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Inside the Bhangra Showdown with Kingston Uni!

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After a series of auditions and two and a half months of solid rehearsals the day of the biggest student Bhangra event in the UK arrived: 5th February...The Bhangra Showdown 2011.

The teams arrived at The Hammersmith Apollo at 8.30am, well I say 8.30am, but Punjabi’s are renowned for their ‘desi delays’ so dancers were still arriving at 9am.

The first thing we saw when we were escorted into the venue were the thousands of seats, the venue was huge! Then I took one look at the stage and the excitement kicked in.

We were shown to our dressing room. Once we had unloaded we were moved to another venue for a rehearsal. There was a slight delay in between us arriving at the studio and being able to go inside as there was another team in there, so we thought we’d have a run through in a car park; that’s how we roll at Kingston!

We got to the studio and practiced without the music before we were led into a larger hall for the rehearsal with music. For me this wasn’t the best I’ve ever danced...the nerves had definitely kicked in by this point and were over-riding most of the other emotions I’d felt up until that point.

Once we returned to The Apollo we began getting ready for our dress rehearsal on stage. We only had one shot on stage before the actual performance, so it was time to get serious. Although it went much better than the first practice I was still really nervous!

We returned to the changing room to finish getting ready and were then taken to a coach where we waited until it was time for us to perform. Kingston were 5th on stage so it was a long wait before we were called back into the venue. When we were asked to come inside it was a nerve-wracking walk back to the changing room and then to the stage. My heart was practically in my mouth!

While we were waiting on the side of the stage we saw St Georges’ finale which was really good. Watching them put me slightly at ease because you could tell how much they were enjoying themselves. St Georges came off and our male dancers got ready for their opening set.

With props, formations, energy and a stunt they definitely opened the set with a bang. Lights out: here come the girls! As soon as the eight boys switched their LEDs on spelling ‘KINGSTON’ the crowd went crazy! All the nerves disappeared and a huge smile spread across my face...time to Bhangra! My heart was still racing as I was about to do a stunt with one of the other dancers, but this time it wasn’t nerves, it was more like a rush of adrenalin, the kind you get at the start of a rollercoaster. Again, I could hear the crowd as we were performing the stunt and it made all the times I’d fallen off, bruised my knee and banged my head worth it!

The performance was over before I knew it. Two and a half months of solid rehearsals had transformed into 7.5 minutes of magic. We didn’t know who had won at this point but the appreciation we received from the crowd and just knowing that we’d pulled it off made my night.

We waited in the coach while the five remaining teams performed and then for the votes to be counted. We could hear the winner being announced as the coach was parked right outside the hall. Imperial were the runners up and Birmingham had won the Bhangra Showdown 2011.

Although we were disappointed that Kingston hadn’t won we loved our performance and had an amazing experience.

Since the Showdown the official results have been released. Kingston came 4th which is a real achievement as it really was a tough competition. Everyone upped their game this year and I’m sure the competition will go from strength to strength in coming years.

For anyone wondering whether the Bhangra Showdown is for them...DO IT!!! It’s something you’ll never forget and will cherish for the rest of your life, I know I will.


Images by Studio 4 Photography (Website - studio4photography.com )

Article By Sarb & Manj Mann

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