Bhangra with Navjot Singh Jagdev
(Mathematics with Statistics, 2020)
‘A common misconception about me (and for many other dancers) is that I actually started dancing bhangra before university, but I joined with no prior experience. I actually always wanted to learn, because it is an eccentric and enjoyable dance form – but, more importantly, because it’s part of my own heritage. Bhangra is a folk dance form that originated in Punjab, India, and it was a form of expressing jubilation to celebrate a successful harvest. It is for that same energetic, care-free energy that I, as well as other bhangra dancers, choose to dance while simultaneously honouring our roots.
During lockdown, I spent a couple of hours a week freestyling or dancing to old sets. Sometimes it was to get my creative juices flowing, other times it was to appreciate other people’s creativity. Other than that, it was probably in the kitchen when I was distracting my mum while we were cooking.
Hosting a King’s Alumni at Home event gave me a chance to represent my culture and showcase my passion for bhangra. It was so nice to see lots of people smiling and enjoying themselves (especially in lockdown) in the class because that’s the main reason I would recommend anyone to ever take up bhangra as a hobby. Finally, it was an excellent opportunity to teach others about the history of bhangra, as well as to bring to light the farming issue in India. Without farmers, there’d be no bhangra – but, more importantly, without farmers, there’d be no food.’