Our panel of six judges come from an array of geographies, demonstrate effective communication, and are passionate about both the current state of bhangra as well as the work done by women’s teams in the past.
Neha has been dancing for almost 10 years and has competed 20+ times, primarily with UNC Bhangra Elite. She captained the team during the 2016-2017 season and led the team to four placings. She has also danced with Capital Bhangra, Natya Academy's Gajjdi Jawani, and NC Di Tohr. Outside of the competitive realm, Neha has shared her passion for bhangra by teaching lessons at Ninth Street Dance, Carolina Indian Arts, and at UNC's campus gym. She also served as a director of Aaj Ka Dhamaka, UNC's bhangra and Bollywood fusion competition, for two years. Neha is extremely passionate about empowering women in the bhangra community, and is excited to help promote this mission with Raniyaan di Raunaq.
Avnit started dancing at the age of 10, when she was enrolled in Surrey India Arts Club. There, she learned the basics of traditional and folk bhangra. She is currently a competitive dancer and instructor at VanCity Dance Club in Surrey, British Columbia. In addition to her experience with VanCity Bhangra, Avnit also teaches bhangra at local elementary and high schools, and community centers. As a judge for Raniyaan di Raunaq, Avnit is committed to providing constructive feedback to teams. She believes she owes it to the women who came before her and is now paying it forward in hopes to help other women thrive in the bhangra circuit.
Ami began her journey in bhangra at Manchester University in 2010, where she had the opportunity to dance at the biggest competition in the UK, The Bhangra Showdown. Ami led Ankhile’s girls team and had the responsibility of creating choreography, formations, building stamina, perfecting performances, and building positive relationships within the team as well as with external teams for four years. Ami founded and is the captain of Vakhri Tohr, a team which demonstrates passion, drive, and commitment towards bhangra. Ami is passionate about women sharing the same level of respect as their male counterparts and believes women can and will one day raise the bar even higher within the bhangra industry, elevating expectations at future competitions.
Ampal Kaur unofficially began dancing back in 2008 but officially started her Bhangra career and truly began mastering the art form with Alamo City Bhangra during its early stages in 2012. Since then, she has competed in over 20+ competitions including Bhangra in the Burgh and placed in competitions such as Motor City Bhangra, Bhangra Fever, Clutch City Bhangra and more. She has helped Alamo City Bhangra become an elite team and is well known for raising the standards for female Bhangra dancers. Over the last 6 years, she has gained much of her experience from coaching, teaching, critiquing and choreographing. Ampal is the current captain of Alamo City Bhangra and has knowledge in building both a co-ed and an all girls set. Her experience in the Bhangra circuit has given her a comprehensive perspective and understanding on the art-form and she strives to bring that to Raniyaan Di Raunaq.
Jindy is a proud co-founder of Toronto All-Star Girls (TAG), a top-tier all-girls' bhangra team. Through TAG, she hopes to empower women and girls to break barriers and engage and embrace Punjabi culture. Jindy has immersed herself in the art of bhangra and giddha for the past 10 years. Jindy now plans to extend her team’s pursuits by giving back to the community with the recent launch of TAG Global Initiative.
Neha Singh has been a part of the competitive bhangra scene for the last 10 years. From dancing at over 20 competitions to co-organizing Elite 8 Bhangra 2010 & 2011, she's developed a deep understanding of the intricate dynamics of stage performance, technical execution, and creativity. Neha was a founding member of D.C. Bhangra Crew (DCBC) and East Side Alliance (ESA), both all-women's bhangra teams. As captain, she led DCBC to place at four competitions. With ESA, she was a lead member and choreographer contributing towards their win against West Side Alliance at World's Best Bhangra Crew 2014. Neha also briefly danced with GW Bhangra, Ministry of Bhangra (MOB), Northwestern Bhangra, and AVA Girls. Despite leaving the competitive bhangra scene, she intermittently teaches bhangra classes, judges competitions, and continues to pursue other dance forms. Most recently, she served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Learn Bhangra, a dance and fitness company, with mobile app users in over 45 countries.
It is important to us that both our judging panel and our rubric are available for teams to consider prior to the application deadlines. Our ask of teams from the start has been to bring their best, whatever “best” means for that unique team. All too often, women’s teams are forced into being something they're not— whether it's trying to design sets “like guys' teams,” conforming to a specific style, or being told they’re not folk or athletic enough. We chose our judges with this context in mind. Raunaq seeks to throw out these expectations while setting a fair and transparent process for reviewing teams’ performances at the competition.
Our process for judging selection included the following:
Initial applications with references included
Interviews with selected candidates
Follow-up with references as-needed
As a result of this careful process, our judges have a collective understanding of different regional styles; have danced on all-women’s, co-ed, and collegiate teams; and should have no affiliations with competing teams.
If you have any questions about our process, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.