"Let your arms and legs just fly!" instructed junior Lauren Crispino, speaking loudly above the din of the music and frenzied movements of over 50 of her peers, as she led them in a dance form called Bhangra.
The atmosphere of the Brodie dance studio became increasingly sweltering as the crowd behind Crispino jumped, turned and flailed during Orchesis Dance Club's "dance meeting." The club's weekly Thursday meetings at 6 p.m. usually include a sit-down discussion or showcase of the dances in progress for the semester, but this week was special.
The gathering was one of the periodic "dance meetings," during which a group member gets to share their expertise in some form of dance with the rest of the club. Members may teach any style, allowing everyone involved a chance to expand their dance experience horizons and learn about other forms of expressive movement.
Originating in the Punjab region of Southeast Asia, Bhangra began as a dance of celebration following a bountiful harvest. Crispino explained that this lively art form has become increasingly popular around the world recently, and that Geneseo even has its own team of which she is a member. The team travels to competitions and shows throughout the year, wearing what she describes as "big, baggy, colorful costumes."
Bhangra movements are very extravagant and consist of much swinging of the arms and legs as well as hopping. Throughout the lesson, Crispino encouraged the group to stay on the balls of their feet as much as possible and to keep everything "light and bouncy."
At the end of the meeting, Crispino and another member of the team preformed their entire routine, which included the section they had just taught to the rest of the club. Everyone agreed that Bhangra was not only an entertaining art form but a great workout as well, as they watched the pair jump, hop and completely exert themselves for almost seven minutes straight.
To see a video of a great performance the Bhangra Club put on earlier this year, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=squyjiHBMJg. Orchesis' Fall Showcase is on Nov. 1 in Wadsworth Auditorium. To learn more about either group, visit www.geneseo.edu/~orchesis and www.geneseo.edu/~bhangra. Both of these groups are great ways to learn about and experience something new, while getting an awesome workout and having fun.