We take a trip to the dentist…
There can’t be that many people who enjoy going to the dentist. I had an appointment with local dentist Jordan Singh, one of the partners of the Beeston Dental Practice on Devonshire Avenue. But fortunately not for a filling or extraction, but to chat with him about his family’s devotion to bhangra dancing.
Jordan’s father, uncles and cousins all belong to the Sheerer Punjab Bhangra Dance Troup, which began in 1977 by Jordan’s Uncle Narinder. Last year the group made world headlines by dancing with Prince Charles at the annual International Music Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.
The 1980s was a particular heady time for the troupe; as they won at the Welsh talent contest in 1982 and 83, and went on to perform in America, in such places as North Carolina and Texas. Although they came third in last year’s event, in the Traditional Folk Dance Group section, they are now highly thought of by the people who organise the annual talent contest.
I asked Jordan why he does it. “Well it’s a great opportunity to keep fit and meet up with family members. For the Eisteddfod we would train on Mondays and Fridays for three months. We just went for fun, so it was great that we did so well. Especially as the group that came second were professionals”.
Being a dentist is more hands on (or hands in), and it’s great to see what difference I can make to a patient’s life
The dance itself originates from the Punjab region of North West India. It’s a celebratory dance for the harvest. Jordan added that another reason for doing it is that it’s a strong part of Sikh culture and history, and it’s important to keep this alive for the future. “It was difficult to keep it secret from the other dentists and staff, but when they found out they were excited and impressed. And when word got out, our website got 4000 extra hits, as people wanted to know more. My grandfather came to Britain in 1947, so I am the third generation Singh. Singh means lion in Punjabi. The ‘shee’ in Sheerer also means lion. We are a family of lions!”
You can sense how strongly Jordan feels about the love and friendship of his family. And how close they all are. He has another uncle who is a pharmacist on Glasshouse Street. He makes the colourful costumes, acts as a stand in dancer and works out the choreography. Most of the Singhs appear to be pharmacists, so naturally I wanted to find out why Jordan chose dentistry for a profession. “Well it meant being at university for another year”, he replied with the typical look of a student who enjoyed being a student and what student life entailed. “Also the way pharmacists’ work is changing. This is down to the influence of doctors. Whereas being a dentist is more hands on (or hands in), and it’s great to see what difference I can make to a patient’s life. To take away their pain. You also get to know the patients well”. Jordan has only been qualified a year, but clearly enjoys his job and the interaction with his patients.
I asked Jordan if he lived in Beeston. “No, I currently live with my parents in Redhill. It’s a 45 minute commute twice a day. An hour and a half wasted every day”. I pointed out that if he lived in Beeston, his travelling maybe could be only four to five minutes. “True. Beeston’s a great place. And such a good selection of places to eat and drink. I’ve enjoyed the food at such places as the Korea House. I may move here one day”.
One subject that Jordan was keen to mention is the fact that he and 8 others of the Singh family will be climbing up Mount Kilimanjaro in January next year. “We are doing it for the ‘When you Wish Upon a Star’ charity. We hope to raise £1500”. For those that don’t know, the Nottingham based charity was set up in 1990 to grant the wishes of children who were suffering with life threatening illnesses. An inspiring thing to do for such a worthwhile cause.
2017 sees the 40th anniversary of the group and I wondered whether they would be all entering the Eisteddfod next year? “Yes, that’s the plan. It’s a bit like a family outing when we all get together. It will be good to get back into it, even though it can be a bit hard on the knees. I keep fit by playing golf and football. I’m looking forward to it. And they really look after you. We were all put up in a dormitory and fed lamb curry.”
Next year’s event takes place between the 4th & 12th of August in Anglesey, and I’m sure all of Beeston would want to wish them luck, and in the words of Jordan’s grandfather; “Work hard, enjoy life”.
If anyone wants to sponsor Jordan, he has a Just Giving page. Here’s the web link for it: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jordan-Singh1