Bhangra night: Punjabi culture at Townsend Harris

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By Maimunah Virk, staff writer

Students of all backgrounds were able to experience the rich Punjabi culture through food and dance on May 25 when the Sikh Student Association and the Student Union held its annual Bhangra Night. Bhangra is a form of Punjabi dance and music, popular in many South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan. The Townsend Harris cafeteria was transformed into a lively Punjabi dance ground, with colorful decorations, students in traditional Punjabi outfits, and a wide range of homemade South Asian food.

“It’s beautiful both in it’s exhibition of culture and talent,” explained sophomore Faye Shemper, who performed at Bhangra Night for the first time this year. Besides the dancing, Faye explained that her favorite part of the night was the costumes that students wore.  “Not a single performer wore the same costume and each was more brilliant than the other,” she said. “[They] made the performances that much more amazing.”

Navpreet Kaur, a senior who was been performing at Bhangra Night since her freshman year, said that one of the reasons she loves the event is because “it’s not only a Punjabi or Indian or brown event; it’s meant for everyone!”

This year, some members of Hispanic FON performed a salsa-punjabi remix of “I Like It” by Cardi B and Gasolina, incorporating Latin and American dance moves with Bhangra. Other dances included a Bollywood dance by Nalini Ramdeo, a Punjabi dance performed by the Virsa FON group, and dance battles among students.

Senior Josselyn Navas, who has been performing at Bhangra Night for three years, said that she has a blast every time because she “gets to do something out of her comfort zone and learn a little more about another culture.”

“I think this is one of the most exciting and original events at Townsend and I would encourage everyone to come,” Josselyn stated.  “It’s after AP season and a great way to wind down as we head towards the end of the school year.”