Bhangra and Gidha dance Classes

We run Bhangra and Gidha dance classes for Kids, Adults and older people through out the year.

Some of our popular dance classes are:

Adult Classes are for 17 Years and over. Beginners do not require any previous dance ability. Enrolment to Improvers and Intermediate courses is by tutor assessment.

Please contact us to find out dates for our different terms and how to enrol.

Email: apnavirsaproject@gmail.com

 

Marriage of Memories

Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Marriage of Memories is an exciting project to explore and learn about the cultural heritage of many different wedding rituals, historical traditions & customs of the diverse population. An opportunity to Learn and share about your own as well as others heritage and culture related to weddings. Project involves Research, workshops and exhibitions on different rituals of weddings.

To register your interest or if you would like further information, please contact us via Email: apnavirsaproject@gmail.com

70th Years of Indian Independence

This project was funded through Big Lottery fund as a part of celebrate funding. It aimed to establish a project which enabled the community of Slough to come together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indian independence on the 15th August 2017 and also sharing stories of partition. It was a humble effort to pay homage to all those who lost their lives during freedom fight and partition, making wider community aware about our history and the sad stories around partition as well as celebrating 70 years of India and UK relationship.

 

The project commenced in January 2017 through a programme of music, dance, food and craft based workshops, which took place in various locations across Slough, culminating in a public “Indian extravaganza” event taking place in August 2017.

 

Our approach was to organise a diverse range of workshop activities intended to provide something for everyone, irrespective of their age or background, with the objective of showcasing Indian culture and diversity with the wider Slough Community. In this context, activities and the public event was designed to share the diversity of different regions of India.

 

The project provided a fantastic opportunity for the Indian community in Slough to share our celebration of the anniversary of Indian Independence with the wider communities in Slough. Diversity was intended to be a key theme of the project and by highlighting/celebrating diversity in Indian culture we wanted to promote the principles of engagement and integration across communities, with the objective building tolerance and understanding of cultural differences amongst local communities.

Slough’s Community Ambassadors project for 50+ (2014-2017)

Slough’s Community Ambassadors project was funded through People’s Health trust. It involved working with older people (50+) from the South Asian community living in the selected wards in Slough who are at the risk of social or emotional isolation, with low educational attainment, are hard to reach and suffering from poor health and wellbeing.

As a part of this project, various activities were delivered around health, social skills, community engagement and combating social isolation. Over 100 people who are aged 50 and over took part in this project and benefitted immensely.

 

Main outcomes of this project:

100% of participants reported that they have increased physical activities, feel in better health and feel happier living in Slough.

The project gave participants an increase in confidence and social and personal skills, helping them to build friendships and connections in their community. 100% of participants reported increased self esteem and had made connection/friendship with minimum 10 new people.

The project gave participants an increased sense of belonging to the community and   the opportunity to be an active member of the community.On the basis of feedback received, tutor observations and peer feedback, 62% are being active, showing interests in community engagement

Khaana Khajana

Apna Virsa’s project Khaana Khajana – Wealth of Food was aimed to explore the significance of the heritage of food in British Asian culture, from its importance in religious and cultural traditions to its evolution in Britain. It involved recording traditional recipes, cooking methods, significance behind ingredients and dishes – before they are lost. This project was funded by Heritage lottery fund.

The project aimed to attract new participants and audiences through inclusive and innovative activities, including ‘recipe swap shops’, pop-up cooking demonstrations and food tasting sessions.

This project was a huge success in terms of an overwhelming response from different generations and communities. There was an immediate interest at the launch of the project

Food is incredibly important within the home and in places of faith, where food is often offered to the Gods, and received and eaten together during festivals. Within South Asian culture, recipes are traditionally passed on orally, between generations within families. The fast pace of modern society and breakdown of extended families has impacted these oral traditions, important recipes and their significance and stories at risk being lost. Our project volunteers were trained & supported to capture and share this important knowledge and heritage through oral history interviews and community heritage activities.

The project facilitated important intergenerational, intercultural dialogue, and sharing of heritage skills and knowledge. We worked with ‘Aik Saath’ on including young people and involvement with the research and interviews. Young project volunteers were recruited to interview older project participants. Food workshops, demonstrations and food tasting were delivered by project staff and volunteers to diverse audiences, and included pop-up food workshops at various places.

The project played an important part in addressing and breaking down the existing language barrier to this important heritage being passed on to non Hindi/Punjabi/Urdu speaking residents of Slough. Many of the oral history interviews were conducted in the first language of the interviewees and then translated by project volunteers into English, before being shared through the workshops and booklet/cookbook.

We delivered food workshops, Pop up food demonstrations and a small exhibition where participants shared and learnt traditional recipes and also evolution and transition of indian food in Britain and shared stories related to that. Over 220 project participants learnt new skills in preparing and cooking traditional South Asian food through participation in different project activities.

Booklet/community cookbook:

A free project booklet was created; with collected traditional recipes and the stories behind them. In addition to being a booklet which documents the heritage captured as part of the project, it is also a community cookbook which will inspire readers to learn new skills and recipes.

Contemporary Asian Arts Programme and development

Apna Virsa’s project ‘Weekend of Contemporary South Asian Arts’ was an arts festival of cutting edge in the Slough Town Square with high quality contemporary arts presentations and participation “tasters” providing opportunities for engagement with contemporary South Asian arts to be experienced by over 3000 audience, followed by a participatory workshop programme for approx. 150 participants to maximise local community interest and involvement. This was one of its kind and the very first South Asian Arts festival, which Slough Town centre has witnessed on this scale.

This programme was designed to:-

1) Deliver more cutting edge arts activity in Slough in tandem with the cascading of skills and professional artistic development for local artists and raising the profile of Apna Virsa along with experience of working in partnership with innovative professional, established artists.

2) Reach new people and the wider community in Slough and to increase engagement, participation in and awareness of contemporary South Asian arts (from all communities)

Following presentations/Activities took place on the 21st and 22nd of Sept:

1) Professional Rangoli artists (Artcore, Derby) created a temporary, vibrant public installation of Rangoli (sandpainting) art in the Town Square, in front of the stage area, over the course of the weekend event. Passers-by had an opportunity to create their own work through tasters and contributed to a more elaborate design.

2) Professional performances by contemporary musicians and dance companies Four by Four and Dhol Enforcement Agency (DEA).

3) Community group performances with new collaborations fusions. Steel pan music from Slough West Indian Peoples Enterprise (SWIPE) and bhangra dance from Apna Virsa and also a live collaboration of Steel Pan drums and Dhol (Indian drums)

4) The workshop marquees offered Taster activities in bhangra and dhol. Henna (Mehndhi) & Rangoli (Sandpainting) participation tasters by established Mehndhi artist Riffat Bahar & Artcore.

5) A couple of superb performance by UK’s 1st prizewinning local bhangra group Vasda Punjab along with an energetic Master class.

6) Guest appearance by UK’s renowned upcoming Asian singer Foji Gill and a live flashmob dance sequence led by him, participated in by the hundreds who thoroughly enjoyed the whole afternoon.

7) Guest performance by the local Karan’s Bollywood Master Class with a demonstration session, along with a classical dance performance from local Kathak dance group.

Teej Tyohaar – Our Festivals

The essence of the project Teej Tyohaar – Our Festivals was to provide local people in Slough the opportunity to learn about and participate in South Asian Festivals and the historical, traditional, cultural and art aspects associated with them. This project was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.

Project was set up to run activities which explored the roots behind traditions and cultures associated with Festivals. South Asian Festivals include a series of rituals, preparations, ceremonies and Celebrations and there is a growing need of passing this heritage to future generations, to share with other communities and to explore and enjoy the heritage. This project also focused on getting an understanding about how the traditions and celebrations of festivals have changed over time and also focus on how the heritage relates to the UK for instance how festivals have migrated to the UK, and how South Asian festivals are different when they are celebrated here

in the U.K.

Specific Aims of the Project:

  • Exploring the roots behind traditions and cultures related to South Asian Festivals
  • Encourage participation and intergenerational spirit
  • Explore and Enjoy the Heritage:
  • Promoting and developing creative skills
  • Developing confidence and personal skills:
  • Developing skills and increasing employability/Volunteering opportunities
  • Community cohesion

 

Above aims were achieved with an over whelming response from the community along with few learning which could be incorporated in the future projects.

 

Our project provided around 1000 participants with the opportunity to learn and explore the roots behind traditions and cultures associated with South

Asian Festivals The project conducted a Research through Open days, Visits to heritage institutions, Groups discussions and one to one interviews. Around 40 people from the older generation were interviewed with the support of Slough Museum about their memories, experiences and stories related to Festivals, their experiences of how festivals have migrated to the UK, and how South Asian festivals are different when they are celebrated here? Finding of the Research were fed into the courses and also in developing resources, course material, props and course contents. There was an Exhibition at the end which was conducted at the West wing Arts centre to disseminate the findings of the Research along with a showcase event where our learners performed and shared their newly acquired knowledge about the festivals with the wider community.

Our Events and classes were attended by not only South Asian but also people from different ethnicities and communities. We aimed to involve approx 250 people in this project but we had an overwhelming response from the community and around 1000 people participated in this project through volunteering, Research, activities and as audiences. Participants represented age range from 14yrs till 85yrs. 25 Volunteers were recruited who were learning various skills on the project.

Each Festival which we celebrated with the community was well attended by over 400 people on an average. There was a real opportunity to learn the traditional and authentic ways of celebrating different festivals and also to learn about the historical elements associated with it.

This project inspired 250 participants through different creative activities like creating Rangoli (Sand painting ), Decoration for Diwali, wall of memories etc. which helped to promote awareness, understanding and better communication between different communities. Participants were given an opportunity to explore their creativity.

One of the biggest successes of this project was to bring people together from different communities and also from different generations.

As a result of this project a DVD was created covering all the festivals celebrations which was shared with learners and local community.

Southall Project

We ran a one year project to increase the involvement of women in Southall particularly BME women in sport & physical activity. The London Community Foundation funded this project. Activities included:

5 courses over 10 weeks on Bhangra Aerobics, Bollywood dancing

2 Courses over 5 weeks on Bhangra for fitness

2 courses of 2 hours taster sessions on Bhangra for all

We engaged over 100 women with low self esteem to engage into an informal learning in order to raise their confidence & will eventually help them to tackle their problem of feelings of isolation, rejection and exclusion.

Our project made a huge difference to our service users. Some of the differences that came out very strongly were:

  • Increased physical activity
  • Increase in Self esteem and Confidence
  • Improved social life, made more friends
  • Improved participation in informal learning.

We did feedback sessions at the end of the each course. A continuous demand and high attendance at the courses was another way of finding out how much difference our project has made.

Vivaah-Our Weddings

Vivaah was one of the earliest projects of Apna Virsa and was funded by Heritage Lottery fund in Sept 2009.The essence of this project was to provide learners with the opportunity to learn about South Asian Weddings and the traditional arts associated with them. South Asian Weddings include a series of rituals, preparations and ceremonies and there is a growing need of passing this heritage to future generations, share with other communities and to explore and enjoy the heritage.

Learners had an opportunity through this project to develop their creative abilities and cultural awareness about pre wedding and post wedding ceremonies through the series of workshops/courses, events and sharing and learning from each other. This was an opportunity of embracing culture and a creative way to keep in touch with their roots

Few of the courses for Vivaah project were:

  • How to play a dholki
  • Wedding songs
  • Rangoli
  • Maayia/vatna ceremony preparation
  • Preparing for Jago
  • Giddha
  • Bhangra
  • Bollywood Dance
  • How to play a Dhol

Over 200 people participated in this project including secong generation Asians in learning about the customs and traditions of the homeland as well as raising awareness of arts, crafts, dance, musical activities from the South Asian culture.