Pao Bhangra XVII: The Bhangra Olympics, an exhibition event, was established in 2002 and represents the Bhangra circuit. The founding members wanted to create a fun and stress-free weekend that allowed teams to pursue what they love, while meeting new individuals and enjoying themselves. The event is located in Barton Hall at Cornell University, on March 24th, 2018, and doors open at 6:00PM.
What is the purpose of your exhibition?
The purpose of Pao Bhangra XVII is to bring the circuit together in a celebration of bhangra, in its purest form and without the stress of a competition. Despite the new matchup concept, there are still no placings. It is all about sharing our love for dance, meeting new people, and making memories.
How exactly does your exhibition differ from a competition? What aspects are similar and different?
The entire structure of Pao Bhangra matches that of an actual competition. The main difference is the lack of placings. There is no winning team declared, but each team receives an honorarium of $1000 for performing. The itinerary for the weekend is as follows:
Friday: Teams come in time for mixer, dinner, and practice time before heading to their hotels to rest up for the big day.
Saturday: Teams will have tech time, prep for the show backstage, perform, and then head to the afterparty.
Sunday: We like to have the teams get together one more time to have some breakfast, give out some awards (Best Jodi, Best Nakhra, Best Daari, etc.), and watch each team’s Pao performance thanks to GTV.
Do you only reach out to local teams or is this open to teams nationally?
Pao Bhangra is actually open to teams around the world. All you have to do is fill out an application. All application materials are due no later than January 22, 2018. This is our late deadline. Application link: https://www.paobhangra.org/#paobhangraxvi
What kind of feedback have you received from members of the Bhangra circuit about their experience at Pao Bhangra?
We have received wonderful feedback from various members of the Bhangra circuit.
“There is no better place to explore the celebration of Bhangra than on the beautiful campus of Cornell alongside individuals who are present solely to perform and enjoy.” - Harjot Hundal, Gabroo TV
“Pao Bhangra is my favorite bhangra experience, never has my team had more fun while enjoying the dance we love.” - Sid Pandit, First Class Bhangra
What are 3 fun facts about your exhibition?
First, we usually host four teams and they all perform individually. However, this year Pao comes with a twist. The four teams will account for two of the matchups and Cornell’s very own Mundey and Kudiyan will be another matchup. The winning team of each matchup will be determined by the audience via live poll! The poll will also be shared on GTV’s instagram story so anyone who follows it will be able to vote as well. This will engage more of the dance community because DDN members can have a say in which team becomes the matchup title winners.
Second, thanks to Harjot Hundal (founder of GTV), teams that attend Pao get to be featured on GTV. It is a reputable YouTube channel that covers many other prestigious competitions and bhangra teams across the nation. This means more exposure for the teams that perform.
Third, our introduction ceremony is what really makes Pao Bhangra the Bhangra Olympics. Each team is given a large banner with their logo painted on it. When they are called, they run through the audience, up the stairs, and onto the stage to perform to a unique mix, much like the Olympic ceremony. At the drop of the mix, they unroll their banner and have their moment captured on Pao's stage. It is the iconic, grand opening of Pao, something that we keep doing every year as tradition.