Dancer, Choreographer, and Instructor.
Hello! Welcome to Bhangra Diaries. My name is Manjot Bal and I live in Surrey, British Columbia. I haven't always lived here though. I was born in Amritsar, India and immigrated here at the age of 5. Through my experience with dance, I feel that I know my homeland even more than if I had stayed back there in Punjab. Besides being a lover of dance, I am also attempting to pursue a degree in Law. One way that I destress is by dancing to all kinds of music and moving my body every single day.
My journey started in the realm of dance at the age of 7 at BC Cultural Bhangra Academy, located in Surrey, BC. I started off learning Bhangra however my heart was always set on Gidha. Finally, a Gidha Instructor joined BC Cultural and I was able to learn what I really wanted to. She taught us boliyan, tarhi(clap), addi marna(Gidha step) and so much more. I was intrigued to learn more about this. So I bought a Saggi Gidha CD (who remembers those days?) and listened to it multiple times a day for weeks on end. My passion for dance had been ignited. Over the years, I learned from a number of instructors, all special in their own ways. One instructor taught me the importance of folk in Gidha, while another taught me the beauty and excitement that modern elements can add to performances. Every single instructor instilled in me a desire to learn more.
Eventually, I joined Bhangra again. While balancing so many activities including swimming lessons, tae kwon do training, keertan and gurbani classes, I learned that dance was something that made me happy like no other activity could. Despite being the worst dancer on the team, being completely off beat in the beginning, and questioning my ability at every stage, I stuck with it largely because of my instructor, Rupee Kainth. Rupee Kainth was not only an exceptionally dedicated dancer but an inspiring mentor. He preached the importance of discipline, practice, and hard work all through my 10 years of dancing at BC Cultural.
SFU Bhangra Club under my leadership has grown tremendously from a club of 10 students to 50+ students, danced at various community events, created videos that showed the importance of dance. They are continuing to spread the message by being active on social media and in the school community.
I have also been an Instructor at Vancity Dance Academy, the LEAD dance academy in Surrey, British Columbia. I believe, here is where I developed the most in the capacity of a choreographer. Dancing at Vancity, where the team always comes first has been a phenomenal experience.
WHAT AM I DOING NOW?
Over the years, I took part in a multitude of dance teams and performances which eventually made me an expert in Bhangra and Gidha, two folk dance forms originating in Punjab. Now, I am pursuing my passion through Bhangra Diaries on Instagram, Youtube, and other social media sites as well as instructing as a Freelancer. Through my journey of dance, I have discovered the beauty and joy in these two dances which have allowed me to further share them with you.
BHANGRA DIARIES: NAKHRA COMES FIRST.
Through Bhangra Diaries, I hope that I can make your day brighter and more entertaining through my videos and also increase your knowledge by sharing what I know! It's important for me to convey the roots of where Bhangra and Gidha came from and I aim to do that through weekly (but most probably monthly) blog entries. I want to show you that dance is more than just movement. Dance can be whatever you want it to be, whether it be stress-relief, a way of expressing your feelings, or even something that you just enjoy watching. I also want to inspire you no matter what skill level you're at to step outside of your comfort zone and maybe even discover that Bhangra or Gidha is your passion.