Learn Bhangra Profile: Harry Singh Baath
As a company focused on bringing bhangra to everyone, we want to give you a taste of the people around the world who are making it happen
Harry Singh Baath is our newest certified bhangra instructor in Hong Kong (HK). We spoke to Harry about the HK bhangra scene, how he mixes Cantonese and Punjabi, and why fitness bhangra classes are a hit there. His first classes started in March. You can find more information about them in our Learn Bhangra classes.
Tell us about yourself, Harry!
Well, I was born and brought up in Hong Kong and can speak fluent Cantonese, English, and Punjabi. Outside of bhangra, I’m a Sales Manager at a British tableware brand looking after their whole Asia and Middle East market.
Knowing your parents emigrated from Punjab, do you ever mix Cantonese and Punjabi when speaking to them?
Ha. Yes, very often. For us, it’s normal, but when other people hear us speak this Punjabi-Cantonese mix, they always get confused or start laughing. It especially happens in Punjab when I’m visiting family and I speak with my brothers and sisters. People are surprised that we can speak Punjabi fluently and suddenly add Cantonese in it.
If we can do it in English, why not Cantonese… How long have you been doing bhangra and what made you want to get into it?
About 12 years ago, after graduating from University, I became more involved in the Hong Kong-Punjabi community, going to Gurdwara, joining a community soccer team, and really listening to bhangra music. At that point, I received an opportunity to audition to perform at a Vaisakhi mela put on by Punjab Youth Club and was fortunately selected. It’s been a passion ever since.
How big is the bhangra scene in HK?
There are many South Asians in HK, but most of them hold British or HK passports and are moving to Canada or the United Kingdom for work or school—HK is getting more expensive and career opportunities are harder to find. Consequently, the general public doesn’t really know about bhangra either.
What are your plans for your new bhangra class?
As the first and only certified Learn Bhangra instructor in HK, I would like to work with local schools and teach the youth bhangra. I’ve already collaborated with local nonprofit organizations to introduce kids to the dance form. Additionally, I’ve hosted several workshops for adults and noticed that people love the fitness component of bhangra. There is a real opportunity to target adults who want to exercise, but don’t like going to the gym and would rather dance. Dance fitness classes are already very popular in HK and I can’t wait to introduce them to bhangra.
What kind of dance is popular in Hong Kong right now?
Bollywood, bellydance, salsa, and other popular forms of dance, but bhangra is quickly catching on—I already have 10 students signed up!
How different is bhangra from traditional Chinese dance?
Bhangra is a totally different rhythm than Chinese traditional dance, so they aren’t alike at all. However, I am interested in incorporating the Lion Dance since their drum beat is very similar to our dhol beat.
What's your favorite bhangra move/style?
You can more about our instructor certification opportunities here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get in touch with Harry!