Eight teams competed at the first Bhangra Wars competition on Saturday 15th October at the Ramgarhia Community Centre in Leicester. The winning team was from St George’s (University of London) who beat two university teams and five other teams to win a prize of £300 and the Bhangra Wars trophy, both sponsored by official media partner Naujawani.com alongside supported by Simply Bhangra.
The competing teams were Ruhan Punjab Diyan from the University of Manchester; University of Greenwich & Medway bhangra team; Asian Street Remix and Marhak Punjabna Di from Birmingham; Leicester’s Dhamak Punjabna Di; Scotland’s Miss Punjabeez; and Yorksher Punjab De made up of dancers from around the UK.
Bhangra Wars was launched by promoters Desi Kuri Events as an exciting new addition to the UK bhangra scene and the first competition open to all professional dance groups, university bhangra teams and bhangra dance academies within the UK. Promoters Desi Kuri Events hope to expose UK bhangra dance to a wider audience and want to create a buzz of excitement around the dance form and the event did not disappoint.
In addition to winning the competition, St George’s (University of London) were awarded a prize for the Best Choreography. Asian Street Remix won two awards for the Most Creative and Best Contemporary team. Yorksher Punjab De won the Most Traditional team award.
Head of Naujawani.com, the official Media partner and sponsor, Harwinder Singh Mander said, “We were proud to have been chosen as the official Media Partner for Bhangra Wars in addition to our role as a sponsor, but we were even prouder of the performances by so many young people on the stage that night.” He continued,">“Punjabis in the UK have been engaging in traditional Punjabi folk dance since we arrived on these shores over half a century ago. But it is only in the last few years that competitive performance events have become a possibility thanks largely to the power of the internet and a blooming student generation of bhangra enthusiasts. Bhangra Wars was a great night out for the whole family and the promoters Desi Kuri Events should be commended for putting on this competition.”
Naujawani.com offered guidance and financial sponsorship to Desi Kuri Events as well as support through their NachdaPunjab.co.uk discussion forum where members offered advice throughout the months leading up to the competition. Naujawani.com founder, Harwinder Singh Mander explained, “In-keeping with Sikh ideology, we endeavour to give back to the community that we serve, harnessing our experience, profits and network of contacts. Traditional bhangra dancing is seeing a resurgence in the UK and we are so glad to be a part of it. It is impressive that real Punjabi culture has been expressed in this way by so many young people who are born and bred in the UK… it is indicative of how powerful our culture and spirit is and we should not shy away from sharing it with the World.”
Bhangra Wars raised money for the humanitarian charities Khalsa Aid UK & Focus Punjab through the competition. Khalsa Aid has provided relief assistance to victims of disasters, wars and other tragic events around the world whilst Focus Punjab concentrates on their efforts to improve the lives of millions in the Punjab.
Harwinder Singh Mander further stated: “We want to see the proliferation of Punjabi culture in and amongst the UK communities we live in so that our neighbours better understand who we are and where we have come from. The fact that Bhangra Wars raised money for two non-profit organisations that are founded on the Sikh principles of selfless service and universal love which once were the bedrock of the Punjabi nation was even more reason for us to be involved. We are so pleased that Punjabi culture in the UK can help support the Punjabi community so many miles away as well as people in need of all backgrounds.”