SHS Punjabi Club Offers Inclusive Dance Experience
Sierra high school is the second club in the district with a Punjabi club after Manteca High School.
Junior, Muskan Saini, began a chapter at SHS with the intentions of representing a diverse group of people. In addition, to share her love of Bhangra dancing with fellow high school students.
Bhangra dancing originated in the Punjab region of India and was used to celebrate a good harvest.
Muskan Saini and club member Isheka Kumar, 11th grade, often talk about the origination of Bhangra dancing during club rush to attract interest in the club.
The club meets weekly to rehearse choreography for school events such as the Lobo Gold rallies and multi-cultural week.
In their first year at Sierra High School, the club consisted of 10 members, the majority with a background in Bhangra dancing.
For beginner dancers, it was difficult. Many had trouble breaking out of their shell in front of experienced members who compete in Bhangra competitions in the valley. Members overcame their fears after hours and hours of practice.
That year, Sierra High School’s Punjabi club showed everyone the colorful and exciting energy of Punjabi culture.
By the time club rush rolled around for the 2018-2019 school year, the Punjabi club attracted and received an additional 18 members. Not only did the club increase in size, but new members from various backgrounds joined the club as well.
New member and junior at SHS, Jake Alton, believes that the club, “shows diversity on campus and allows people like me to be recognized, regardless of my culture or background.”
Many more non-ethnic members also represent the Punjabi club at Sierra High, including senior, Cyrus Hunter, who said, “I originally joined the club to make new friends, but I’ve come to love Punjabi culture. Bhangra dancing has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone.”
President Muskan Saini began to dance at the age of 8 years old. She accredits her teammates and her coaches throughout the years for making her the leader she is today.
Muskan dances competitively on her team Virse De Shokeen (VDS). They have performed in a wide variety of competitions spanning from Sacramento, to Los Angeles, to Canada. VDS has been featured in many music videos with artists such as Fateh Doh, Gary Bassi, and Surjit Khan.
With Muskan’s seasoned knowledge in Bhangra dancing, the team reached new heights.
Her efforts extend beyond the practice of dance. Her nights consist of arranging playlists, choreographing dance moves, and promoting her club through social media and the school.
She says, “I think the Punjabi club will grow into one of the more well-known clubs on campus who are not only involved with their school but with the community as well.”
More recently, the SHS Punjabi club did a collaborative dance with Manteca high school Punjabi club.
Now, the club aims to further increase the size of their club, participate and volunteer in community held events in Manteca, and most of all, to promote inclusivity on campus.