Vancouver’s Bhangra Story

Posted by Vinnie Yuen & filed under Dance.

Esther Frid holds "El Atardecer de la Vida," a book she wrote about the stories of seven senior Latin American women living in Canada

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Photo credit: Maurice Li

The Museum of Vancouver will be exhibiting Vancouver’s Bhangra Story from May 5 to October 23, 2011. tells the story of Vancouver’s South Asian community through the lens of Bhangra dance and music, linking Bhangra with issues of identity, politics, diaspora and life in Vancouver.

Bhangra is more than just a colourful ethnic dance limited to the South Asian community.

“Bhangra—and by extension the greater story of South Asians in Vancouver—is deeply intertwined with Vancouver’s own story,” says MOV guest curator and cultural researcher, Naveen Girn. “Bhangra dancers performed at the Montreal Olympics, Expo 86, and Spokane World’s Fair, as well as Vancouver’s own 2010 Olympics.”

Co-curator and researcher Naveen Girn spent one year interviewing over 55 people, filming over 100 hours of documentary footage, and uncovering never-before-seen photographs, video, news articles, and stories.

The exhibit will discuss themes such as:

  • Bhangra’s role in creating an identity and community for Punjabi immigrants in the 1960s and 70s;
  • The growth of Bhangra DJ culture;
  • The role of Bhangra music and dance in labour movements in the 1980s;
  • The emergence of Vancouver as hub for award-winning Bhangra dance talent
  • And how Bhangra in Vancouver has emerged as a platform for intercultural encounters.

The exhibit will also feature costumes and instruments from performances over the past four decades.



About Vinnie Yuen

Vinnie Yuen
Vinnie is a 1.5 generation Chinese Canadian who calls Hong Kong and Vancouver home. She likes story-telling and writing about relationships, gender and identity. Vinnie has a Master of Journalism and B.A. in English Literature from UBC.

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