"The ending was beautiful when they did the gesture"
The different forms of South Asian dance all have unique characteristics, but these Bhangra dance performances show you why it is set apart as the elite and most popular form of Desi dancing.
Bhangra in all its forms is joyful, energetic and most of all, vibrant.
Songs are full of rhythm, bass, catchy lyrics and historical instruments that date back to old folk Bhangra in Punjab.
The dancing is equally rich. In most cases, women don a traditional salwar kameez and the men opt for lungis with colourful turbans.
They create exciting routines using flashy footwork and flexible movements where they dip, jump, twirl and hop around the stage.
These Bhangra dance performances exhibit how truly magical this art form is.
Likewise, modern groups are expanding the style by dancing to more urban music and testing how versatile Bhangra can be.
So, here are the best Bhangra dance performances to feast your eyes upon. Who knows, you may even pick up a step or two!
Kicking us off are self-proclaimed as “India’s premier Bhangra Crew”. Folkin Desi have over seven members which all bring different personalities to the stage.
They lit up the crowd in 2018 when they performed a routine to Daddy Yankee’s 2010 anthem ‘Gasolina’.
The fusion of South Asian dance and Latino music went perfectly together.
The track is powerful and gave a platform for Folkin Desi to bring an unparalleled amount of energy.
They then bring in instruments like the saap and khunda to use in their choreography against tracks like Mankirt Aulakh’s ‘Khayal’ (2018).
A person who enjoyed the routine was Javier Rodriguez who commented on YouTube:
“As a Latino, it is so interesting seeing Punjabis dancing this cool mix with ‘Gasolina’. So good.”
Another fan, Gurnoor Khurana, added:
“Never seen such a wonderful mashup being so aptly prepared and done to amp up any ambience.”
The whole performance is over six minutes long which is impressive.
It’s clear their bodies are trained to withstand numerous moves, cater to the crowd and use instruments whilst dancing – all whilst having a smile on their faces.
For many, it’s no surprise that BFunk is on this list of the top Bhangra dance performances.
The lead duo of Shivani Bhagwan and Chaya Kumar have been catalysts for bringing Bhangra and South Asian dance to modern generations.
Their unique mix-ups of traditional dance and hip hop or pop songs have gone viral for years on social media.
But, one of their most popular showcases is this dance to DJ Vandan’s 2015 remix of Miss Pooja’s ‘Nakhreya Mari’.
BFunk cleverly use some Bollywood-type movements to slow the routine down but then transition into fantastic Bhangra moves when the track speeds up.
You’ll find all the elements of a proper Bhangra routine here. An endless smile, hand gestures, shakes and shimmies.
What’s more fascinating about this is the other dancers that take on the choreography. Most notably, the second performer, who put her own spin on each move with effortless energy.
Whilst Bhangra dance performances usually have more than one dancer to emphasise each move, this one-woman routine to DJ Sanj’s historical track ‘Das Ja’ (2005) is incredible.
BHANGRAlicious is headed by Amreen Gill, a trained dancer and actor who also teaches Bhangra on YouTube for fitness purposes.
Amreen is based in Vancouver, Canada, and started to dance when she was only four years old.
She trained in Amritsar, India, for six years, learning the ins and outs of Bhangra, gidha and Bollywood styles.
So, it’s clear to see how Amreen brings all this experience in this highly energetic performance. Her moves fuse all her training together and produce a hypnotic piece of choreography.
From intricate footwork to seamless body transitions, this effortless routine engages you right from the off. One viewer, Baljeet Singh, stated his love:
“Just saw you dance, honestly it was perfect, beautiful expression, clear moves, actually you are beautiful!
What a performance! WOW!!!”
Another fan, Vice Roy, added:
“Those movements are pretty sharp. People who Bhangra know how much stamina it requires.”
With over 4 million YouTube views, Amreen is shining a new light on Bhangra dancing and how fun-filled it can be, even by yourself.
India’s biggest Bhangra academy, Downtown Bhangra, captivated audiences and judges when they performed on India’s Got Talent in 2021.
With 51 members on stage, the group gave a magical display of creativity, passion and skill.
Whilst there were numerous dancers, each section of the routine was executed perfectly.
Also, each part of the stage was filled with different choreographies but they all gelled together in uniform.
All the individuals were dressed in beautiful navy and pink colours which added the Desi flavour to the moves.
Interestingly, the group were told at the last minute that they had to prepare a different set of songs than the original ones.
This meant that this whole performance had a minimal rehearsal but impressed off the unique relationship and talent the dancers all have.
The judges which included Shilpa Shetty and Kirron Kher were equally fascinated and gave a standing ovation at the end.
With over 3 million hits on YouTube, California-based group Bhangra Empire showcased this amazing tribute to legendary singer Sidhu Moosewala.
Sidhu, who passed away in May 2022 was a trailblazer for many. Therefore, Bhangra Empire knew dance was the best way to show their utmost respect for the great musician.
Opening with a lovely video tribute, the group then start off the electrifying routine to ‘The Last Ride’ (2022).
Similarly to Folkin Desi, the dancers use saap’s to hype up the crowd and get everyone up and bouncing.
The seven-minute routine spans Sidhu’s catalogue and goes from tracks like ‘Dollar’ (2018) to ‘Sohne Lagde’ (2019) to ‘Old Skool’ (2020).
As the audience cheered the dancers on, many others shared their admiration online, flooding the video with comments. T Mar said:
“The ending was beautiful when they did the gesture, happy tears.
“WELL DONE to the dancers and whole team who made this possible. We will always keep him alive, thank you for this wonderful tribute!”
Ritika Attree added to this by saying:
“The performance just gave goosebumps from the beginning to the end.”
“This is the real tribute to the legend…you will be always in our hearts.”
Featuring a mixture of pacey and more intricate dance steps, Bhangra Empire put on a thrilling showcase of flair and groove.
This is all part of their motivation to stay connected to their culture and also spread it to mainstream audiences.
These iconic Bhangra dance performances will set your eyes alight and prove that the dance form is an everpresent art form in the culture.
It’s also pleasing to see such a skilled craft performed on stages across the world.
Although these dancers are highly talented in their own right, their moves are symbolic of those first created by Punjabi people during harvesting, all those years ago.
Cast your eyes on these performances and the fascinating expression this dance lets out.