Ilford bhangra dancers perform at ‘electric’ Olympic Closing Ceremony

An entertainment group from Ilford made history on Sunday by becoming the first company to perform bhangra, a type of Indian dance from Punjab, in an Olympic closing ceremony.

Bhangra dancers from VP Entertainments, based in Ley Street, performed alongside Eric Idle’s solo Always Look on the Bright Side, to a crowd of 80,000 at the Olympic Stadium.

VP Entertainments was chosen ahead of a reported three or four other bhangra groups after the auditions earlier in the year and made up part of the troupe that performed at the ceremony.

Paravjeet Singh Souni, 30, a co-partner of VP Entertainments Bhangra section and one of the dancers, said: “The whole team was touched to be a part of the ceremony.

“We really wanted to do it. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone.”

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“I have been doing it [bhangra] for nearly 13 years now so it was like all the hard work over the years came together in this great reward.”

The bhangra music used in the ceremony was produced by VP Entertainments. The dance group showed their range of moves to the choreographers who then decided what the best routine would be.

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Owner of VP Entertainments Gurdeep Rehinsi, 29, of Goodmayes, said: “We knew the ceremony would be very British and we wanted to show the Indian culture that is in Britain at the moment.”

Harkirat Singh Degun, 19, of Church Road, Newbury Park described the atmosphere in the stadium as “electric”.

He said: “I was really excited on the night and a little bit nervous but as soon as we went out and heard the crowd roar it gave us energy to give it our all. All you could see was the stadium flooded with colour.

“It all seemed really surreal that I actually got a chance to perform in this once-in-a-lifetime event. It still hasn’t sunk in that I have gone and done that.

“I feel like I’m part of history and part of that Olympic legacy.”

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