Dhoonya Dance To Offer Garba/Raas Week Sept. 25 – Oct. 1

Dhoonya Dance, Washington D.C.’s premiere Bollywood dance school, is excited to offer a Garba/Raas Week during its classes Sept. 25-Oct.1 in celebration of Navratri, an Indian festival that celebrates the fall harvest season.

Originating from the Indian state Gujarat, Garba and Raas are some of India’s most popular folk dances. Garba is characterized by a group of people dancing in a circle, bending sideways and clapping. Raas is the traditional “stick dance” done with partners. An example of a Garba/Raas dance is below:

Garba and Raas events are traditionally held during Navratri (“nine nights”), an autumn Hindu festival. This year Navratri starts Sept. 28. During this season, Garbas are held throughout the Washington D.C. area, including at the University of Maryland and Northern Virginia Community College.

“The upbeat tempo of the music and graceful swaying movements of Garba and Raas create this energy and atmosphere of fun that everyone can enjoy. Raas also incorporates a lot of jumps, which makes for a great workout,” Kajal Desai, Dhoonya Dance managing director for the Washington D.C. area, said. “Whether this is your first time experiencing Garba/Raas, or you are looking to refresh your skills, Dhoonya’s Garba/Raas week is a great way to prep for the fun Garba season ahead.”

Dhoonya Dance will be teaching routines that feature Garba and Raas influenced steps at the following locations:

Sept 26, Dhoonya BASICS, 7:30-8:30 pm, Saffron Dance, 3260 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (Clarendon Metro)
Sept. 27, Dhoonya FIT, 6:30-7:30 pm Born2Dance Studio, 305 W. Maple Ave. Vienna
Sept. 28, Dhoonya FIT, 6:30-7:30 pm, Saffron Dance
Sept. 29, Dhoonya FIT, 6:30-7:30 pm, Jordin’s Paradise, 1121 7th St NW, Washington DC (Mt. Vernon Square Metro)

In the Dhoonya BASICS class, students will learn a short dance. The DhoonyaFIT class is a non-stop workout program, similar to Zumba. Classes are $20 for a single drop-in; $18 with a five-class pass; $15 with a 10-class pass. For more information visit http://www.dhoonyadance.com.

The above information is adapted from a Dhoonya Dance press release received Wednesday, September 15th.


Dhoonya Dance Show “JHOSH” Celebrates the Cultural Fusion of the Indian-American Experience

Dhoonya Dance—the Washington area’s pioneering Bollywood-inspired dance school and performance company—is proud to announce its fifth annual show, JHOSH: Our strength comes from the fusion of our cultures…This is our Indian American Experience, will be held Saturday, June 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the Duke Ellington Theatre, 3500 R St NW in the District.

Photo Credit: Dhoonya Dance

This year’s theme, JHOSH (Hindi word for strength), tells the story of the Indian American experience through the rich and entertaining world of Bollywood dance. Join one family’s journey through the immigrant experience as they oscillate between two very different worlds, ultimately building a bridge between the two that keeps Indian traditions alive while adapting to the western world.

JHOSH will include performances rooted in uniquely Indian genres (including the classical style known as Bharatanatyam and folk dances such as Bhangra and Rajasthani numbers) as well as distinctively American icons (Madonna); as well as dances and performances that pull from both cultures.

More than 200 dancers will perform in this year’s showcase, including students and members of the Dhoonya Dance Performance Company (DDPC), the semi-professional dance troupe.

“While the music and dance styles have a distinctively Indo-American feel, all of us here can identify with the courage it must have taken for someone in our own families to leave everything behind for a new life in a new world,” Kajal Desai, managing director of Dhoonya Dance, said. “We are looking forward to celebrating that strength of the immigrant experience and our multicultural identities through the engaging, colorful world of Bollywood music and dance.”

Tickets are $15 in advance, $25 at the door and are available at the Duke Ellington Box Office http://www.ellingtonschool.org/quicklinks/buytickets.html or (202) 337-4825.


Dhoonya Dance is the nation’s fastest growing Bollywood-inspired dance school and performance company. Dhoonya dancers have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Dr. Oz show, the CBS Early Show, and the USA Network series Royal Pains.

Founded in 2005 in Washington, D.C., Dhoonya Dance School was the District’s pioneering school and dance company in Bollywood-inspired dance. With a second headquarters established in New York in 2009, Dhoonya Dance has taught thousands of adults, children, and teenagers at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. The Dhoonya Dance Performance Company has danced at numerous festivals, ceremonies, and special events, with appearances alongside number one recording artist Jay Sean (of the number one hit “Down” with Lil Wayne), and DJ Rekha. Dhoonya Dance has been featured in The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

The above information is from a Dhoonya Dance press release received Monday, May 23rd.

danceDC Weekend Event Guide 3/19-3/20

Ajnin Intensive 2Tomorrow I’ll be making my way to Gaithersburg, MD for Ajnin Precizion’s second intensive workshop at Halo Dance Studio. $18 for four classes is a great deal and if you don’t think you want to dance for five hours (but who wouldn’t?), you can pay $5 per class. KODACHROME also hosts their monthly workshop. This time, they’re down in Williamsburg at William & Mary College. When are you guys making your way back up to NoVa or at least somewhere Metro accessible? Shout out to DC Fit Week which starts next Monday. In case you missed it, check out my DC Fit Week blog post ‘Don’t Fear the Dance Studio.’ Finally some news you can use:

Dhoonya Dance celebrates Spring this week with its Dhoonya Dance Holi Week! It started Monday and lasts til this Sunday. Click here for more info.

Dance Place’s open house was also this week. It ends this Sunday at 3:30pm. $12 special drop-in rate for current students and FREE classes for new students. Check out the schedule on the Facebook event invite.

Eureka Dance Festival has extended its deadline for choreography submissions to March 25th. If you apply, please let Eureka Dance Festival know that Cecile Oreste of danceDC referred you.

Saturday, March 19th

Sunday, March 20th

Dancer Profile: Kajal Mehta of Dhoonya Dance

Kajal Mehta is one of the owners of Bollywood inspired dance school and company Dhoonya Dance LLC and the Managing Director for the DC area business. While she has experience and training with various styles of dance such as hip hop and jazz, her expertise lies in Indian folk and Bollywood dance. For more information about Dhoonya Dance, visit their website or follow them on Twitter @dhoonya.

Kajal Mehta Dhoonya DanceWhere do you usually take class? Who is your favorite teacher in the DC area?

I don’t get to take classes too often since I teach almost every evening but have taken hip hop from Jenna Hyde who I love, and Bellydance classes from Azin Mahoozi of Born 2 Dance Studio and Saphira of Saffron Dance, who are both amazing!

How has dance changed your life? How do you feel when you’re dancing?

Dance has become who I am. It’s what I’ve been known for my entire life (well at least since the age of 15 or so!). Making the transition to being a dance instructor and Managing Director full-time is one of the biggest decisions I’ve made thus far and has an immense impact on who I will continue to be. When I dance I feel beautiful and confident…but more importantly I feel like my true self–the part of you that you are at times self-conscious about or that you hold back in other scenarios. Though Im dancing in “character” as is common in Bollywood, I still feel that when I dance it’s the “real” me. It comes from deep within.

Any advice for people who are interested in dance, but have never danced before?

Don’t overthink it. It doesn’t matter if you are good or bad–we’re not all trying to be professional dancers here! It’s about letting go—feeling the music and letting your body move in ways that it doesn’t get to move. It will be difficult the first few classes, but in time, it will all start to fall into place. If for nothing else, do it for the release!

Anything you want to promote? Anyone you want to give a shout out to?

Please join me in class as soon as you feel ready to take the next step–Dhoonya Dance offers drop in classes to anyone just looking to try it out. Bollywood dance is the best way to forget your worries and daily stresses…as we always say, “Find YOUR Inner Bollywood” today!

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