Dance without a care (or knowing any of the music) at Basement Bhangra

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When I lived in San Francisco, I was a 5 minute walk from Public Works, an event venue that hosted a variety of parties and performances. One of the parties that I attended was a monthly event called Non-Stop Bhangra — a dance party that celebrates Punjabi music and dance. In short, I had a great time taking myself away from my normal haunts and usual activities.

When I arrived to New York, I was already tipped off to the NYC Indian Dance Party called Basement Bhangra that plays at Le Poisson Rouge every first Thursday of the month.

Yet, despite my desire to go and after nearly a year into my moving here, I didn’t get the chance to go until their July event.

Basement Bhangra July 2014

With a couple of my friends, we spent over three hours dancing and smiling to Bhangra music infused with house, electronic, hip-hop, and reggae. Usually, I only truly enjoy dancing to music that I know, but with Bhangra, that hasn’t been the case. There’s something in the rhythms and the beats of the music render the need for lyrical familiarity unnecessary.

On top of the great music, the dancing is also something that makes the event so enjoyable. The movements are so free and full of joy that I don’t feel self-conscious trying to mimic them (and don’t feel bad if I get it wrong).

Much of the reason I am able to enjoy Basement Bhangra so much isn’t in just the music and dancing, but also in large part to how much the crowd is smiling and enjoying the music – just the overall energy of the crowd is completely positive. Clearly, this is a space that the South Asian community needs and an event that they look forward to.

On that particular night, Basement Bhangra welcomed special guests Drumline Entertainment (UK), whom turned an already sweaty night of non-stop dancing bubble over with their Drol drumming combined with top 40 hip hop hits. Watch a couple sweaty, shaky smartphone videos I took of their performance.

If you decide to go Basement Bhangra, I suggest you wear clothes that you don’t mind getting soaked in sweat.

Drum line at Basement Bhangra

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