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Indian Subcontinent group to stage bhangra dance competition, party

STANFORD -- Sanskriti, Stanford's Club of the Indian Subcontinent, will host its second California “Bhangra by the Bay” competition and dance party, beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 4, in Kresge Auditorium at the Law School on the Stanford campus.

Bhangra is a popular Indian folk dance and music style from the state of Punjab in North India. Traditionally, bhangra was a dance done by Punjabi men to celebrate at festivals, weddings and seasonal harvest. But after migrating to the dance halls of London, Canada and the Caribbean, bhangra dancing and music has evolved and blended with reggae, rap, ska, house and hip-hop styles.

According to Anoop Prakash, Sanskriti co-chair and creator of Bhangra by the Bay, bhangra is different from the classical Indian culture normally featured on local stages.

“The classical dances of India, most often the only kinds that are seen by Bay Area audiences, represent the fine arts of India. But bhangra represents the spice, style and celebration in Indian culture,” Prakash said.

“Sanskriti's goal is to promote South Asian culture. The bhangra competition and party is a way of doing that, focusing on Punjabi culture and tradition,” he said.

In last year's inaugural competition, five Bay Area teams from Diablo Valley, Berkeley, Stanford, San Jose and Fremont exhibited the different styles of dance. In this year's competition, sponsored by Sarovar Restaurant of Sunnyvale, amateur bhangra teams will be judged in three categories: choreography, dance ability and bhangra spirit. Judges will pick an overall winner of a $500 grand prize.

After the performance - at 10 p.m. - Sanskriti will host “the largest bhangra party this side of Punjab” at Lagunita Court dormitory on Santa Teresa Street. It will feature the latest bhangra music and mixes, an array of reggae and hip-hop sounds. Bhangra Perfections will serve as DJ. Last year's party drew more than 500 guests.

The evening is intended to “expose the Bay Area to this vibrant part of Indian culture and also to build ties between the Indian communities in California,” said Prakash. “We hope to again have a diverse audience of Indians and non-Indians.”

Tickets to the competition are $6 and tickets for the party are $8. A combination ticket for both is $10. Tickets are available from Anoop Sinha at (415) 497-9233 or they may be purchased on campus at White Plaza between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. March 1-3. For general information and directions to the show and party, contact Gita Sinha at (415) 497-0523.



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