They Asked Us – and We Said Yes

We were thrilled to learn that one of our newer member organisations, BBX Fitness, was asked if they would like the chance to take part in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.  BBX Fitness owner and principal instructor, Bally Bhogal, tells us the story of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

It all started with a phone call . . .

Several months ago the Birmingham Commonwealth Games organisers called BBX Fitness to ask if we could encourage our members to apply for places as Bhangra dancers for the opening ceremony of the upcoming Games.

Of course, we said ‘Yes’ – who wouldn’t want a chance to perform at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony?

We put the call out to all our BBX Bhangra Fitness workout class members and the many who responded were then invited to auditions. The result? Over 30 of our BBX members were invited to take part in a section of the opening ceremony known as The Cultural Symphony – a stylised dance battle between four different types of dance – Classical, Irish, Afro and of course Bhangra.

Secret Rehearsals

By the end of June we were knee-deep in a punishing programme of rehearsals at a secret venue in Birmingham.  There were lots of moves to learn; it was tough, it was tiring, but everyone was loving it. We all realised that this was a unique opportunity.  How many people will ever be able to say that they performed in front of a global audience at the opening ceremony of one of the biggest sporting events in the world?

Final Rehearsals and Opening Ceremony

For the final month of rehearsals, we moved from the secret venue to the ceremony venue itself, the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. The gruelling schedule continued up until two days before the big day.  Everything remained shrouded in secrecy so we couldn’t give away specifics about the event, but our families were invited along to the venue for the last couple of dress rehearsals.  They were also sworn to secrecy and no photos were allowed!

At last the big day arrived! We all reported to the venue at lunchtime and immediately went into lockdown for several hours as we made final preparations to start at 8pm.  The tension and excitement built through the day and then suddenly it was time to go out and perform – to a stadium crowd of over 35,000 people and a tv audience of well over 1 billion! To be honest, the rest of the night is a bit of a blur – but it was the most emotional, incredible adrenaline rush that I’ve ever experienced.

Sadly, in the blink of an eye, it was all over.  We made so many great friends on this journey but the best part of the whole experience was that I was able to share this once in a lifetime experience with so many of my BBX class members.  We all got the chance to perform, share our love of Bhangra and promote our wonderful city of Birmingham to a global audience. The memories will last a lifetime – and we’ll have even more to talk about back in our BBX classes!

You can hear what an amazing experience it was from Bally and some of her members here –

Inspired to try Bhangra dancing yourself?  You can find out more here

 About the Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games is a 23-sport event which is held every four years and (currently) competed for by 72 different teams.  Although there are 54 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, it’s a feature of the Commonwealth Games that a number of dependent territories who do not compete separately at the Olympic Games, compete in the Commonwealth Games under their own flags. The games also partner with a number of International Partners, including which is the Italian arm that allows adults above 21 years old to gamble and wager on games online without AAMS.

For example, the four Home Nations of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) all send separate teams.  For the purposes of the Commonwealth Games, four Home Nations, three Crown Dependencies and all but three of the inhabited Overseas Territories, all of whom are represented by Team GB at the Olympic Games, compete as 14 separate delegations.

These are the twenty-second Commonwealth Games and the third taking place in England after London and Manchester hosted previous Games (Scotland has also hosted three times and Wales has hosted once).