Virginia School Of Bhangra, also known as VSB, is a relatively new group to the dance community. Unlike most teams that compete in the bhangra circuit, they are not associated with any college or university. Virginia School of Bhangra started off as a summer camp, hosted by GMU Bhangra, called “Bhangra 101.” After seeing a large turnout during the two years it was held, parents wanted a year-round bhangra program for their children. They hoped to see an increase in results, as well as getting connected to the Punjabi culture. With this growing interest, five instructors from Bhangra 101 decided to create Virginia School of Bhangra.
The creative minds for VSB joined together from all across Virginia, where the majority of these instructors formerly attended George Mason University. However some went to other schools, such as James Madison University and the College of William and Mary. Their goal was to establish a successful academy that will enrich students by continue the legacy of the popular Punjabi folk dance, Bhangra, through personalized coaching and routine practices.
Virginia School of Bhangra is open to anyone that is interested in learning Bhangra. Attendees usually range from ages 5-18 years old and their classes are split by age into Junior, Intermediate, and Senior groups. Instructors primarily focus on teaching proper footwork fundamentals (taps, sways, leg lifts). Current students and instructors are very welcoming to new members and everyday they challenge one another to become the best dancers they can be.
For this upcoming season, VSB’s goal is to train their newest dancers and present them with as many opportunities to perform on stage as possible. Last month, they were able to fulfill their dreams by sending a co-ed team to compete at Declaration of Bhangra, a competition held in Philadelphia. On March 12th, they will showcase their skills at Punjabi Mela, which will be their second competition this year in Richmond, VA. They believe this set will be difficult, but they have confidence that their students will perform amazingly on stage.
The biggest challenge within their circuit is the fact that they are a new team and competitions tend to lean more towards teams with experienced dancers. Most up and coming teams might find this discouraging and intimidating, but given the level of passion and dedication of VSB’s dancers, they are positive that their hard work will pay off. Similarly, members of VSB feel like the best thing about their team is the level of commitment their instructors and dancers present everyday. They go into practice with the mindset that it is the last one before a competition. Their students thrive under pressure and accept any and all challenges presented to them.
Even though they are a new team, they have a few traditions. One is giving back to the community in an annual charity event. This past year, they participated in the “Race for Every Child 5K” and raised $4597 for the Children’s National Hospital. The participants included students, parents, and instructors. Another is their team chant, “Who are we? V-S-B!” They love to show their team spirit and are proud to shout it out at any chance they get.
Their most memorable moment, as a team, was at Declaration of Bhangra because it was their first performance and it put VSB on the map as a competitive team. It was also a very defining moment for them because they watched a recording of it, after the show, as a team. Seeing themselves on stage for the first time together gave them all a sense of accomplishment and just pushed them to do even better for future competitions. The performance can be viewed below.
3 Fun Facts about VSB:
- The dancers who performed at Declaration of Bhangra ranged from 12 to 27 years old.
- We celebrated our 1 year anniversary on September 28th, 2015.
- We quadrupled enrollment in one year from 12 to 50 students.
Please feel free to follow VSB on any/all of these accounts:
Official Website: http://vabhangra.com/