A Different Type of Workout

Sawan Mela 2010 
There are many different types of dance forms all around the world. One of the most energetic forms is the Punjabi (Indian) Bhangra or folk dance. This traditional dance was used to welcome the coming of spring in the farming areas. It has been universally called the dance of India.

Punjabi is a vibrant and boisterous dance that is great for exercise. So instead of complaining through boring old crunches, sit-ups and squats, why not enjoy a bit of culture and dance? Here’s a video of this full body workout dance phenomenon. In recent years it has been popularized in fusion with reggae, rap and hip-hop and through Bollywood (Indian Hollywood) films.
This is an English University team called Empire who frequently dominates the Bhangra Showdown competition in the UK. Traditionally, Bhangra was performed soley
by men. Nowadays, many teams consist of both males and females adding to the versatility of the dance. The females and males don contrasting colors to create beautiful visuals. The music captivates the audience. The music comes from a dhol, folk singing. The songs that accompany the dance are couplets written in Punjabi. Bhangra singers sing in high pitch, energetic voices. They sing with great pride. They often add nonsensical words such as “hoi” and “balle” which the dancers yell repeatedly.

Sawan Mela 2010Sawan Mela 2010
The men usually dress in traditional clothing. They wear a chaadra, which is a piece of cloth wrapped around the waist and a kurta (long shirt) and a turban covering their heads. Women wear a salwar kameez. These are long baggy pants that taper at the ankle (salwar) and a long colorful shirt (kameez). Females also wear a colorful fabric around their necks.

All of these elements surely help to engage the crowd and create a very exciting atmosphere.

Sarina Jain, a fitness instructor based out of New York City. She has closed the gap between cultural folk dance and exercise. She has created her very own unique Bhangra workout that thoroughly engages the whole body.

The Masala Bhangra Workout with Sarina Jain 


Author: Margaret Gaby
Photography: Brendan Lall

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