Bhangra Bash

Pop production numbers, Indian style

Seattle’s bhangra fans (closet or flagrant) can turn off Bollywood reruns for one night and catch the drama live onstage. The University of Washington’s Indian Student Association is hosting nearly a dozen bhangra dance teams from two countries in a competition in both traditional and modern genres (keep your ears cocked for remixes with American hip-hop), including live musicians who sail through the air—never missing a beat on their dohl drums—and whole platoons of whirling salwars (parachute pants). In a celebration that has consistently sold out Meany Hall’s 1,200 seats in years past, same-sex and coed teams of dancers, musicians, and singers do everything from spoofing Bollywood’s love songs to highlighting the traditional harvest celebrations of the Indian state of Punjab. The choreography is vibrant, hypnotic, and joyously evocative of India’s rich artistic heritage. Desi (descendants of the Indian diaspora) dancers also put regional twists on their performances: the UW exhibition team has previously incorporated umbrellas for their homage to Singin’ in the Rain, and the University of Florida’s 2007 group included an orange and blue “Gator Chomp.” As the routines are always a surprise, there’s no telling what sort of fantastical props and stunts will find their way into tonight’s show. Meany Hall, UW campus, students.washington.edu/uwisa/bhangrabash/events. $20-$30. 6 p.m. JENNA NAND

Sat., March 29, 6 p.m., 2008

 
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