Hello World! Not too creative with my first 2 words huh? I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t have even bothered deleting the first test post that WordPress sets up for you. Oh well. So to start with, lets deal with the basic questions. Who am I? Whats the point of this blog? How long will it last? Why should you read it?
To cover the boring stuff first, my name is Omer Mirza. I’m born and raised in the Bay Area, California. Both my parents are from Pakistan and I have 2 younger brothers who will remain nameless for now in case I want to refer to them in a negative way.
I went to school at the University of California, Irvine (ZOT ZOT) and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science back in 2003. Currently I am working for a startup in Redwood City as a Network Engineer and go to school at Santa Clara University for my MBA.
Lastly, with whatever time is left, I am coach and captain of a South Asian dance team here in the Bay Area named Bhangra Empire. Now hopefully the Nicki Minaj title ripoff (Puneet’s gonna kill me) and my amazing photoshop work (sarcasm) for the site banner up top, make a little bit of sense.
And this brings us to the emphasis of this blog. Bhangra, bhangra, and probably some more bhangra. So if you hate bhangra, this blog probably won’t be for you. But if you are interested, then be ready for a little bit of a different take at the South Asian dance scene here in North America. As a quick background, bhangra is a folk dance that originated in the region of Punjab in present day India and Pakistan. Here in North America, it has gained a massive amount of popularity over the past decade or so with hundreds of teams all over the US and Canada. So how did I get involved in all this?
I started dancing competitively back in 2001 at UCI. A lot of people ask me why I started. I played basketball and baseball throughout high school. When I graduated, reality struck me and I realized I was not going to go pro in either (cuz Im brown). So dancing replaced the sports for me. For anybody that knows me, I am an extremely competitive person. Though my motivation has definitely changed over the years, my competitive nature is what initially pushed me to get involved into performing.
So what will this blog offer? Well, for people that follow Bhangra Empire, this will give a little insight on how our team started. Also, being in the North American Bhangra scene for almost 10 years now, I’ve been through many of the cycles (traditional/modern) that the circuit has gone through, so expect some thoughts on that. You might also get the occasional post about people slacking off at practice and the struggles of being captain/coach. Also, to my credit, I do appreciate other forms of dance (my first competition was at the first ever Bollywood Berkeley in 2002 on UCI’s HFD team Sitaare) so you will see the occasional post on hip hop, bollywood, fusion, or anything I think is cool.
As a secondary motive, I really am intrigued with using WordPress for the Bhangra Empire website. I make our team website (http://bhangraempire.com) using IWeb (yeah yeah, don’t laugh) and since Apple is no longer updating it, I am looking to change platforms to something more search engine/social media friendly, and have heard WordPress is the way to go. So if you see theme changes/me breaking things/other weird stuff, don’t be alarmed. It’s probably me just trying to figure out how to use this.
And that’s it for now. Before I go, I’ll leave you guys with a disclaimer. Though I am the captain of Bhangra Empire, my thoughts/views/comments do not represent Bhangra Empire as a whole. And lastly for people wondering, what the hell is this “Bhangra Empire” here is what I call our claim to fame:
Bhangra Empire @ Bruin Bhangra 2009
I call it this because when you search for bhangra in youtube, the first thing that comes up is this video. 1.3 Million views doesn’t hurt either. =)