I’ve been meaning to write about Bruin Bhangra for the last couple of weeks but finals and work have made me really busy. School is winding down with graduation this coming Friday. Unfortunately, though I will be walking, I still have one more class to finish over the summer. But my Capstone paper (100+ pages) is finished and turned in now so that’s a huge relief. At work, our company recently got acquired so the last 2 weeks have pretty much been an HR nightmare. On top of keeping up with normal work, there is so much paperwork to go through and fill out.
Anyways, in the middle of all of that, Bhangra Empire went to Bruin Bhangra on Memorial Day weekend and came back with a first place victory. Usually, I would do a recap of the weekend/competition but since I wasn’t there this time, that would be a little difficult. Instead, I’ll highlight a couple of factors about the competition and our performance that stuck out to me and try not to be too random.
The title of this post refers to two separate situations that occurred during Bruin Bhangra weekend. These two incidents initially looked like difficulties the team would have to overcome to be successful at Bruin Bhangra (note: successful does not mean win). However, in my opinion, after looking at them a little closer, they actually worked in our favor. Hence, both incidents were actually blessings in disguise for us. (I’m pretty sure a good writer wouldn’t have to explain his title. Oh well).
The first situation was my absence Bruin Bhangra weekend. The team didn’t take this news too well, initially. However, they pushed forward. People took charge and took the necessary steps to make sure the team was ready to perform. Competition day came around and the team sent me their rehearsal video. In all honestly, I think it was one of the best rehearsals Empire has ever had. I think a lot of this had to do with watching a video of it, as opposed to seeing it in person. If I was there in person, I would have definitely seen more issues, and being the way that I am, I would have tried to fix them. Instead, I gave a few pointers from the video that I saw and that was it. Going into the show, I felt like the team needed an extra push in confidence. And as weird as it sounds, I feel like me not being there, was the perfect confidence boost.
Secondly, on Saturday night, we drew number 3 at the mixer. This meant we would be going 3rd in the show out of 10 teams. It’s no secret that going early in the show is difficult. Since bhangra competitions are normally a predominantly south-asian event, a good majority of the audience shows up fashionably late. And nobody wants to perform in front of a half-empty audience. But luckily for us, the competition started nearly an hour late. And when the team went up, the place was packed. Also, the way the show order ended up, the first half of the show provided a lot more variety than the second half. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of strong teams went towards the end of the show, but they had very similar styles and could easily blend in with each other. I remember telling Puneet that out of the first 3 or 4 acts, I predicted one team would place due to the show order. So even though the team was a little down about going early in the show, I think it was definitely an advantage for us.
After the team performed, I talked to each person over the phone. Every single one of our dancers was overwhelmed with excitement. Most of them said it was the best performance of the year for them, individually. Others raved about how amazing the crowd was. Right then and there, I was happy and satisfied. Without even seeing a video of the performance, I got the feeling that each dancer felt like all of it was worth it. By the time the announcement of who won came around, I was getting regular updates via text message and Facebook from the team. Special thanks to everybody on the team for making me feel like I was there, even though I wasn’t.
Anyways, the award announcements began and Puneet texted me that DRP had placed 3rd. My prediction was correct. DRP had performed second in the show, right before us. Unfortunately, I was pretty sure the fact that DRP placed, meant we would not. I even texted Puneet telling her not to worry about it and to be proud of the performance. Puneet then texted me that ABC and AEG had tied for 2nd place. And then there was no text message for a few minutes. I was actually driving back from campus at the time. And then my phone lit up. It wasn’t a text message from Puneet. It was a tweet from one of our followers, announcing the results. Twitter coming through in the clutch. I quickly opened the tweet (do you open tweets?) and saw that Bhangra Empire had won. Instinctively, I actually yelled out in the car. This was weird because, in the past whenever we won, I never really yelled or celebrated that much. But for some reason, it just came out. Looking back at it, if somebody had seen me, I would have definitely gotten some weird looks.
But I was extremely happy for the team. As much as I say “placings do not matter”, they do give that extra sense of satisfaction. And winning Bruin Bhangra is no easy task. I was happy that the group had worked hard all year, and deserved this. As for the actual performance, once I saw the video, it was solid. The team hit all the big aspects of the routine, had great energy, and performed really well. There were a few mistakes here and there, but that happens no matter how much you practice. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the 2011-2012 competitive season.
Lastly, I happened to come across the Bruin Bhangra 2009 team picture after the show. Comparing that to the 2012 picture, as seen above, there are only 3 members (Puneet, Danish, and Kiranjit) that were in both pictures. Looking at the two pictures side by side emphasizes one of Bhangra Empire’s main philosophies. Bhangra Empire has never been about individual dancers. It has been about people coming together and working hard to achieve a common goal. It has been about people making sacrifices and checking their egos at the door. It has been about not worrying about who is in the front and who is in the back, and only worrying about how the team looks as a whole. With that, I’ll leave you with our Bruin Bhangra 2012 HD video (which I’m sure most of you have already seen). Special thanks to Harjot Hundal from GTV for once again providing such amazing video quality. Enjoy!