Ajna Dance Company is New York’s premier South Asian performing arts organization specializing in artistic and authentic arts education, performances and classes. The company was created in 2012 by Minila Shah with the purpose of making Indian dance and culture more accessible to people and students of all backgrounds. Ajna dancers and teaching artists are trained in a broad range of South Asian and western dance styles and offer highly skilled and personalized instruction. Ajna performance company’s signature style blends the grace and technique of classical dance with the freedom and fun of Bollywood music and dance.
Ajna Dance Company is leading the way in South Asian arts programming for schools across the tristate area. We have worked with over 200+ schools through our Indian dance assemblies, residencies and after-school programs. We incorporate social studies, geography, language into our lesson plans and students walk away with learning new dance styles and with a better understanding of South Asian culture. Our team of teaching artists are professionally trained and we tailor the lesson plan and choreography to the grade level of the students.
Our performance company work is an artistic blend of Classical Indian, folk and Bollywood dance styles. The unique combination with a focus on expression and grace that come from Classical styles have made our performance work stand out. The Ajna performance company recently performed at The Brooklyn Museum for First Saturday’s and has also appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America with Priyanka Chopra, NBC with Nick Cannon, The Food Network with Rachel Ray, Good Day New York in collaboration with DJ Rekha and the Smithsonian and on Viceland with Action Bronson . Moreover, we have had the honor of performing at various high profile events at the United Nations General Assembly, The Rubin Museum, The Brooklyn Children’s Museum, The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, MoMA Film, Facebook, Google, Barclays, S&P, BNP Paribas and Macy’s. We also partner with and are proud to support nonprofits and community organizations including the Women’s Education Project, New York Cares and the American India Foundation. As a New York City based company, we believe in building strong communities, celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion through dance have participated in festivals, celebrations and dance showcases in the city including Dance Parade, the Fourth Arts Block (FAB) festival, India Day celebrations, the South Asian International Performing Arts Festival (SAIPAF) and 8 in Show at Dixon Place.
Minila Shah – Founder & Artistic Director
Minila Shah is an established choreographer, dancer, dance educator and Founder and Director of Ajna Dance Company With over 15 years of experience across 3 continents, Minila has taught masterclasses, performed and worked as a choreographer in the United Kingdom, India, Canada, France and the US. Minila is a versatile and captivating performer whose expertise spans Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Bollywood, Semi-Classical, Garba/Raas and Bhangra.
Minila is a disciple of renowned Bharatantyam artist, Guru Menaka Thakkar and Kathak artist Guru Prashant Shah. Her Bharatanatyam and Kathak training have deeply developed her body awareness, rhythm, grace, expressiveness and connectivity to Indian culture. Minila has travelled to India twice to further her study classical dance and Yoga.
As a trained classical dancer, this training and technique heavily influence and inform Minila’s unique style. Her signature style of seamlessly blending classical and folk dance with Bollywood music and movement is what makes Minila and her choreography stand out. Minila has led workshops and lecture-demonstrations at numerous educational institutions including Hunter College and Barnard College/Columbia University. What sets Minila apart is her deep knowledge of Indian dance, her teaching style, warm demeanor and ability to connect with students of all ages, backgrounds and levels.
She has appeared on Refinery29, the BBC, Sky1 and Dancing on Ice (ITV) in the UK. She has choreographed for film, TV, music videos and theatre in London and New York.
The Ajna Team