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We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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My journey to dance

March 16, 2022

Where it started: 2009 

I was never the most outgoing person when it came to dancing. I remember attending weddings and family gatherings only to find myself standing in the corner of the dance floor unable to respond to the music that made the crowd roar. Surrounding me were my friends, family, and even strangers - all joined in a collective goal to get me to dance. There was only one small problem. It’s not that I didn’t want to dance, it’s that I didn’t know how to dance! So I resorted to my mechanism of escape: I began to shake my shoulders; nice and simple, I blended in. 

After several occurrences of the episode mentioned above, my mom enrolled me in a popular folk dance academy in the GTA: Nachdi Jawani. At first, this seemed redundant, I mean I thought my tactic was working well at parties. However, it wasn’t long before I fell in love with Bhangra (the energetic folk dance originating from Punjab) and all I could do was Bhangra. Literally. Bhangra at the academy. Bhangra at home. Bhangra at No Frills. I was obsessed!

Bhangra taught me so much more than just a few moves to prevent awkwardness during family occasions. It taught me the value of a team. Yes, I was part of a Bhangra team and collectively we would compete in Inter-Academy Competitions! My teammates became my best friends and we all worked hard together to better ourselves as a whole. 

Bhangra made me fall in love with Punjabi music. I learned to differentiate slow and fast rhythmic moves and created choreographies accordingly. It allowed me to channel my creativity and build confidence. 

 Amanpreet Jolly (me) at my first Bhangra competition in 2009.

Caption: Amanpreet Jolly (me) at my first Bhangra competition in 2009. 

It didn’t just stop there, with the confidence I acquired I participated in talent shows throughout middle school. I began to explore other realms of dance and taught myself Bollywood dance. Here’s a link to a talent show performance!


Where it’s at 2021 

It’s been around 11 years since I’ve been dancing. Like I said, once I started, I truly never stopped. Unfortunately, however, I had to say goodbye to competing in 2017 as life just got super busy. I always knew there was a void in my life and I quickly realized that I needed to do something to fill this emptiness. That is when I got the courage to grab a camera, a nice outfit, and film a choreography. In fact, I also started a youtube channel! Check out my very first choreography of Chhor Denge

Amanpreet performing a Bollywood choreography (2021).

Caption: Amanpreet performing a Bollywood choreography (2021). 

Where it’s going 

I think knowing and having a purpose is important to living a meaningful life. I believe passion compliments that purpose. In fact, I have never agreed more with the saying, “Do more of what makes you happy.” If you made it this far into the article, I want to thank you and hopefully provide some inspiration. If there is something you desire, are passionate about, and cannot fathom carrying on without, I urge you to attain the courage to strive for it. Don’t overthink how it will happen, can it happen? Just get started. It wasn’t easy for me to put myself out there, in fact even to this day I often find myself questioning if this was the right decision, but I am doing what I love and that is all that matters. We are so overly critical of ourselves and we fail to realize that perfection is not the goal nor is anyone expecting this from us, rather the pursuit is of happiness, your happiness. It’s time we started thinking more about our passions and working towards our dreams.