This NonStop Bhangra we’re revealing a new song, Satinder Sitti’s “Chhankake Chudiyan.” Nina, Vicki, and Rajni have been choreographing our dance to closely match the song’s lyrics. Chudiyan are bangles and chhankake is either the act of jingling bangles on your wrists or the sound that bangles make while being worn. Bangles are central to women’s dress in India, but also have special significance in NonStop and Dholrhythms culture.
Before taking the stage for NonStop each month Dholrhythms has a number of rituals. One of them is the circle of bangles, also referred to as the “ritual circle empowerment,” the “circle of superheroes” and occasionally the “power rangers circle.” It’s a moment to pause as we come together from our various corners of the Bay Area before the craziness of the dance begins. It’s also a chance to recognize our collective power as women, because bangles are a potent symbol of femininity. It’s nearing the end of Theeyan season in Punjab, when young women gather spontaneously away from male eyes to dance as they wish. When we create our bangle circle this Saturday night we’ll be joining together in this spirit of Theeyan, drawing from our own creativity and life experiences to express ourselves through dance.
***photos by Odell Hussey