Bhangra Empire – Vest Dropping Across North America

What is a vest drop? Well, simply put, its a certain time in our routines when the guys on the team drop their vests. Each guy would have a letter on his back and would be positioned in a way to spell something out. Maybe a picture would help…

Bhangra Empire @ Golden State Warriors Game

Bhangra Empire @ Golden State Warriors Game

This really became a fixture in our routines because it was a great way to interact with the audience and sometimes show some love for where we were performing.

So how was the vest drop born? Well, it was back in January of 2008. We were 1 week before Punjabi Showdown and had no ending. We didn’t want to do a stunt, because we had the tendency to drop those at the end (See Bhangra Nation West 2007.) We also didn’t really want to go down the sign route again because of what went on to be called the infamous ERPIWE mistake (See Dhol Di Awaz 2007)

FYI – I take full responsibility for the mistake. You can actually see me putting the signs out in the beginning in reverse order. I had asked Harleen to order them and she put them in order as if she was looking towards the audience, and I was looking at it as if I was sitting in the audience. (Learning from your mistakes – another important Empire motto) Puneet and Muneet were so devastated by the mistake that they left the signs at the competition (which I never understood, they were nice signs!)

Anyways, so we thought the best way to make sure the signs aren’t in the wrong order is to just sew them on our guys. And BAM, we had our ending. I’ll give some of the original idea credit to Shereen because she was obsessed with doing something with our vests to recreate the infamous Michigan vest switch (I tried finding a video on youtube of it but couldn’t). Shereen will also get credit for making the most amazing letters I have ever seen to spell out Empire (sarcasm.) I actually still have them. They literally look like ripped up pieces of cloth.

Ok, back to the blog post (sorry for the tangent). I thought it would be cool to see all the different things we’ve written on our vests. So here comes a list followed by a short description of all the places and different things we’ve written on the back of our vests over the year. If you are looking for a pattern, the magic number is 6, since we usually had 6 guys in our routines.

EMPIRE – Ended with Empire written on the back of the guys vests

BOSTON – Fittingly at Boston Bhangra


BAY AREA – Best of the Best held in San Francisco (We added a chimta for the 7th letter)

PUNJAB – We did this at our White House performance and President Obama actually called that part out and said how awesome it was.

ELITE 8 – At Elite 8 2010

VIBC! – At VIBC 2010 (This was one of the rare Empire competitive performances that had 5 girls and 5 guys as opposed to 6 and 6 like we normally do)

TALENT – During our Portland audition for America’s Got Talent. We had 2 chimta players, 1 held up a sign that said ‘America’s’, the other held a sign called ‘Got’, and the guys dropped their vests with Talent.

TEXAS – At a Diwali Celebration Performance in Houston

VEGAS – At the APPNA Pakistan Flood Relief fundraiser in Las Vegas

USA – At our audition for Chak Dhoom Dhoom. We only auditioned with 3 guys and 3 girls. We actually made it to the next round in India but could not commit to the dates they asked for.

WARRIORS – At the Golden State Warriors Halftime Performance (We added 2 chimtas for the 7th and 8th letters)

GO GIANTS – At the San Francisco Giants Game (We added 2 chimtas for the 7th and 8th letters)

And that covers all of them (I hope). As of now, the vest drop has been retired for competitive performances, but we might bring it back with a twist. Its always a great crowd pleaser. Hope you enjoyed that little bit of Bhangra Empire history.


About omer81

By day (and some nights), I am a Network Engineer working for a startup in Redwood City. By night (and some days), I am an MBA student at Santa Clara University. Whatever time is left goes into Bhangra Empire. What is Bhangra Empire? Read my blog and you'll find out.
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