"Dance is an Expression that makes an Indelible Impression"
- Shehnaaz Jagasia
Founder & Creative Director
Shehnaaz Jagasia, a geneticist by profession, chose to pursue her passion for dance in 2009. The joy she found from teaching children combined with her love for dance drove her to create the Shehnaaz Dance Academy in 2012.
Shehnaaz is a trained dancer in Classical Dance form of Bharatnatyam (Dr. Swaminathan) and has learnt other dance forms (like Jazz, Salsa, Cha Cha Cha) from the Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts. She has participated in several stage shows and has been an integral part of choreographed dances since the early age of 3.
Shehnaaz holds two Master’s degrees: Master’s in Biochemistry from the University of Mumbai, India as well as Master’s in Human Molecular Genetics from Imperial College London. She has worked in the field of Stem Cell Banking, Myeloproliferative Disorders and Melanomas. After moving to New York city, she has worked in New York Blood Center and NYU Langone Medical Center.
Patience, stamina, and her love for the children are Shehnaaz’s key strengths as a teacher. She is adept at managing the varied temperaments of children while coaxing even the littlest ones to focus and learn the dance while having a blast. She has prepped students for the OLC school Bollywood Nite, trained campers in dance at Jersey Tarana’s Summer camp, and several platforms in Jersey City and Hoboken. In 2017, Shehnaaz Dance Academy forayed into BollyHIIT Dance Workout and Choreography lessons which paved the way for several opportunities such the Indian Independence Day Parade and Gala NYC. Currently, her classes are well sought after in the various public schools enrichment programs throughout Jersey City. She hopes to instill a love for dance in her students while improving their coordination, confidence and enhancing their natural talents.
Shehnaaz Dance Academy holds bi annual recitals which allow its students a unique opportunity to showcase their hard work and to display their talents and to let their inner performers out. Our recital solidifies the relationship and camaraderie in between friends as fellow performers and garners team spirit and helps do their families proud!
Ms. Kavita joined Shehnaaz Dance Academy Spring 2018. Trained in Indian Dance since 2001 from Vishal Dance School, Kavita is very passionate about exploring different forms of dance. In 2016, Kavita joined Kathik Mohan Productions as a part of their troupe and was an integral part of several shoots. In addition to being a licensed Zumbini instructor, she continues to explore other dance forms at Broadway Dance Center and brings the knowledge to her classes. A wonderful choreographer, Kavita has helped our Squad prepare for various shows such as the India Day Parade 2018. Her energy and warmth allow her to excel in dance instruction and keeping both children and adults engaged.
She has previously worked at a reputed Mother Toddler Activity Center and Afterschool Activity Studio in Mumbai, India. For age groups 6 months to 2 years, Kavita conducted sessions focusing on color, shape, number/alphabet recognition and phonics. She has planned out and mastered activities that are specifically designed to promote physical, mental and social development of her students through sensory play, water play, music and story telling. Kavita is also well versed with assisting students 4-12 years of age with afterschool programs in Chess, Piano, Pottery, Sanskrit, Tabla, Dance, Drawing, Cooking for the kids from 4 – 12 years. She is extremely well versed in maintaining effective communication with parents and is a dream while working with children of all ages.
Shalini is a trained dancer in the Kalakshretha style of Bharatanatyam from the Kalakshetra School of Dance India. She has previously taught Bollywood Fusion routines to children ages 5-10. Shalini blends classical dance steps to modern/contemporary music to show the versatility of the classical dance form. Her choreography promises to bring this unique combination to SDA and allows students to learn this important dance genre set to music they can relate to. Shalini is a founding member of the prestigious RU (Rutgers University) Natya from 2006-2010.
Shalini has held the role of Programming Chair at the Rutgers Association of Indians from 2008-2010 and previously managed cultural programs at the renowned State Theatre in NJ. She has previously been part of other dance schools notably, Prerna School of Dance. Shalini is an experienced Finance professional with a degree in Economics/Political Science from Rutgers University (Rutgers College). Shalini believes that dance is an integral form of expression that every adult/child should enjoy to help keep a healthy balance in today’s world.
Dr. Kirti Mehta
Dr. Kirti Mehta is a Ph.D. in Biotechnology with prestigious publications and certifications under her belt including ARS NET. She has experience mentoring aspiring research students in her research field. She earned her Master’s from Thapar University, Patiala where she has won awards in Poster Presentation. Kirti has also worked on creating research and laboratory manuals on biotechnology procedures for her alma mater. Dr. Kirti is currently co-teaching children up to the 5th grade at Kumon and has experience in teaching kids and students up to class 12th at schools in India. She is known for her focus, energy and innovative ideas with respect to teaching. In her own words “Every kid is special and needs to be treated in a special way”. Besides teaching and mentoring, Dr. Kirti is an active vlogger on YouTube with rich content for travel, food and knowledge enthusiasts. She is passionate about her projects, disciplined in her approach and is a wonderful addition to the SDA Team.
Hindi Instructor "Kahani Lady"
Pooja, a Jersey City resident, is a native Hindi speaker, poet and lover of Hindi Literature. She grew up reading the works of eminent Hindi authors and poets like Premchand, Amrit Pritam and Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. Pooja loves to pen down short stories. Extremely passionate about spreading the love of Hindi language and Indian Culture through early learning and education, Pooja strives to make learning fun by using cognitive props, poetry, stories and group activities. She has focused a lot of her energies and drive on creating a wholesome curriculum which will attract the interest of the children to keep them focused on learning while having fun. Pooja worked very hard with her students last semester and surprised all the families with unexpected results. Our preschoolers came out of Spring 2018 Semester reciting poetry and our Kindergartners started dabbling in writing Hindi alphabets.
Pooja is a software engineer with a Masters degree in Computer Science, but chooses to spend her free time working on putting together our Hindi Syllabus, curating and hand making innovative props and visual cues for our Paathshaala students. Pooja, is deeply invested in the Jersey City community and works very hard to coordinate the Community Caregivers Program at York Street Project (YSP) which helps provide activities for the community while monetarily helping out YSP obtain donations to run its services.
Advisor & Technical Consultant
Anjuli Garg joined the SDA Team in March 2017 as a behind the scenes advisor. She has designed and maintained the company website as well as established style guidelines and consistency across our platforms. She is instrumental in helping create marketing materials for social media to establish presence and buzz. She has advised us on technical and product investments for the business such as payment processors, data storage and collection, video channels, graphics, logos, etc. Furthermore, she has assisted with consumer outreach and business strategy.
Anjuli holds an MBA from NYU and a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon. She resides in Jersey City with her two children.