In the past few years, Bhangra has enjoyed an unprecedented, and at times inexplicable surge in popularity all over the world. Naturally, in India and the UK, Bhangra has had its place in culture for quite some time. However, in other places overseas - specifically, in the United States - it has recently become a regularly acknowledged, and frequently enjoyed art form. So what has brought about the spread?
In part, it's the general "rise" of Indian culture in worldwide markets. The film "Slumdog Millionaire," while it certainly doesn't need to be referred to in any article on anything Indian, undeniably opened much of the world's eyes to the beauties of the country and culture, and this has made elements of that culture more popular in the years since. Young Americans might search for Bhangra clips online, or even find Punjabi films at Picture Box Films online. And as a consequence of this exposure and interest, Bhangra is now expanding in a most unexpected forum: on U.S. college campuses.
A May article in USA Today detailed the spread of Bhangra in University clubs, and even in intercollegiate competitions (similar to those traditionally held in India). The fact is, there are significant Indian and Indian-American populations at many of America's biggest and best schools, and in retrospect it seems as if it was only a matter of time before this fabulous dance and celebration style rose up in the United States.
Perhaps most symbolic of the rise of Bhangra in U.S. schools is the event known as "Bhangra Blowout," a massive competition between schools, held annually in Washington, D.C. Internationally recognizable schools from all over the United States take part in this conversation. The competition was started by George Mason University back in 1993, but has exploded in popularity in the past couple of years. Last year, the University of Virginia won the competition, with other prominent east coast USA schools - Duke University, North Carolina University, Carnegie Melon, University of Connecticut, and many more - frequently taking part in the competition as well.
And the best part is, Bhangra Blowout is only one example of the massive, and continually rising popularity of the dance. Throughout the United States, various competitions exist, primarily for college dance clubs, and in some circles the dance is being taken about as seriously as a registered college sport! It seems as if the U.S. has finally gotten on board for good!