Shaan Punjab Dee (ਸ਼ਾਨ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦੀ) or SPD is a nonprofit Punjabi folk dance academy that promotes Bhangra, Gidha, and folk lore in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Originated in 2012, from a small group of individuals later on led by coach Prabh Saini. SPD has grown to become a part of some of the most recognizable dance teams in the world.
At SPD, dancing is not only limited to body movements in a rhythmic manner but rather it is a platform that improves, exercises, mental health and leisure for all genders, age groups and ethnicities. Over the years, SPD has collected many prestigious awards, on various international stages and is most notably known for being undefeated in professional competitions in North America since 2015.
With the aim to promote folk dance, SPD is notorious for the revival of Malwai Gidha in 2017. The goal at Shaan Punjab Dee is to preserve the Punjabi culture and educate individuals through various art forms, one we passionately work to achieve every day!
recognized and appreciated worldwide
Shaan Punjab Dee was originally founded by a group of passionate individuals in 2012. During this time, SPD was solely seen performing at non-competitive local events such as weddings, parties, and festive celebrations. Within a year of performing, the team was inspired by its community to make their first competitive debut performance in 2013 at a local competition called Nachde Punjabi. The performance was a “music set” danced by 8 individuals. The only active dancer who participated at that competition is current director/coach Prabh Saini.
At this competition, SPD secured a 1st place. Motivated by the success at the first competition SPD sought out to become a part of the North American bhangra circuit. In 2014 SPD participated at “Bhangra at the Falls” held in Niagara, Ontario and took their ventures to the United States of America for the first time and participated at “Big Apple Bhangra” in New York.
As the team began to gain experience the goal changed from simply dancing for leisure to presenting a performance that stood out. After these competitions, leadership of the team changed, and the team made a collective decision of having Prabh Saini be the voice of team. With the mentality of standing out the team believed that the best way to achieve this was to prioritize synchronization and form in order to “dance as one” on stage. Prabh spoke on this vision and said, “the team should be seen dancing as one despite the multiple dancers physically present on stage.”
This ideology led to greater discipline within the team as they worked their way towards their next competition approximately a year later, “Windy City Bhangra” held in Chicago, Illinois in 2015. At this competition 12 individuals danced on a “music set” and secured 2nd place. This competition was also deemed a success as it was the first after a change of views and led to a placing. Later that year, Shaan Punjab Dee made their return to “Bhangra at the Falls” where they placed 1st, followed by another 1st place performance at “Chak de Bhangra” in Toronto, Ontario.
After seeing their success, SPD decided to step away from music bhangra and take on a different challenge. This challenge was to dance live bhangra. Live bhangra differs from music as there is no pre-recorded audio, and there is increased emphasis on “folk” moves. This competition required more practice than others as the team was introduced to a new concept. The team had shown great commitment to this challenge and became ready to leave their absolute everything out on stage. After months of preparation, the team was ready to display their debut live bhangra performance at “Motor City Bhangra” in Detroit, Michigan in 2016. Despite coming off a 2-win streak, SPD was seen as the underdog team and successfully managed to attain 1st place. This performance led to the revolution of the North American bhangra circuit and went down as one of the most iconic performances of all time.
Later that year, Shaan Punjab Dee organized it’s very first competition, “Bhangra in the 6ix” in Brampton, Ontario which became an annual organized and Canada’s Biggest Bhangra competition until 2019.
After organizing the competition, Shaan Punjab Dee was ready to return to the circuit as a competitor. In 2017, SPD picked up right where they left off and secured 1st place at “Bhangra Fever” in Buffalo, New York. Nearly 2 weeks later, Shaan Punjab Dee changed approximately half of their previous choreography and performed at “Big 10 Bhangra” in College Park, Maryland and continued their winning streak by winning 1st prize yet again with a 12 man “music set.” SPD had began to increasingly gain popularity and was identified and invited by WWE to perform at their events Raw and Smackdown alongside WWE superstar Jinder Mahal. This was a milestone for SPD as they became the first bhangra team to be affiliated with WWE. Later that year, Shaan Punjab Dee introduced and performed a new Punjabi folk dance called “Malwai Gidha” to the North American circuit at Bhangra in the 6ix.
Shaan Punjab Dee has always been a traditional team with the idea of promoting folk bhangra. Due to this, SPD avoided participating in modern style bhangra competitions up until 2018. In 2018 the team decided to participate at “Bruin Bhangra” 2018 in Los Angles, California. This competition was unlike any SPD had performed at as it involved the use of gimmicks. Initially, the team was hesitant of preforming at this competition but later decided to take a different view on gimmicks and redefine what it actually meant. As opposed to incorporating gimmicks such as acrobatics, the team came up with gimmicks that were more folk oriented like the generator gimmick and the 50-jump audience involvement gimmick. The goal for this performance was simply to put on a show and win the crowd, which is what went on to happen. Shaan Punjab Dee yet again had captured 1st place with a 12 man “music set” performance and became the first team from the Greater Toronto Area to place at this competition.
After Bruin Bhangra, the team was ready for something new. The team had challenged themselves in a variety of ways in the music category and was looking to step back into the live category but this time in the country where the dance originated, India. The team had put together a very unique 8-man live set and had performed at “Bhangra Arena” in New Delhi in 2019. SPD was the only team to receive a standing ovation after their performance and had set their mark within the international bhangra circuit by joining only one other team from North America to have performed in India. The performance was recognized and appreciated worldwide and is amongst one of Shaan Punjab Dee’s best performances. Later in 2019, Shaan Punjab Dee Gidha debuted at Bhangra & Giddha in the 6ix. For the first time in SPD history a professional female only performance was put on display. The girls sang, danced and acted live in the performance and cemented their name within the North American gidha circuit in just one performance.
Prabh Saini, Jagmeet Saini, Inder Dhaliwal, Goondeep Cambow, Harnaz Mann, Jashan Dhaliwal, Navdip Sidhu, Manjinder Pharmah, Parmvir Sandhu, Karan Bains, Mika Singh, Komal Hans, Mohpreet Kaur, Ravneet Kaur Mander, Shikha Arora, Komal Gill, Arsh Malhi, Nikita B, Manpreet Dhindsa, Azana Jandol, Ruhani Singh
Sehij Gahunia, Gurtaj Singh, Manvir Bains, Gagandeep Gill, Nawab Dhaliwal, Nav Brar, Harman Chahal, Palwinder Singh, Gurjas Singh, Nishan Singh, Manpriya Kaur, Kiran Multani, Tarn Sidhu, Mandeep Singh, Tarndeep Singh, Gurbir singh, Harjas Singh