Ready to Bhangra? City of Bhangra Festival Brings Music and Dance to Vancouver

Photo sourced from vibc.org

Photo sourced from vibc.org

The best of bhangra is coming to Vancouver.

The City of Bhangra Festival celebrates the high energy music and dance form from South Asia, May 28-June 6. Originating as a folk dance in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan, bhangra – with its colourful costumes and elaborately choreographed routines – is perhaps best known as a staple of Bollywood films. In recent decades, it has also spread around the world, popping up everywhere from hip hop videos to celebrity fitness routines.

The 10-day City of Bhangra Festival features dance recitals, concerts, talks and more at venues across Vancouver and Surrey.  The main event is Downtown Bhangra, June 5-June 6, a full weekend of music and dancing at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza. Each year, thousands of people gather to get enjoy free bhangra concerts, complete with whirling dancers and pulsing rhythms, from noon to 10 p.m.   Continue reading:
Ready to Bhangra? City of Bhangra Festival Brings Music and Dance to Vancouver

Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

Fill up your calendar for June’s first Friday to Sunday!  There’s so much to do, and only three days to do them all in… Read on for our top picks for things to do in Vancouver this weekend!

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Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend
From food and drink festivals to theatre, music, and culture, this weekend has something for everything. Read on for our top picks for things to do in Vancouver this weekend!

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Things To Do In Vancouver This Weekend

Bhangra 101: Where to perfect your bhangra moves in Vancouver

Photo credit: VIBC/HSBC City of Bhangra Festival

Photo credit: VIBC/HSBC City of Bhangra Festival

Question: How do you prepare your best friend’s upcoming Indian wedding?

Answers: grab a great outfit that’s equal parts loose-fitting, colourful and decked with bling, get ready to eat, a lot (see loose-fitting clothing above), and attend the HSBC City of Bhangra Festival for wedding reception dance floor inspiration.  

Starting May 30, bhangra will reverberate through downtown Vancouver for 10 beat-filled days at the HSBC City of Bhangra Festival. The annual spring gathering attracts Punjabi folk music and dance groups from as far as Pennsylvania, California and Finland. Rocking the stage at this year’s free event, Downtown Bhangra, local favourites like the UBC Bhangra Team, Vancity Boys Bhangra, Shan-E-Punjab Arts Club, South Asian Arts and the HSBC Bhangra Team are guaranteed to make a few toes tap and hips sway.

Whether you’re rhythmically challenged (like me) or a wannabe Rheka, Vancouver has a pretty great selection of bhangra and Bollywood classes that may just put you on stage at next year’s festival. Or, in my case, rock the reception dancefloor at my bestie’s August nuptials.  

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Bhangra 101: Where to perfect your bhangra moves in Vancouver

Bhangra beats take over Vancouver from lunch until late May 30 – June 8

A Finnish Bhangra band called Shava photo credit: VIBC

A Finnish Bhangra band called Shava photo credit: HSBC City of Bhangra/VIBC

One of Vancouver’s telltale signs of spring is back. The 9th annual HSBC City of Bhangra Festival runs from May 30 – June 8. Punctuated by colour and rhythm the festival attracts bhangra groups from as far as Brazil, India and Finland to our fair city.  

“We’re trying to feature new acts like young Canadian singer Inder Kooner. By supporting acts like Inder, the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society builds community for everyone through the celebration of bhangra,” says Sukhi Ghuman, a member of the festival organizing committee.

“We really want all cultures and communities to feel welcome at the festival.”

Originating about 500 years ago, Bhangra was invented by wheat farmers in India’s Punjab province. Toiling in the hot, golden fields Punjabi farmers would dance and sing about village life to fight the monotony of working all day during harvest season.

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Bhangra beats take over Vancouver from lunch until late May 30 – June 8

20 Unmissable Vancouver Events in June 2012

Photo credit: Flickr user *Jer*

June escorts in the official start of summer and the packed line up of events, from concerts to street parties and festivals, reflects the city’s overwhelming urge to get out and have fun.

I’m particularly looking forward to the line-up for Italian Heritage Month, including the EuroCup Breakfast and Commercial’s Italian Day on the Drive – one of the largest community events of the year dedicated to celebrating la dolce vita with food, music, entertainment and more.

But the street parties don’t stop there. Expect mass community participation and entertainment during Car Free Days, Velopalooza bike fest and Make Music Vancouver – a remarkable, free concert where 200 musicians take to the historic Gastown and Yaletown streets.

The annual Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival (pictured above) puts Vancouver on the world map with its longstanding tradition of vibrant multicultural heritage and, of course, vigorous boat racing. Venus makes a rare trek across the heavens this month. Get out and watch; the next opportunity is 100 years away. Oh and Bryan Adams is bringing his old school, sexy-scratchy vocals to town.

Details after the jump. Continue reading:
20 Unmissable Vancouver Events in June 2012

Wanna dance? City of Bhangra Festival, May 31-June 10

Photo credit: jay8085 | Flickr

Ready to bhangra?  A lively form of folk dance from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan, bhangra has swept North America in the last decade.  The high-energy music and colorful dance routines have popped up in Hollywood hits like Slumdog Millionaire, hip hop videos and even celebrity fitness programs.

Vancouver, with its rich South Asian population, is an epicenter of bhangra culture in North America.  And this summer, the city will be showing off its bhangra pride at the eighth annual City of Bhangra festival, May 31-June 10.

International and local talent takes the stage in dozens of performances and dance competitions across Metro Vancouver.  Meanwhile hands-on workshops offer visitors a chance to try out bhangra for themselves.   Here are a few highlights:

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Wanna dance? City of Bhangra Festival, May 31-June 10