VIRSA has been a leading force in the North of England delivering high quality, world class Bhangra workshops and seminars over the last two decades. Our specialised team of professional dancers understand the intrinsic link between engagement, education and entertainment and the empowering properties of performing Bhangra
Led by Hardeep Sahota, who has also accomplished a Masters by Research degree on the history of Bhangra, given the name 'Bhangra Renaissance' to this project because of his concerted efforts to explore an array of intellectual inquiries from literature, philosophy, art, music, to oral histories, science, spirituality and faith. Explorations of these foundational elements are key for a new Renaissance in Bhangra.
Hardeep is a secondary school art teacher, choreographer, academic, artist and an avid bastion for the art form of Bhangra. He has always believed in open-access to Bhangra dance and music lessons for all. He is a creative visionary, as he hopes that one day hundreds of thousands of people from around the world will take part in a global 'World Bhangra Day', where participants will celebrate and perform Bhangra, in unison and share this experience through the power of new technologies.
The Bhangra Renaissance project is kindly supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The project focuses on the origins of the dance form of bhangra and its impact on the identity and shared heritage of participants in Kirklees and across the region. VIRSA (which means heritage in Panjabi) is a community group made up of young volunteers who conduct research, practice and celebrate the heritage of South Asian Arts in Kirklees. Working with a range of services from the museums, libraries, local schools, colleges and Huddersfield University.
We aim to strengthen the understanding and the preservation of memories based around Bhangra, a folk dance from the Indian sub-continent.
Through community projects and workshops we will be able to give participants a richer sense of identity and a deeper understanding of the cultural heritage of Bhangra. The project will also be an opportunity to develop new bonds, understanding and fellowships with members of the wider community through the dissemination of the project.
Fiona Spiers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said "Bhangra music and dance features heavily in the heritage of communities that have migrated from South Asia to Kirklees in the last 50 years. This project will enable volunteers to learn new skills to uncover and celebrate the art of bhangra, bringing together different generations to learn about this unique heritage."
The three primary outcomes for the Bhangra renaissance project are;
These short stories/interviews record first hand true life stories from the 1950's to the present date. They capture the shared heritage of the South Asian Diaspora across the region. Their aim is to share the rich social and cultural heritage of Bhangra with a new audience. These oral history recordings are currently being collated and will be archived and available at the Tolson Museum memory bank.
We are pleased to confirm the leading photographer Tim Smith has collated an art exhibition tracing the origins of Bhangra from the Panjab.
The main exhibition will be supported by work from
Bhangra: Mystics, Music and Migration Bhangra: Mystics, Music and Migration explores the origins of this folk song and dance from the Panjab in South Asia and its development into part of modern British culture in the hybrid soundscape of British Bhangra and beyond.
This book originated in academic research and the Heritage-Lottery funded Bhangra Renaissance project. Through ethnographic research, oral history interviews, performances, photography, story-telling and community activity it celebrates the past contribution of all those involved in Bhangra.
This ground-breaking work provides an in-depth history of the spiritualism of performance and song, and an overview of the artists involved in influencing its development, as well as contemporaries leading the way of Bhangra's renaissance amongst the South Asian diaspora in the UK and around the world.
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The World Bhangra Day celebrations took place in Huddersfield, and were held on the 13th April 2013 to coincide with the cultural festival of Vaisakhi. It was the first ever grassroots celebration of Bhangra on a global scale. There were three main parts of the day. The first was a venue wide art exhibition held at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, which traced the shared heritage and origins of Bhangra. The panels that chart a historical time-line through photography, art and archive material were further enhanced by artwork contributed from local, national and international photographers and artists.
Art Exhibition Lawrence Batley Museum 18th March to 13th April 2013.
An art exhibition tracing the shared heritage and origins of Bhangra.
The second event was a symposium based on Bhangra held at the University of Huddersfield's Researches Hub and co-ordinated by esteemed academic Dr. Rajinder Dudrah, author of the Soho Road to the Punjab - Bhangra book......more
Panjab offers the richest and probably the most lavish spread as far as its musical traditions go; from Bhakti at one end, to Sufi mysticism at the other, and from the high portals of the classical genre to robust folk traditions.
These varied forms have flourished side by side here for centuries.
Panjab is a multi-layered cultural region and its music tradition stretches back thousands of years to the Vedic period.
Lying between the Gangeatic plain with its agricultural riches and the steppes of central Asia, this region has been exposed to many cultures, each with its own musical mode.
It is this unrelenting exposure to the new that has given Panjab's folk music a remarkable
- Dr Alka Pande - From mustard fields to Disco lights
Explore the Soundscape of the Panjab through this interactive timeline.
Learn the Basics of Bhangra and dhol drumming
Hardeep Sahota, a secondary school art teacher with over 15 years of experience, holds a Masters degree in the History of Bhangra and is an expert in teaching
and delivering professional Bhangra and Dhol workshops. For more information or to book please contact us on
T: (UK) 07944536835