The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
Hardeep Singh Sahota
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Information: Hardeep Singh Sahota, teacher of Bhangra club dance.
As a boy growing up in Huddersfield, England, Hardeep Singh Sahota was very close to his grandfather, Phuman Singh, who had come to the United Kingdom in the 1950s. He performed religious songs at the local Gurudwara and folk songs at weddings and was the lead singer for the 1970's bhangra group Dewana Mastana.
Although he was primarily a singer, his passion lay much more with dance. Since he was very little, every time there would be a family celebration he would be the first one dancing. Hardeep trained in art at the former Bretton Hall College and taught the subject at secondary school. Currently, he is the formal learning co-ordinator at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Hardeep followed his Master's Degree with a Heritage Lottery Fund project named "Bhangra Renaissance."
Bhangra, a spectacular style of music and dance deeply rooted in the traditions of India's Panjabi region, has gained global popularity, with the United Kingdom playing a key role in its evolution.
He is a leading authority on bhangra and its migration to the United Kingdom, where the Panjabi community in Huddersfield played a key role is establishing the dance and its music in a new home.
Bhangra performance and research have been the other major strands of his life. The University of Huddersfield, noted for its strengths in oral history, has been a fulcrum, with Hardeep's Master's degree followed by the Bhangra Renaissance project and his book, published by the University's Press, titled "Bhangra: Mystics, Music and Migration."
He directs the Royal Academy of Bhangra in Canada which is the first in Canada to offer a formal Punjabi Folk Dance (Bhangra) education with a syllabus consisting of three grade levels. Hardeep was key in the development of this Bhangra syllabus program for all Canadian Dance Teachers British Columbia Branch.
In 2016, he taught at New Mexico's 33rd August Global Dance Camp in Socorro.
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