During my time in the industry, if I put a penny in a jar every time I heard that girls shouldn’t do bhangra I’d be driving a Ferrari right now.
So let’s first rewind to some of the ‘theories’ many have out there:
“Girls shouldn’t do bhangra”
“Girls should stick to giddha”
“Girls doing bhangra is so disrespectful”
My first question is why? Why do some find the need to first create that gender segregation in bhangra. There are all girls teams that have beaten boys teams in national competitions – like Ankhi Jawan Girls in Bhangra Wars 2015. And even international competitions like Big Apple Bhangra 2016 with winners Shaan Mutiyaran Di. Let’s not forget the fierce ladies of DCBC and TAG Girls as well winning trophies left, right and centre.
Female dancers have even won best dancer in mixed competitions, like Josh Valaithian Da’s yellow jodi at Folk Stars 2015 in the UK, and the team even came third in the competition.
All these girls didn’t win this in a giddha competition, they won this in a bhangra competition!
This leads to my second question – in what way is it disrespectful?
We have so many female captains holding down successful teams nationally and internationally, and amazing new teams like Allaran Punjab Diyan – started up and ran by a talented female dancer. All promoting Punjabi culture positively and teaching/ educating different generations.
Competitions are getting tough, not just because new teams are entering the scene. It’s because strong girls are entering the scene – dancing no different to boys. Offering the same calibre, strength and technique. We even had 2 girls dressed in chadars and paghs in Gabru Furteley team at Bhangra Fest 2017. Did people even notice? It definitely took me a while to realise!
So next time you hear someone or are the person that believes girls shouldn’t do bhangra, have a think about how much females have contributed to promoting Punjabi culture and bhangra across the world – and only then this debate will be worth pursuing…