Celebrating our past - preserving our future



VIRSA (which means heritage in Panjabi) is a community group made up of young professionals and volunteers from the community who aim to research, practice and celebrate the heritage of South Asian Arts in the UK. Our Bhangra dance team has evolved over the past 13 years from an all boy group (Desi Bhangra Boys), to a much more family orientated group in the form of VIRSA.

Our vision is to explore all aspects of intellectual inquiry within the South Asian Arts and the art form of Bhangra in particular, from literature, philosophy, art, music, to politics, science, spirituality and faith.

Our Aims & Objectives are:

Bhangra Renaissance

The Bhangra Renaissance project is kindly supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Short History
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

The legacy of the project will be recorded in this publication. The author Hardeep Singh Sahota is a leading authority in the field of Bhangra. The book is being published by Kashi House London and will be available in autumn 2013.

World Bhangra Day 13th April 2013

Event 1

Art Exhibition Lawrence Batley Museum 18th March to 13th April 2013.
An art exhibition tracing the shared heritage and origins of Bhangra.

Event 2

Symposium at the University of Huddersfield's Researches Hub 13th April 12pm -3:30pm

The World Bhangra day Symposium at the University of Huddersfield's Researches Hub. - Co-ordinated by esteemed academic Dr.Rajinder Dudrah, author of 'Soho Road to the Punjab - Bhangra book.
The panel of experts will consist of academics, key artistic directors from the North of England and international singer Shin from the band DCS. There will be a short soirée' at the Exhibition at 4pm before we move on to the evening event at the Huddersfield Town Hall

Live Concert at The Huddersfield Town Hall.

The show will be hosted by Brit Asia TV's Sukhi Bart. We are proud to announce that world renowned Bhangra performers Malkit Singh and Shin from DCS will be performing live on the evening. They have topped the charts in India, Europe and the States, with platinum album sales over the last 3 decades.

The show will commence with a live performance piece which demonstrates the evolution of Bhangra from its rural folk roots in the Panjab, India to its contemporary shape in the 21st century.

The event is truly global. A live dance performance involving children from schools across the region will take place and be linked into live synchronised performances in India, Singapore, Australia, Canada, North and South America. Screens will show these live performances from around the world during the live stage performance.

You are cordially invited to,
World Bhangra Day Symposium: Presentations, Dialogues and Discussion

On Word Bhangra Day this symposium will look over the history of British Bhangra dance and music in Britain from the post-war period to the present. As post-war migrants from the Indian subcontinent and East Africa resettled their lives and homes in the UK, a new form of dance and popular culture also developed. This day symposium will bring together leading international practitioners, artistes and academics who have been involved in producing and charting the story of British Bhangra music and its industry. The event will include a keynote address by Dr Rajinder Dudrah, Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester and author of Bhangra: Birmingham and Beyond (2007). This will be followed by presentations from Shin from DCS; Champak Kumar (Creative Director of Oriental Arts); Shital Kaur (founder and project manager of Bhangra Wars); and Hardeep Sahota (Creative Director of VIRSA); and a final 1hour roundtable discussion with all participants.

The event will also be filmed in recognition of World Bhangra Day and part of a short documentary based on Bhangra and its evolution.

All welcome.

Time: 12-3:30pm
Venue: University of Huddersfield, Research Hub
Queensgate, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD1 3DH

Please RSVP to -
Hardeep Sahota, Creative Director VIRSA , M: +44 (0) 7944536835 | E: djdeepsta@hotmail.com | www.virsa.info


Book your tickets for this event here

World Bhangra Day.

Educational Resources

Over the next couple of weeks we will be building this area which will contain tutorials, guides, You Tube videos, and informative text. It will become a very comprehensive area which we hope will provide an essential resource for anyone who is interested in 'everything Bhangra'.

Contact Us.

Hardeep Sahota
Creative Director - VIRSA
T: (UK) 07944536835
E: djdeepsta@hotmail.com

lottery funded