KPGD @ Boston 2017....

BhangraLoverzz

New Member
Messages
1
Don't even know where to begin with these phoolz. Made such a fire and perfect set for Bruin Bhangra (a gimmick heavy comp but still emphasizes elite dancing) and then come to Boston with something that wasn't even bhangra. Whoever thought it was okay to go on stage with 12 dancers at a time and switch in and out like that needs to learn what bhangra truly is. I happened to be in the audience for the performance and cringed, this is not a fusion circuit, bhangra does not tell stories. KPGD had two dancers (Heer Ranjha) "die" in the middle of the set, bhangra is fun and exciting not gloomy and sad. Glad the judges seemed to feel the same way as the performance did not place, but was still aggravating to see 8 other teams perform proper routines (s/0 to the lineup amazing job by the competing teams) without breaks and "production" and then KPGD trying to pull this. Curious to hear others reactions about this especially because when the entire US circuit seems to finally beginning to go back to pure dancing "folk-er" sets, KPGD continues to rely on gimmicks, stunts, and production to get crowd reaction.
 

vaibhav

Active Member
Messages
704
Unfortunately I was only able to watch their performance through an Instagram stream, so can't comment on how the performance was in person.

However, from my end, I was thoroughly surprised and quite happy to see KPGD expanding the limits of the art form that is bhangra. Huge props for taking such risks, though knowing that they may not always work or "hit"! I definitely understand your viewpoint, BhangraLoverzz - their interpretation of bhangra may have not been normative based off of the "traditional standards"; nonetheless, KPGD was able to tell a story and evoke emotions through their dance and performance, an awesome accomplishment in my books.
Keep on doing what you do KPGD :)

Edit: Also, I disagree with you on your point that bhangra does not tell stores. Sure, it does not typically follow a set theme nor does it explicitly narrate a story, but like all other visual and performance arts, bhangra takes its audience on journey and rollercoaster of emotions/energies. Bhangra, I believe, serves as a medium through which segmented pictures of both traditional and modern Punjabi culture are painted on stage and beautifully interwoven. Thus bhangra, in essence, is a story (though many times disjointed).
 
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BhangraSUCKS

Active Member
Messages
131
Unfortunately I was only able to watch their performance through an Instagram stream, so can't comment on how the performance was in person.

However, from my end, I was thoroughly surprised and quite happy to see KPGD expanding the limits of the art form that is bhangra. Huge props for taking such risks, though knowing that they may not always work or "hit"! I definitely understand your viewpoint, BhangraLoverzz - their interpretation of bhangra may have not been normative based off of the "traditional standards"; nonetheless, KPGD was able to tell a story and evoke emotions through their dance and performance, an awesome accomplishment in my books.
Keep on doing what you do KPGD :)

Edit: Also, I disagree with you on your point that bhangra does not tell stores. Sure, it does not typically follow a set theme nor does it explicitly narrate a story, but like all other visual and performance arts, bhangra takes its audience on journey and rollercoaster of emotions/energies. Bhangra, I believe, serves as a medium through which segmented pictures of both traditional and modern Punjabi culture are painted on stage and beautifully interwoven. Thus bhangra, in essence, is a story (though many times disjointed).
Buddy, your getting way too emotional and thinking way too much. Keep in mind, bhangra is a higher form of dance. This is not Bollywood. You got to be able to dance for 8 min straight without rest to music. This is bhangra. It personifies the never dying fighting spirit of the Sikh, as virsa teaches, and the ability of the Sikh to fight like the lion without being tired.

I get that people want to try something new. But people, let's try to stay away from doing something that loses the identity of Punjabi bhangra entirely.

My opinion, people welcome to disagree.
 

vaibhav

Active Member
Messages
704
Buddy, your getting way too emotional and thinking way too much. Keep in mind, bhangra is a higher form of dance. This is not Bollywood. You got to be able to dance for 8 min straight without rest to music. This is bhangra. It personifies the never dying fighting spirit of the Sikh, as virsa teaches, and the ability of the Sikh to fight like the lion without being tired.

I get that people want to try something new. But people, let's try to stay away from doing something that loses the identity of Punjabi bhangra entirely.

My opinion, people welcome to disagree.
Dope! I respect your opinion and viewpoint.
 

Boston Bhangra

Active Member
Messages
272
KPGD took a risk and no harm in that. We are proud of the effort they put in. When you try to be a trend setting team, it takes a little bit of time before you can perfect it. We are confident that KPGD will do just that...just give it a bit of time...they are WAY too talented not to get it right! Big shout out to Kuntal for all of his efforts for setting this imaginative set up.
 

Armaan

Active Member
Messages
425
It's really interesting hearing what people had to say about this set. All around it seemed that people just jumped to the same conclusion about "why would they switch dancers in and out?" and "that's not bhangra." Bhangra and/or any other dance form does not need to be clearly defined. This routine like many others will help people continue to try new things and push boundaries, no matter how well or poorly it was received.

I would agree that the execution of the dance could have been stronger and more seamless while telling the story, but the attempt was incredible to see. It takes insane amounts of courage to attempt what they did.

I want to see this concept and concepts stemming from this by KPGD and/or other teams after watching and analyzing what went wrong here.

Pros:
- courageous concept
- imaginative
- emotional storytelling
- strong & skilled dancers

Cons:
- Tempo changing between segments felt too abrupt and too often
- Background video (especially the lyrical translations) were VERY distracting
- ^ many including myself ended up looking at the screen too often as opposed to the dancers
- the large prop used to switch dancers in and out wasn't always blocking the movements and kinda felt a bit much

Note that the cons are all things that could definitely be fixed and the set could be tried again with an updated flow.
 

desi99

Aruan S.
Messages
244
dang all this time i thought it was about farming
If you live in the present, yes, Bhangra phenda, for the celebration of Vaisakhi and farmers celebrating the great harvest.
you are not wrong either.

I haven't seen anything yet from KPGD, post a video, I really want to see the Here Ranjha reenactment tbh..
But all I can say, strictly for a "BHANGRA COMPETITION", if you stop dancing more than 15-20 seconds, points automatically, without a doubt should be deducted, every time you do that...
Gimmicks are one thing for the creativity aspect, but if they take over your entire dancing aspect, then that is not a gimmick, it's clearly just a giant breather in the set for you.
From what people are talking about here, for Ex.the extra production, (Heer Ranjha) "dies", dancers switching in and out, gloomy and sad theme, video production etc..if you want to do this style of Bhangra, make music videos instead, and keep it out of competitions...
but who knows maybe at Bruin Bhangra, you would've probably placed with this kind of set...
 
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faizan

Just shut up and dance
Messages
1,738
bhangra is not historically a celebration of anything (until recently). it's an amalgamation of folk dances from northern india.

bhangra as a concept did not exist until about 70 years ago.

Everything you know about "bhangra" happened recently. Now if you want to talk about luddi-dhamaal-jhummar-sial koti, then let's talk.

post this video, it's probably dope.
 

hardeep_singh

Well-Known Member
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1,475
Thesis: There is no place for bhangra to be performed as an interpretive dance for competition purposes.

Background: A bhangra performance consists of 3 elements, music, lyrics, and choreography. I am of the belief that there are two categories which can be used to define a dance or segment of a dance, either interpretive or expressive. Interpretive dance can be defined as choreography which plays out the scene described by the music and lyrics whereas expressive dance can be defined as choreography which highlights the emotions evoked by the music and lyrics.
Examples of interpretive dance: mela segments, malwai giddha, giddha, lakk 28 girl
Examples of expressive dance: most bhangra segments, poppin a 3 man tower to songs about punjabi anakh, ferocious khunda segment to a song about jagga jatt or jeona morh

Storytelling with dance in Punjabi Culture: The examples of interpretive dance provided above are mainly conducted to boliyan segments which describe the scene being played out, boliyan and scenes can be constructed to generate a storyline for a performance such as using giddha to describe family or home situations or just describe days in the life of a punjabi woman and the things she deals with. These dances only scratch the surface of dance being used to tell stories, there is a tradition of dancing out stories that is still very much alive in punjab. The most common example is bhangra dance troupes that perform at events such as concerts or weddings the lesser common example is college groups and clubs which perform at college youth festivals. Bhangra troupes generally follow the format set by music videos and movies when performing what I consider interpretive dance; with a male and female lead acting out the scene while male and female backup dancers perform sequences of steps in repetition. This is generally the style of format you will see if you go to a wedding reception in punjab and watch a troupe dancing on stage. The youth festival performances tend to be more theatrical in nature with more actors playing out scenes to music or narration, using backdrops to create visuals of the story being told. The only example of youth festival style performance i've personally seen is the performance of Mirza Sahiban at big apple bhangra 2012:
From what I recall this performances was originally choreographed and performed by a relative of Jabar at a college in punjab and Jabar decided to perform it on stage at big apple. The choreography of this performance obviously isn't bhangra, it's the actors playing out different actions and interactions, but this allows for each section of the story as being described by the lyrics to be expressed in a manner which can be easily interpreted by the audience.

Flaws in the KPGD performance: The most glaring flaw is that the performance seemed to be a derivative of bollywood/fusion style performances. Bollywood/fusion performances tend to be broken into interpretive acting segments followed by expressive dancing segments meant to highlight the emotions of the scene that has been played out. This format cannot work for a bhangra performance which wouldn't seem at all cohesive if you had breaks that disrupted the flow of a set. So what kpgd decided to do was to forgo the interpretive acting to set the scene and rely on scenes being projected on the screen to depict the plot of the story. This was not done effectively at all, the result was that the projected scenes provided a tldr cliffsnotes version of the story with no emotional context whatsoever. The bhangra segments also did nothing to effectively convey the plot and emotions of the story. There was minimal acting on the part of heer ranjha, with both actors doing mostly bhangra throughout the performance and getting lost in the rest of the dancers. This performance was created to tell a story and it failed to effectively convey the story to the audience. To people who know don't know the story of heer ranjha, it probably came off like a cheap indian version of romeo and juliet performed using a dance which did not fit the context of the story at all.

50 Shades of Cultural Appropriation: "Bhangra and/or any other dance form does not need to be clearly defined." Most classical dance forms are STRICTLY defined, especially when you look at indian classical dance forms such as kathak and kuchipudi. Classical dances are taught in a manner that does not deviate from original structure of the dance as defined whenever that dance was originated and the stories played out by those dances are also strictly defined. Bhangra and all of the dances which have been incorporated into bhangra are accepted as folk dances which are not rigidly defined as classical dances are. But bhangra is a method of expression of punjabi culture and as such is defined by that culture/history/language/folklore. To understand the evolution of bhangra you have to understand the culture that spawned it, to understand the culture that spawned it you need to understand language and musical styles. Even though bhangra isn't rigidly defined there are cultural standards in place that define what constitutes a bhangra performance. There seems to be an effort to push bhangra beyond those cultural standards to make it more palatable to a broader audience. Examples of this are masala bhangra, bhangra funk, and the kpgd performance in question. In conclusion: No, this performance will not help people continue to try new things and push boundries. If you want to use a performance to tell a folk story, understand the story and take the time to do the research as to what the best format for presentation is, and then conduct a performance which the audience enjoys and respects, but that's not a competitive bhangra performance and never will be.
 
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UmerQureshi96

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Messages
94
Thesis: There is no place for bhangra to be performed as an interpretive dance for competition purposes.

Most classical dance forms are STRICTLY defined, especially when you look at indian classical dance forms such as kathak and kuchipudi. Classical dances are taught in a manner that does not deviate from original structure of the dance as defined whenever that dance was originated and the stories played out by those dances are also strictly defined.
Not sure if you keep up with the classical circuit (I'm also not trying to invalidate your entire point by finding one tiny flaw in your example) but this is something the Classical circuit has been dealing with lately. There has been a deviation from the strictly religious themes and many teams have gone into more contemporary teams. For example UMD Moksha this past year had their theme on the completely secular theme of Gun Violence in the United States Again I'm not trying to invalidate your entire point with this one example nor am I trying to equate cultures here. But what I'm trying to say is that there are shifts in all kinds of expression. KPGD tried to do something, rather than just calling it blasphemous and wrong, calmly state what you have an issue with and promote a conversation where everyone can learn a thing or two
 
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