Because as talented as this group is, the magic doesn’t just magically appear on stage.
Sonal was born in Houston and raised in Princeton, New Jersey. She graduated from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in December 2013. While at Georgetown, Sonal competed with Georgetown's bhangra team, GU Jawani, and was President of the South Asian Society. She worked in Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs for three years before moving to Chicago to pursue her MBA at Chicago Booth. Sonal has been trained for over 15 years in ballet, pointe and Bharatnatyam. She completed her Arangetram in 2009 under the tutelage of Guru Smt Sudha Shekhar Devulapalli. She has also competed with SMD Bhangra, a premier all-girls bhangra team from NYC. In her spare time, she enjoys mixing and playing music, running and dancing.
Mariam hails from Houston, Texas, although one could argue that her true roots are the streets of Bombay / the Swiss Alps / any sunflower field where she inevitably starred in a Bollywood film in her past life. Mariam graduated from Georgetown University in 2015 and majored in Economics and Psychology. At Georgetown, she founded Bindaas, a Bollywood dance group and served as President of the South Asian Society. She currently works in marketing at Undertone in New York and in her free time, she enjoys choreographing and pretending to be a Bollywood star.
Divya was born and raised in Edison, New Jersey. It's no surprise that South Asian culture has played an integral part in her life. Trained in Odissi and Bollywood, she danced her way through The College of New Jersey as both a member and manager of the fusion dance team, TCNJ Saathiya. After studying Sociology at TCNJ, she went on to pursue her MPH in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She currently works in hospital operations at NYU Langone. When she's not working or dancing, she's mostly likely with her large and insane family, napping, or watching Friends reruns.
Zeena grew up in Stamford, Connecticut. She has always had a passion for dance and cultivated her knowledge of many different forms while growing up, including jazz, tap, ballet and Bollywood. She was primarily trained in Kathak for 15 years, performing at a semi-professional level and was featured on News12 Connecticut’s segment “Our Lives”. Throughout college at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Zeena has continued with this South Asian art form, while also learning salsa and ballroom dancing. She is currently a private equity professional at Apax Partners.You’ll now frequently find her at a salsa club in New York City, trying out a new dance routine. Her free time usually involves reading up on the latest discoveries in astronomy, and searching for the best cocktail NYC has to offer.
Tejas is originally from Maryland, but grew up in Bangalore for the most part. He graduated from Penn in 2016 where he studied Bioengineering and Computer Science and also found the time to be on the team Penn Raas. He got dragged to the last practice before the first Ayana show by his roommates, and now here we are. Currently, Tejas works as a Software Engineer at Axoni, but in his free time he likes try, with varying degrees of success, different recipes found online, watch The West Wing or learn lots of useless trivia.
Janan is originally from Princeton, New Jersey. After attending high school with fellow co-founder, Sonal, she went on to study Health and Societies and Spanish at UPenn and graduated in 2014. At Penn, Janan spent pretty much all of her time dancing with CityStep, a dance-based community service organization, and as President of Penn Masti, Penn’s premier co-ed South Asian fusion dance team. With Masti, she cultivated a love for all things fusion, as she blended her Bharatnatyam training with her love for hip hop and contemporary dance styles. Now, Janan is pursuing her passion for public health as the Director of Community Health at the NJ Health Care Quality Institute. In her spare time, she loves to bake, cook, and eat. Check out her food & philanthropy blog, Fork it Forward!
Here we are, in all our glory (and pithy bios).
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Ainesh studied Computational Biology at the University of Pennsylvania and was a member of Penn Dhamaka.
Akash hails from Chicago, IL and studied at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, Akash was a member of Penn Masti, a co-ed fusion dance team.
Ever since she was young, Amna knew that dancing was her number one passion. Although there were many obstacles in the way as her parents didn't want her to pursue it, she still aimed high and dreamt even higher. As she graduated with a Bachelors in Biology, she also minored in Theatre Dance at Queens College to keep her dance passion alive. She gained experience in taking classes outside of school along with joining a Bhangra Team. Now she wants to give back everything she's learned and help others smile and dance through life.
Aneesha is originally from New Jersey and graduated from Wharton undergrad in 2015 with a degree in Finance. She currently works as an Analyst at Bessemer Venture Partners and is passionate about entrepreneurship and social impact. Her favorite thing to do in the summer are people watch on the HighLine and eat her weight in dosas in Curry Hill.
Anne was raised in Australia before moving to Florida in 2011. She graduated from Princeton University in 2017, where she was an Economics major on the pre-medical track and a member and President of Naacho South Asian Dance Company. She currently works as a Strategy Consultant in New York. When not dancing, Anne can we found napping, doing Buzzfeed quizzes, and making Oreo truffles.
Aneri is from Connecticut and graduated from Northeastern University in Boston with a degree in journalism. She is currently working as a reporter and producer at WNYC - New York's NPR station. Aneri has over a decade of experience in Bharatnatyam and Bollywood, and she was on a competitive Raas team in college. In her free time, she likes to read, cook and eat!
Devi Sahny was born and brought up in Antwerp, Belgium. She studied at the Lycee Francais Marie-Jose for seven years and then completed her High School at the Antwerp International School. She graduated from Georgetown University, majoring in Philosophy and Economics. She is a second-year investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs. In her spare time, Devi enjoys writing poetry on paper napkins thereafter stapling it in her Moleskine, playing basketball, and watching black & white movies.
Lakshmi is from Warren, New Jersey and graduated from Princeton with a degree in public policy in 2015, where she was the president of Naacho, a South Asian dance company. She completed her Bharatanatyam Arangetram at the age of 13 and has also learned Kathak. Lakshmi currently works on economic development strategy for the City of New York and has previously worked in municipal finance at Morgan Stanley. Lakshmi loves cute animals and spicy food, and can often be found cuddled up with a book or traveling the world with her family.
Kavita is originally from Illinois and graduated from NYU in 2015.
Kavya hails from Jersey and graduated from NYU with a concentration in Finance and Accounting. She currently works at Citi as a Securities Services analyst. In her free time she likes to nap, watch excessive amounts of The Office, and has recently joined the Soulcycle cult.
Leslie is a native New Yorker, born and raised in Long Island. She went to the University of Sciences in Philadelphia and majored in Pharmacology and Toxicology. She currently works as a chemist in a pharmaceutical company. On a side note, she's pretty sure she has a baking and DIY craft addiction.
Manas started learning Bharatanatyam at the age of 6. She graduated from Penn State and now works at Deloitte Consulting in the digital space. Manas is a certified yoga teacher and enjoys rock climbing and being outdoors.
Mithin is an avid lover of all things creative, from photography and videography to choreography and animation. Originally reigning from Philadelphia and a recent grad from the University of Pennsylvania, Mithin now splits his time between working at a startup and pursuing a plethora of hobbies. While not working on a project, Mithin can be seen watching the next championship of a League of Legends match or playing a game himself hoping to climb the ranks. If you're lucky, you'll find him out and about usually at a Chipotle, his second love, next to anything over rice.
Paarth is originally from New Jersey and graduated from UPenn in 2015 where he studied Mathematical Economics.
Growing up, Pia’s weekdays and weekends were filled with ballet and bharatnatyam classes. While at NYU, where she majored in Economics and minored in Business Studies, Pia danced with Bollywood dance team NYU Dillagi and sang with the a capella team NY Masti. Currently, she works as an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities. When she’s not crunching numbers and making colorful data charts, Pia illustrates and paints, jams on the piano, is an avid sci-fi reader and retro gamer, and loves catching up on Netflix.
Pooja is originally from Livingston, NJ and graduated from NYU in 2015 with a degree in Business & Political Economy. She now works at Nielsen on their Global M&A and Corporate Development team. In her free time, she enjoys binging on ice-cream and people watching in Madison Square Park.
Priya hails from the tiny state of Delaware. For over 10 years, she has dabbled in an array of dance forms ranging from bhangra, bollywood, lyrical, hip hop, and salsa. After graduating from Georgetown University with a degree in Marketing, Psychology, and Economics, Priya currently works on the operations side at Gap Inc. In her free time apart from dancing, Priya likes to sketch, curate monthly spotify playlists, and explore new ethnic digs in the city.
Reena has always loved finding rhythm in things since she was three years old. She's classically trained in Kathak, but her favorite part about dancing is fusing together different styles of dance. Born and raised in Chicago, Reena is a die hard Bulls fan who prefers deep dish pizza over a New York style thin crust any day. As adventurous as she is, Reena decided to move to Beijing for two years to master her Chinese. She continued her study in Finance and Management at NYU Stern, graduating in 2017. You can find her trying to explore a new neighborhood in Brooklyn or at a local cafe.
Riva is originally from the suburbs of Chicago. She graduated from the University of Miami in 2017 with majors in Health Sector Management & Policy, Legal Studies and Finance and a minor in Microbiology & Immunology. In college, she was captain of Miami UJhoom and competed on the Bollywood-fusion dance circuit. Now she works as a healthcare investment banking analyst at RBC Capital Markets.
Sadhana, born and raised in New Jersey, graduated from NYU with a degree in Computer Science and Business. She is currently working at Wells Fargo Securities as a Software Engineer. When her eyes aren't glued to a computer screen, Sadhana enjoys attending different types of dance classes and teaching herself the guitar. Her dream is to visit 30 countries before she turns 30 and only has 9 more to go!
Saddmun is from Newtown, CT and graduated from Cornell in 2016 with degrees in Chemical Engineering. Saddmun was the boys captain of Cornell Sitara and founded his own all boys fusion dance team, Cornell Badmaash (think the NSYNC of dance). He currently works in NYC as a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company.
As a child, Samvida detested movement of any kind, let alone dance - so when she did agree to joining Bollywood dance classes at 11, she surprised everyone including herself. Since then she's co-lead NYU Dillagi during its founding years and danced with Moksha Arts and Ajna Dance Ensemble. Samvida graduated NYU in 2013 and Tufts in 2015 and works for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. These days you'll find her traveling, concocting healthy snacks and desserts, watching old Hollywood films, or playing Bollywood songs on the piano.
Originally from MA, Sarita graduated from Brown University in 2017, where she was a member of Brown Badmaash Dance Company.
Shreya is originally from Philadelphia, PA, but spent her high school years in Hyderabad, India. She graduated from Brown University in 2016 with a degree in Computer Science and is currently an Android Engineer at Spotify NYC. While at Brown, she did a lot of really cool things like participating in a Disney A Capella group and taking a West African dance class. Since moving to New York she has been spending her time going to as many food festivals as possible.
Shivangi has been dancing even before she learned how to walk and loves any music that has a rhythm. She joined Arya Dance Academy when she was 12 and in undergrad, she joined TCNJ Saathiya and competed with the team nationally for two years. She graduated from Columbia University as a Doctor of Physical Therapy where she danced for fun in the dance club, Columbia Dance Haven. She now works for New York Presbyterian Hospital where she’s ready to continue her passion with people who equally share her love for dance.
Stephen is a recent transplant to New York from his hometown of Washington, D.C., where he grew up and spent 2 years living after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. As an artist, Stephen has performed in a show choir, a cappella group, musical theater group, and dance group! He was on UPenn's all-male South Asian fusion dance team, and Washington D.C.'s South Asian Performing Arts Network (SAPAN) and is very excited for his first performance with Ayana Arts!