Lohri celebrations are incomplete without these folk dance specialists | punjab | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Lohri celebrations are incomplete without these folk dance specialists

Traditional dance and song performances by city-based groups comprises mostly students, young professionals

punjab Updated: Jan 13, 2018 22:56 IST
Jagmeeta Thind Joy
Members of Rabab Bhangra Force group all decked up in traditional attires for a performance.
Members of Rabab Bhangra Force group all decked up in traditional attires for a performance.(HT Photo)

Come festive occasions and marriage functions, Inderpreet Singh ‘Rabab’ gets busy making arrangements. Whether it is a bhangra performance or giddha or any Punjabi folk song and dance “requirement”, Inderpreet is the go-to man.

Also the run-up to festivals like Lohri is packed with back-to-back performances. Incidentally, hosting song and dance performances by professional groups has become de rigueur for malls and corporate institutions in the tricity.

And performers like Inderpreet and his team take to stage with gusto and look to regale the audience with enthusiasm.

“Winters are mostly a busy time of the year. Even though we are selective about private functions and weddings, but you will see us performing at malls, offices and public spaces often. This Lohri we will be performing at a private function,” says the 36-year-old who runs Rabab Bhangra Force, a team of dancers and musicians who are regular fixtures at many public and private events in the tricity.

The team effort

A passionate dancer, Inderpreet found there was an increasing demand for performers in the folk and traditional dance category, not only in the tricity but elsewhere too.

“We started with eight members in 2007, who still form the core group. Many freelance as well as professional dancers and musicians also work with us as partners. We send teams out depending on the requirement,” he informs. The team comprises of a mixed lot.

There are university students from in and around Chandigarh as well as young working men and women from different professions. Bringing them together, as Inderpreet points out, is love for folk dance.

“The boys and girls are mostly from Panjab University and Punjabi University, Patiala.They take part in youth festivals mostly and team up with us when they are free,” explains Inderpreet who teaches bhangra, folk dance and even ‘fitness bhangra’ in Chandigarh and adjoining cities. There are teams for different genres like ‘luddi’, Malwai giddha, ‘boliyaan’ who are called in as per the client’s need.

‘Rang Punjab De’

Come Lohri day and Harpreet Singh and his dance group ‘Rang Punjab De’ will take to the stage at the ongoing Lohri festival at a mall in Kharar. Working with a private bank, Singh is also a bhangra specialist and has performed umpteen times in the region and recently in Dubai as well.

“The group initially had DAV College, Sector 10 students. We were also known as ‘DAV Bhangra 10’ for some time,” says Singh who graduated two years ago. The dance group has a sizeable number of dancers “attached” who are “on call” for the functions.

“We all share same love for folk dance. The feedback we get from our shows. no matter how big or small is the true reward,” says Singh. For their performance on Saturday, a special package of performances has been designed. “Apart from bhangra and giddha we will be showcasing the Lohri special ‘jindua’ dance and also a Pakistani giddha,” informs Singh.

Earlier this week, the sounds of the ‘dhol’ reverberated through a shopping mall as young dholis (drum beaters) took to the stage to sweat it out in a fierce competition.

“Lohri calls for a big celebration and we wanted to showcase traditional dances by giving local artistes a platform. We conducted a traditional ‘boliyaan’ and ‘dhol’ competition,” said Amneetpal Singh, assistant manager, marketing, VR Punjab.

Daljeet Kaur, a BSc final year student at a college in Landran, has been keenly participating in giddha competitions since school days. “I love singing and recently accompanied a group for a sangeet function. I was surprised to see that many girls of my age don’t know traditional boliyaan. I would love to teach at an academy,” says Kaur who is keen to be part of a professional group when college exams aren’t around the corner.

Good pocket money

As Inderpreet Singh points out, for most students who team up for shows, it is good pocket money. “Mostly people do it in their free time and we compensate well. Depending on the requirements, show prices range between ₹15,000 to ₹1 lakh,” he tells. The number of dancers and the duration is what decides the price, says Harpeet who makes sure everyone gets duly compensated.

“Bigger bhangra and giddha teams who perform on stage can cost ₹45,000 upwards,” he says.