Tag Archive: dance

Indian women create history at Kings Cross Station

1 Comment

Celebrating 70 years of India Independence Day

A colourful India descended on the Western Concourse of King Cross Station in London, as women and men from all over India were seen representing their States in magical and mystical folk dances.

Waves of dancers from Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujrat and Kerala to name but a few, performed their dances with pristine grace and pride and dedication.

Inspiring Indian Women (IIW) is a non-Profit NGO that consists of a group of women, headed by director Rashmi Mishra, have an intense passion for art and culture.

The host for the day was the renowned Jay Kumar, a choreographer and dance entertainer who took immense pride in collaborating with Inspiring Indian Women Ltd, this musical extravaganza.  

The Western Concourse of #KingCross Station was ablaze with colourful costumes representing each individual state. While the Southern States represented the serene and calm of India, the northern states were characterised by their jubilation and celebration attitudes.

The people traffic jam on this concourse was evident, when, hundreds of passers by joined in with the celebrations singing and dancing to Jai Ho and echoes of Jai Bharat Mata Ki and Sau bole Sonihal Satsri Akal were booming through the microphones.  

The crowd started getting bigger and the celebrations certainly heated up at the finale when Jay Kumar led the crowd into a massive dance track " Kehte hein humko pyaar se, India walle."

Rashmi commented: “This musical extravaganza, an effort on behalf of IIW Ltd was made for the pure benefit of bringing forward the forgotten folk dances from all states of India.  

“Its an effort to bring forward talent in cultural and Art form and collaborate it with the celebrations of 70 years of India Independence Day.  

“We would like to thank the Management and staff of Kings Cross Station, all the public who helped us celebrate, all the dancers and entertainers who took part in this event and last but not the least to every volunteer who happily gave us their time so that we could bring to you this wonderful musical tribute.

“Also a big thanks you to our tireless coordinaters - the ladies of IIW, Shital Kamdar, Pushpa Mak, Shipra Gomes, Christina Shiju George and Soumya J Krish, just to name but a few.”

Art and dance stitch together

Leave a Comment
PERFORMANCE TIME: SAA-uk will put on a unique outdoor performance in response to a famous sculpture at the University of Leeds

PERFORMANCE TIME: SAA-uk will put on a unique outdoor performance in response to a famous sculpture at the University of Leeds

South Asian Arts weave into the fabric of Yorkshire’s textile history

A local arts charity, SAA-uk, has joined forces with the University of Leeds to raise awareness of public art by producing a theatrical music and song performance, all in celebration of ‘Yorkshire Year of the Textile’.

Yorkshire Year of the Textile, which kicked off in June is a year-long initiative that reflects on the University’s history and has been awarded £98,500 of Arts Council England funding.

For the first time, SAA-uk has had the unique opportunity to create a musical response to a piece of art. The ‘Dreamer’ a Sculpture by Quentin Bell has provided the focus point for the ‘enlightening’ show, which will be performed on the 7th October at the University of Leeds.

Keranjeet Kaur, SAA-uk’s artistic director, explains: “In response to a beautiful sculpture of a woman levitating, we have created a contemporary expression of music, dance and light.

“Working closely with our sound expert, we have recorded the rhythmic patterns in one of the last working Mills, A.W Hainsworth & Sons in New Pudsey and evolved this sound by adding melody and creating a moving performance.

“Five talented artists; Vijay Venkat, Keertan Rehal, Liz Hanks, Jyoti Uniyal and Alex Delittle will perform on the evening and have combined, music, song and dance to highlight the delicacy, fluidity, strength and texture which explores our innate relationship with textiles.”

The show is free to attend and audience members will be treated to the captivating sound of the violin, bansuri (Indian Flute), cello and vocals as well as being dazzled by Kathak dancing, similar to western clog dancing.

The piece will explore the different rhythmic patterns heard in working mills and the monotonous work women and children, both Western and Asian were subjected to.

Professor Ann Sumner, Head of Cultural Engagement from the University of Leeds, comments: “We are delighted to be working with SAA-uk on this innovative and exciting artistic response to one of our most popular sculptures on campus.

“In order to create a sense of weightlessness, Bell worked with Dr Gurdev Singh in the Department of Civil Engineering at Leeds to produce a revolutionary fiberglass cast with a steel armature, that has the appearance of bronze.”

Quentin Bell, nephew of famous author Virginia Wolf, came to the University of Leeds in 1959 when he was appointed Head of School of Fine Art and was later made Professor of Fine Art.

The sculpture was unveiled 34 years ago this month and will provide the backdrop for the 20 minute performances which will take place in the Clothworkers’ yard in the University of Leeds campus at 8pm, 8.50pm and 9.30pm on Friday 7th October.

REVOLUTIONARY: Brown Cow & Arpan create musical movement fusing electronic dance music with bhangra

Leave a Comment

StartUPyetPic copyLeaving behind a high-flying career in tech as a vice president of sales, a US-based man decided to follow his dream of creating music with global appeal and stripping off ‘typical stereotypes’ of desi music.

The brainchild of this movement, Sanj Juneja (aka Brown Cow), had a vision of a crossover track, which would be a unique fusion of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) combined with Bhangra and dancefloor flavours.

Working closely with musical maestro Arpan Bhattacherjee (aka Arpan), Sanj is now all set to create history. Their co-produced finished product called 'Start Up Yet' featuring Shi Wisdom is nothing short of genius.

Shi Wisdom is herself a Redbull Sound Select Artist that has worked with the superstar Drake and co-wrote Rita Ora's mega hit 'RIP' which has so far gained over 55 million views on Vevo.

BrownCow+Arpan_HR (400x400)MTV (both online and televised_ featured ‘Start Up Yet’ as their “Video of the Week” on June 17th, 2016. An incredible feat as this is usually reserved to the largest artist in the industry.

After receiving many accolades for the track, Brown Cow and Arpan worked with one of the most highly acclaimed film companies in Canada - Revolver Films and shot their video over the course of ten days in the slums of Trinidad via Director, Kristof Brandl.

Selecting Kristof Brandl as their DOP was a no-brainer as Kristof has aggregated a tremendous resume spanning in his five-year career, shooting Drake’s “Jungle” Short Film and also Zedd’s, “Beautiful Now” video (over 65M views on Youtube).

Most recently, Kristof was the recipient of the Prizm Prize - Arthur Lipsett Award (this award was presented by MuchFACT, recognizes a Canadian music video artist for their innovative and unique approach to music video art).

The striking video, shot entirely in Trinidad, provides a four-minute escape into the lives of locals and features mesmerising dancers, fast-action motorcyclists. And yes… it definitely matches the intensity and creativity of the track.

“Start Up Yet” is being released by SpinCycled Entertainment Group Inc, an independent Music Label that Sanj founded and he’s recently partnered with Niraj Bhatia, a game-changer in his own right.

Sanj says,: “We’re in a very unique position at SpinCycled where we have the ability to manage global projects that fuse together film, music, fashion, and media, all under one umbrella!

“The release of ‘Start Up Yet’ is just the beginning of our global movement to meld together different cultures, traditions, and perspectives into art”.

Bhangra in Huddersfield: Exhibition explores history of traditional Indian dance

Leave a Comment

bhangra huds museum art (800x532)

bhangra costumes (299x450)Discover Bhangra in Huddersfield

A postmaster from Huddersfield has delivered his latest gift to the town of Huddersfield this past month with an exciting exhibition looking into the past, present and future of Bhangra dancing.

When not stamping parcels, Hardeep Singh Sahota is out promoting the dance he loves, with his latest art exhibition - ‘Bhangra Renaissance’ – now on show at the Huddersfield Art Gallery.

Exploring the growth of Bhangra in Huddersfield and wider afield, the gallery includes a plethora of paintings, instruments and traditional dresses for visitors to view.

Workshops are also being held at the gallery to promote and develop an understanding of the traditional Indian dance in Kirklees.

Hardeep, who has a Masters Degree in the subject, says the exhibition is a continuation of the work he previously carried out.  He has also published a book on the subject two years ago - titled ‘Bhangra: Mystics, Music and Migration’.

“As I was putting the book together, I found myself approaching lots of artists to help illustrate it,” he said.

“I already had the words but I knew in my mind that it would be the pictures that really help people connect with the book.”

Hardeep was able to use pictures from local photographer, Tim Smith, as well as a selection of old archived images.

bhangra huds museum hardeep (800x532)

To further demonstrate the vibrant nature of Bhangra, he contacted artists from around the world to use images which he believed would add to the book.

“I saw a number of really stunning pieces online and had to contact artists to get the rights to use these images in my book,” he said.

“I quickly noticed that all these images needed showcasing on a larger platform. The art gallery gives people a unique opportunity to learn about Bhangra in Kirklees and see how it inspires different art forms. The book is a great starting point but this exhibition is exactly how the art should be displayed.”

He added: “Not all the pieces are done by professional artists though. They are joined on the walls by locally created pieces from art students and even my wife and I have created pieces.”

bhangra instrument huddersfield (800x532)

With ‘something for everyone’ on show, Hardeep urged people to visit the exhibition before it closes next month.

He said: “A lot of people will have heard about Bhangra but to see the story told visually really highlights the cultural aspect of it.

“There is some rich, colourful and vibrant artwork on show here and it is something completely new to Huddersfield. I’m sure you will love it.”

Bhangra Renaissance is a free exhibition that is open to the public and will run until Saturday 19th March.

Deewaan is ‘da one!

Leave a Comment

deewaan1 (1024x643) (800x551)

Sufi meets electronic dance music on the dancefloor!

'Mahiya Ve' is a stunning fusion of Sufi vocals and electronic dance, topped and garnished with live flute and dhol.

Created by the extremely talented UK producer Deewaan and featuring the vocals and lyrics of one of Punjab's top sufi singer/songwriters Sardar Ali, ‘Mahiya Ve’ is the first of many collaborative efforts that are set to delight and amaze in equal measure.

Sardar Ali is the fourth generation in his family to sing professionally. He is regularly seen touring with his Qawwali troupe across India.

deewaan - Mahiya Ve Artwork (350x350)Having previously working behind the scenes at studios with many of Punjab's big name artists, Deewaan has also released on T-Series himself. A chance meeting with Deewaan at a Ludhiana studio has seen him sign an album deal with Deewaan's production company 'The 5th-House' supported by executive producer 'Super Joshi'.

Deewaan is no newcomer to to the music industry. He is in fact, a fast-rising music producer and artist who has worked with some of the world's biggest names in urban music. His credits include Lady Gaga, Kardinal Offishall, Vybz Cartell, Marlon Roudette and dancehall producer Skatta Burrell, amongst many others.

His remix for Lady Gaga, which featured Bollywood singer Ash King, is particularly noteworthy becoming the B-Side to the UK single release of  'Bad Romance' single and featuring on the deluxe edition of Gaga's album in many parts of the world.

An accomplished musician and technology enthusiast, Deewaan prides himself on his abilities to write melodic and emotive songs and uses his technical skills as a mixing engineer to make them sound awesome. His abilities continually allow him to produce innovative songs that are rich in melody, groove and captivating sonics.

Deewaan is also working on a project with reggae veterans Sly & Robbie and Bounty Killer, with whom he performed at the Sumfest Reggae Festival in Jamaica to a crowd of 60,000 strong. The song called 'Runnin It Wild' is scheduled for release in Spring 2016.

Combining his musical talent with a solid background in business, Deewaan is looking set to build on his strong foundation: collaborating, producing and writing the hits of the future.

Mahiya Ve officially releases on the 11th December 2015 via iTunes and other digital stores.

BOL-LEEDS-WOOD: Local student lands part in two Bollywood films

Leave a Comment
CREW: The extras from the film were all smiles on set

CREW: The extras from the film were all smiles on set

FILM: Hishaam Sheikh met Shahid Kapoor on set in Leeds as they filmed for the upcoming film, Shaandaar

FILM: Hishaam Sheikh met Shahid Kapoor on set in Leeds as they filmed for the upcoming film, Shaandaar

A University of Leeds student swapped his textbooks and lecture halls for costumes and film sets last year after landing a role in an upcoming Bollywood movie.

24-year-old Hishaam Sheikh, was selected to be one of the background dancers in the soon-to-be released film, Shaandaar.

Starring A-list names such as Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, scenes from the movie will include musical numbers shot right here in Leeds, with Temple Newsam acting as a backdrop.

Hishaam, who is in his fourth year of studying for a Medicine degree, filmed for a total of six days, after first hearing about the roles through Leeds Bhangra Society.

Members of the local group were approached by the production team prior to filming as extras were needed for one scene, lasting just one day.

Upon completion, Hishaam and other members of the group applied to be involved in a musical number, and landed the parts as dancers.

Dressed as a wedding singer, the local academic, originally from Enfield, London, can be seen alongside lead actress, Alia Bhatt, during the song ‘Gulaabo’.

ACTOR: Whilst studying medicine at the University of Leeds, Hishaam is also a member of the Leeds Bhangra Society

ACTOR: Whilst studying medicine at the University of Leeds, Hishaam is also a member of the Leeds Bhangra Society

Meeting the crew and working on set was a new experience for Hishaam, and one he says he would love to do again.

“It was an amazing experience from the start to the finish,” he said. “When working on the song, we were doing five 12 hour shifts, from 4pm to 4am, but we were well looked after.

“I was able to speak at length with Shahid Kapoor and we spoke about Leeds, London and filming.

“I can’t say too much about the film but it was a great thing to be a part of, especially with the Leeds Bhangra Society.”

Since filming Shaandaar, Hishaam has spent three days working on a separate movie, partially filmed in Dorset, for another future Indian film – House Full Three.

Once again meeting star names, such as Jacqueline Fernandez, Akshay Kumar and Ritesh Deshmukh, the filming took place last month for three days.

“I’ve really enjoyed my two experiences of working on-screen,” he said. “No one in my family has done anything like this before so it is all new but very exciting.

“I would say to anyone who has the chance to get involved in such a project to jump at the opportunity as they don’t come around that often.”

Hishaam says he now wants to finish his medicine degree in Leeds whilst keeping his eye out for more work on-screen to add to his growing portfolio.

Putting the ‘CHA CHA’ in Charity

Leave a Comment
CHARITY: Jay and Bhranti Naik took part in the second annual ‘Strictly Get Dancing’ event for Martin House Children’s Hospice last weekend

CHARITY: Jay and Bhranti Naik took part in the second annual ‘Strictly Get Dancing’ event for Martin House Children’s Hospice last weekend

Evening of dance raises £30,000 for hospice

Fundraisers laced up their dancing shoes last weekend as the ‘Martin House Strictly Get Dancing’ event returned to Wetherby for a night of waltzing and tango.

Fifteen couples competed for this year’s crown in front of a crowd of more than 400 as they danced the night away on Saturday 28th February.

After showcasing their skills in-front of the team of celebrity judges, and a willing audience, it was Ian Naylor and Melissa Magson who eventually came out victorious to claim the dancing title.

Jay and Bhranti Naik, and Julie and Lee Walker finished as runners-up following the event which helped raise an amazing £30,000 for the hospice.

DANCE: The three routines completed on the night by the couple were the Tango, Argentine Tango, and Waltz

DANCE: The three routines completed on the night by the couple were the Tango, Argentine Tango, and Waltz

At the start of the year, many of the couples hadn’t even danced a step in their lives yet after six weeks of lessons, they took centre stage in the annual charity event.

Jay and Bhranti first began working with the hospice via the Give a Gift project over a year ago and decided to take on the dancing challenge as a way of raising money through an initiative their whole family was interested in.

Self confessed ‘avid Strictly fans’, the couple completed the group tango routine to open the show on the night, before the crowd were treated to an Argentine Tango and finally the classic Waltz.

Bhranti said she was delighted to see such a ‘fantastic’ sum of money raised for the hospice, all of which will go towards helping children cared for at Martin House and their families.

Explaining more about why they took up the challenge this year, Bhranti said: “We have two children of our own and every time Strictly comes on the telly, we make a full evening of it, from watching each dance to scoring them ourselves.

“After every series, Jay and I always say we should take dance classes but have just never got round to it. When we heard about this project we put our names down and the whole experience has been really enjoyable.”

MARKS: Judging panel (l-r) Christine Talbot, from ITV Calendar; Jeff Hordley, from Emmerdale; Rose Chadwick, from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance; and actor/teacher Christopher Tauers

MARKS: Judging panel (l-r) Christine Talbot, from ITV Calendar; Jeff Hordley, from Emmerdale; Rose Chadwick, from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance; and actor/teacher Christopher Tauers

Bhranti says she attended dance classes during her youth yet for husband Jay, it was a completely new experience.

“We had around 12 hours in total where we were taught the routines which were quite hard, especially for Jay who has never danced in his life,” she added.

“He did really well to not only learn the right steps but the posture, rhythm and everything else that came with the dances.

“To then perform in front of 400 people was really nerve-wrecking for the pair of us but once we were out there, after the first 10 seconds, you just start to enjoy it.

“There was so much goodwill in the room that the nerves went away.”

All the couples on the night were watched by an esteemed judging panel comprised of ITV Calendar’s Christine Talbot, Rose Chadwick from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Jeff Hordley from Emmerdale and actor/teacher Christopher Tauers.

Meanwhile, Duncan Wood acted as compère for the evening’s entertainment.

Sarah Tarpey from Martin House, who organised the event, said: “Ian and Melissa put on an amazing show, dancing with grace and elegance.

“I am delighted that they won and congratulations to runners up, Jay and Bhranti Naik, and Julie and Lee Walker.

“I am immensely proud of all 14 couples who took part for embracing this event and raising such a phenomenal amount for the hospice.”

If you would like to sponsor Jay and Bhrantai you still can by visiting their Just Giving page ( with all donations going to Martin House.