Duo who led bhangra classes online throughout lockdown awarded free Caribbean flights

‘Airplause’ initiative gifts free flights to those who have lifted the nation’s spirits during lockdown

Peony Hirwani
Tuesday 30 March 2021 15:11 BST
Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Airplause’ initiative

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Louise Thomas

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A pair of brothers who ran online bhangra dance classes throughout the lockdown have been awarded free flights as part of a new initiative celebrating people who helped get the country through the Covid pandemic

Mrinal and Vikram Seth, fitness experts and co-founders of Bounce Bhangra, have been gifted the flights as part of Virgin Atlantic’s “Airplause” initiative, a spin-off from the nationally observed “Clap for Carers”.

The initiative invites nominations from the public for a person or people who made a difference during the long months of Covid lockdown restrictions and isolation.

Winners can opt to fly off to the Caribbean, India, Israel, or the US – either for a much-deserved holiday or to visit companions and family members – as soon as it’s safe to hit the skies.

The London-based Bounce Bhangra brothers became an online sensation when they adjusted to lockdown life by moving their mainstream bhangra classes online. They provided an explosion of joy and positivity for people who were feeling glum during the pandemic, keeping their spirits elevated and hearts pumping with weekly Bounce Bhangra classes.

The siblings were surprised at Heathrow Airport by a mysterious backflipping pilot, who ended up being the campaign frontman, TV personality and former JLS member Aston Merrygold, while they were in the middle of a special bhangra class for Virgin Atlantic cabin crew.

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Mrinal and Vikram told The Independent they were “over the moon to be the first Airplause winners”, saying they had opted for flights to Antigua.

“When we moved our Bounce Bhangra classes online in the first lockdown, we would never have imagined that a year later, we’d be doing a class for Virgin Atlantic cabin crew, let alone Aston Merrygold! 

With lockdown restrictions gradually easing from Monday, the brothers said they would still be putting on classes as long as there was demand. “Our mission was to get people moving and keep the nation smiling so we’ll keep going for as long as people want to dance in their living rooms,” they said.

In a release, Merrygold said the brothers were “the definitions of worthy winners”. “The past year has been tough for many and it’s important that we take the time to recognise those who made it a little brighter,” he said.

“When the pandemic forced them to pause their classes, they saw an opportunity to take them online and use them as a force for good, keeping thousands of people elevated and energised. I am so happy to be involved in recognising them and can’t wait to hear who the nation chooses as the next winner!”

Nominations for the Airplause initiative can be made here

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