Gurpreet Sian began playing Dhol over 12 years ago and has been teaching group and private lessons for the last 6. He has participated in international Bhangra competitions with the award winning VIBE and United Bhangra and has played Dhol for the pop Bhangra group Signia, Surya Brass Band, and occasionally with Delhi2Dublin. Gurpreet has also danced in many music videos and movies, as well as taught Bhangra workshops to adults and kids during festival times throughout the lower mainland. Gopi, as he is commonly known, has always taken active interest in the community through his positive influence on South Asian kids. From the hit show "Punjabi Vibes", the trio of hosts, Gopi being one of them, often focus on pressing youth issues. South Asian Arts is his way of providing structure to a passion he can share with the next generation. Gurpreet teaches Bhangra and Dhol classes.
Raakhi Sinha has been dancing her whole life. Having completed her Bharatnatyam Arengetram (graduation) in 1998, she has done many local classical solo performances. Her classical exposure also extends to Kathak, which she is currently training in and plans to complete in the coming years. Raakhi's Bhangra experience is in line with Gurpreet's as she also danced on the same internationally competitive Bhangra team, VIBE, but now dances with the UBC Girlz Bhangra Team. She also has about 15 years of experience in Garba, which is the traditional folk dance of Gujarat. Raakhi has competed nationally on very successful teams, both as a Garba dancer and a choreographer. Raakhi teaches Bhangra Aerobics and Bhangra.
Rayman is a very well accomplished musician. He plays Piano, Harmonium, Tabla & Dholak just to name a few instruments, but his specialty is in Dhol. He’s been honing his skill for the past 20+ years all over the world and makes his annual trip to India for some private training with his Ustad, Ramzu Bhai. Ramzu’s family has a very rich history in percussion music dating back many generations, especially in Dhol. Rayman has performed with the who’s-who of Indian music; he’s been teaching Dhol for well over 10 years; he is one of, if not THE most highly trained Dhol player in North America, and as the head of the Dhol program at South Asian Arts, he looks forward to teaching you how to play the Dhol the right way!
Mohamed Assani is a celebrated Sitarist and Tabla player with a unique sound. He is widely known for his authentic raga performances as well as his creative ability to adapt his instrument to different genres, including Western Classical, Jazz & World Fusion. He began his training on the Sitar from Sri Dharambir Singh and later learned from Sri Mehboob Nadeem. He is now a disciple of Ustad Ashraf Sharif Khan of the Poonch Gharana. Mohamed plays Sitar in the emotive style developed by the late Ustad Vilayat Khan, in which the Sitar is made to emulate the human voice through bending its strings.
As a dedicated and experienced teacher, Mohamed has taught at the Royal Academy of Music (London, England), University of Huddersfield and the BRIT School of Performing Arts (London, England). Mohamed has recently relocated to Vancouver, Canada and teaches Sitar and Tabla at South Asian Arts.
Supreet has been doing Bhangra his whole life, starting from his days in Punjab when he was just a little boy. He has been dancing on P.A.N.J. for 5 years and is one of the lead choreographers and music mixer for the team. “Super”, as he is also known as, believes that the making of a great Bhangra dancer starts with stamina. It’s not just about dancing strong for a minute or two, but dancing as hard as you can throughout the course of an entire routine. That type of determination will prove to be an asset to him as he pursues a career in business.
Chandan has been doing Bhangra for the past 5 years. He has competed with P.A.N.J. and many others teams all over North America. He is a traditional Bhangra dancer who feels the true essence of Bhangra is displayed through complex moves and formations. Let’s just say he doesn’t like to “keep it simple.” He also choreographs for the team and helps arrange the mix of songs within the different dance routines. Like Guriqbal, he is also currently studying criminology.
Harkiran is the founder of South Asian Arts’ competitive Bhangra team called Pehchaan Apni Nachdi Jandi, aka P.A.N.J. She is a criminology student who is currently studying pre-law. She has always had a passion for Bhangra since she was a young girl. During the summer of 2010, she went to India and learned how to execute the true form of Bhangra from competing dancers in Punjab. She is the captain of the P.A.N.J. co-ed, all-girls, and all-boys teams.
Guriqbal has been doing Bhangra competitively for the past 4 years. He is one of the head choreographers for our competitive Bhangra team called P.A.N.J. and has helped lead the P.A.N.J. Boys to multiple top-three finishes across North America. He believes that your facial expressions are one of the most important aspects of Bhangra. Onlookers’ eyes generally tend to focus on a dancers face, so it is imperative that you mesmerize the audience with your facial energy. He also currently attends University where he is majoring in finance.
Kiran has over 11 years of professional and competitive bhangra dance experience. She is the co-founder, choreographer and coach of the first all-female competitive team, UBC Girlz Bhangra. This award winning team has led the emergence of all female, competitive bhangra teams in North America. Her recent notable achievements include performing and opening for the 2009 Juno Awards with Russell Peters and at the 2010 BC Olympic Victory Ceremonies. Kiran currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society (VIBC), which is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to elevating and promoting Bhangra in Vancouver. In 2011, she also cofounded a South Asian Dance and Lifestyle company called Folkfit and continues to share her passion for dance through teaching others. Kiran is also a certified Zumba instructor.
Born in South Africa, Trisha Rampersad has been dancing since the age of four. When she immigrated to Canada with her family, she found her love for dance in Kathak. Trisha has studied with the Nritya Manjaree School of Kathak Dance for nine years, under the direction of Mrs. Madhu Khare. In August of 2004, she performed “Nrityangan,” a graduation performance, earning her the title of “Nrityamani.” Trisha has been privileged to attend classes and workshops held by the present day greats in the Kathak world (Pdt. Bhirju Maharaj Ji, Kumudini Lakhia, Maulik Shah, Aditi Mangaldas, Saswati Sen) and she continues to further her learning. Her passion lies in the fusion of the various dance forms, as she believes that there is truth within art. “Dance, this spiritual movement, transcends all boundaries we mere humans have inflicted upon this Earth. It frees the soul and fuels the spiritual journey."