Having the opportunity to dance with different groups throughout grade school, undergrad and even now in medical school, it's given me a refreshing perspective on what I value most from being involved in "all things bhangra."

Getting in touch with my culture was probably the first thing I noticed, even at a young age. Learning a lot from the lyrics and just the musical undertones of how songs are made (social, political, economical, etc...) to why and how the dance even began. Where Bhangra has come and gone really gives me some hope into what's in store for us in the future but all I know is that Bhangra is forever a part of who I am as a person and I'm thankful for that. (Endorphin rush while listening to bhangra at the gym is also a plus.)
 
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Basim

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During my collegiate years, my parents definitely thought it was a waste of time (they are from a different generation), but realized that being involved on a bhangra team was great exercise, fun for me, a great social environment, and never bothered me as long as I kept my grades up. I loved the process of learning about Punjabi culture, improving my craft, and the dedication it took to be on a team. Bhangra also brought out a lot of ways to showcase my creativity.

After graduating and still trying to dance/helping out with things behind the scene, my parents didn't care what I did as long as it doesn't affect my career, lol.

Now that I'm married and retired from dancing, I still try to help around BTF, but sometimes my wife just tells me to stop wasting time on the computer, lol. I do it because I want to help, give back, and can relate to newer teams & dancers starting out. Love seeing where how performances have evolved over the years. If there was a non-competitive team for retirees, I would love the exercise since bhangra definitely used to keep my stamina up.

I agree with others - great topic!

~ Basim :)
 
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sahab

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1. Striving to be the best is addicting
2. It’s a common connection that has netted lifelong friendships
3. More recent for me I realized it’s a skill that we as dancers don’t realize many people don’t have cause we live in this microcosm of the circuit, and we can pass the gift of dancing on to more people by staying active In bhangra
4. If you get good at something, you can make a living out of it
5. Allows me to be creative and express my artistic side
6. It’s complex, and every day I learn more and more about bhangra.


What are your explanations/reasons @Soorya_ramp99 @Howie Magz @JesseMangat @Akshaya @shawnmatharu @smehta313 @Gsimz @ericsingh3 @megramp @Jasnoor98 @saagarm @priyanka.ram1997
 
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Ashley

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From a captains perspective: It is a complex thing to run a team. It's a learning experience. How to interact with people. How to build and run an organization. How to communicate. How to creatively think through different problems. Learning basic travel logistics. And so much more. It all translates heavily into the "real world" and that's paid off big time for me.

Understanding and working through the complexities while they are nominal compared to some real world jobs, it helps prepare you. It gives you a microcosm of a world to play with and learn from.
Absolutely, great point. I’ve learned so much from my interactions within the circuit that have definitely transferred into my personal and work life. I’m a different person because of it.
 

ericsingh3

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Damn dope thread!! Everything said above mirrors my sentiments as well
Love what you said @siddyp about the real world lessons learned

To add:
For me, it's a pretty cool feeling to be able to tell family and friends that we get travel around the country a couple times a year with our teams and celebrate Bhangra. We give a significant amount of time to practice every week, manage traveling/school/work, fundraise, exercise, etc. and all of those things are worth it for the experiences and friendships. The competitive nature of our circuit makes all of it feel like a sport in a way, which is something I really enjoy

Also, it's a gateway for me to continue growing closer to my culture. I could go on for a while about what bhangra and the connections I've made from it have taught me about punjabi heritage - thats special enough to make it all the hours worth it
 

JesseMangat

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The competitive nature of our circuit makes all of it feel like a sport in a way, which is something I really enjoy
Really agree here, for me I spent a large amount of my life growing up playing sports and played year round in HS as well so coming into college I already spent most of my free time outside of school competing. Playing sports at a Division 1 school wasn't too feasible LOL so bhangra was something new for me to explore and decided to give it a shot and just never looked back since, dancing was able to fill the void of sports in my life. I always look forward to practices and prepping to compete so going back to what everyone said it just becomes something you really enjoy and have a lot of fun with, so why not as long it's not interfering with your career goals!
 

aabraham

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Another question for you guys since I’ve spent so much time thinking about this. Im a co captain of a smaller team in Nashville and all we want to do is learn more and get better which takes up so much headspace and time. Like many of you, all of my free time at school is spent on thinking about the team. Ways to improve, critiquing videos, thinking about our future etc. Because of this my parents have always wanted to me to step down from captain or just straight up quit the team. They think its a distraction and takes up too much time. How do you argue with the two people who have supported you the most in your life? I completely agree with @siddyp, the amount of communication, troubleshooting, logistical and leadership skills I’ve picked up is insane. To the point where my internship recruiters want to hear more about me captaining a team rather than a project I’ve worked on. I have no idea how to put these non technical skills into a compelling argument for my parents to understand why I love it so much. Is the only solution to just get good grades and never bring it up? Any ideas?
 

Ashley

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@aabraham I’ve been lucky enough to have parents that are very supportive in my Bhangra endeavors, so I’m not much help there. But as far thinking about ways to improve your team, you have a ton of resources here on BTF to help you. You can can ask anyyyything here and also I’d recommend personally reaching out to captain of a team or a dancer that you admire to ask about what they do that you can implement into your practices.

It also sounds like your doing well balancing your responsibilities and I’m happy that your recruiters are taking interest in your passion. People glow when they speak of their passions.
 

Ashley

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@aabraham oh and one more thing, you can also sell it to your parents as tons of life skills + NETWORKING. You’ll be meeting and working with tons of great people from amazing schools all over the U.S. If you stepped down or stopped dancing, you’d never had have that broad opportunity.
 

BhangraSUCKS

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@aabraham oh and one more thing, you can also sell it to your parents as tons of life skills + NETWORKING. You’ll be meeting and working with tons of great people from amazing schools all over the U.S. If you stepped down or stopped dancing, you’d never had have that broad opportunity.
Yes, you can explain to parents all the amazing job prospects offered by other college students at bhangra mixers and after parties.

I once tried explaining to my father why joining marching band in high school would be a great career development choice. He then left slapped me, and threw a mathematics book in my face.
 
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