Bhangra dance routine wins over US

Bhangra dancer, certified fitness instructor Sarina Jain

Sarina Jain

  • Balle balle, Hadippa," the chorus chants breathlessly, as the sweaty and bouncing group of New Yorkers moves to the rhythm of the latest workout in aerobics exercise.
    They are performing bhangra, the Indian rural dance from the northern state of Punjab.

Bhangra is one of the trendiest of fitness and exercise routines, and is fast emerging as a popular alternative to regular aerobics among Americans, winning rave reviews from the fitness gurus. .....more

"Masala bhangra", as Fitness instructor Sarina Jain calls the new exercise programme.
Increasing interest in Punjabi music by American pop artists such as Jay-Z and Britney Spears
have fuelled the popularity of the bhangra workou


After being an instructor for so many years and dabbling with various exercise routines like cardio-vascular workouts, salsa and step aerobics, Jain has now started her own style of a heavy-duty and fun workout known as Masala Bhangra.

The workout was born out of Jain’s obsession for fitness and love for the north-Indian folk dance. However, she says, “I am not just a bhangra dancer, I am a certified fitness instructor.”

Her love for dancing began in 1990 when she was 15. In high school, she used to exercise at a recreation centre next to her house. One day, the fitness instructor needed her to take over. Said Jain, “It never occurred to me that it was going to be my career; it was just an awesome hobby.

The instructor at the gym pushed me to start teaching step aerobics. I became really good at teaching and I would see students who would follow me everywhere I went. And now, 10 years later, I teach step, cardio-salsa and hip hop in the best time slots at all the top-notch gyms.”

A graduate in marketing and communications, Jain worked in a public relations firm for a few months, and then in 1999, got intensively involved in the fitness industry after her father passed away after a massive cardiac arrest at the age of 47.

According to her, “When he was 40, he had a mild heart attack and had to work out, so I made my parents join a gym to get them to stay active. It was the lack of fitness in old people that made me think of starting my own business.”

She created her own company, Masala Dance & Fitness, Inc and produced two fitness videos based on bhangra, the high-energy dance from Punjab. Thus the Masala Bhangra™ Workout was born. The first and second in a series, the videos have become popular and leading fitness and beauty magazines call her the Indian Jane Fonda.

Her PR background helped her gain popularity and Jain has successfully marketed and promoted her own workout on America’s KTLA — Channel 5, NBC’s The Ainsley Harriet Show, Cosmopolitan magazine, The Early Show, WB Channel 11 in New York, NY 1 News, CNN Headline News and BBC.

As for the future, Jain dreams of having her own fitness show, being a fitness correspondent, and maybe someday, a fitness mom.