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Nupoor Dance Studio takes a leap into Indian culture
March 28, 2022
Sonal Sanghvi started her own dance company, Nupoor Dances, after she realized teaching dance was her passion. Her goal is to connect the new generations of kids to their Indian roots, healing the cultural disconnect that much of the youth experiences.
Sanghvi was living in Bombay (Mumbai), India until 1993 when she moved to the Bay Area. But she has been dancing since she was seven years old, and was trained in Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) for around 16 years. She has participated in the Walnut Creek Indian Association, where she volunteered to teach kids how to dance.
“I taught one item to the kids and one item to the adults, and after they performed, they told me to start my own class,” she said while explaining how she started her classes in 1995.
The rest is history. Sanghvi spent hours and days planning her company, and as a result, Nupoor Dances quickly began to amass attention. However, starting any business comes with its own set of obstacles.
Having moved here with her family, “it was hard growing two kids at home and taking care of everything personally. Especially starting something new and going into the business as a woman, it was hard just to manage everything,” said Sanghvi.
Regardless of the struggles, Sangvhi doesn’t see Nupoor as a business. Rather, she views it more as a place that spreads Indian culture throughout the Bay Area and within her students.
I’m sharing just a little bit of the culture that I show with the folk dances of India
“It’s not just for myself that I’m teaching. My model might not be the ideal business model, or a great business model or anything, but I’m satisfied from sharing parts of my life. I’m sharing just a little bit of the culture that I show with the folk dances of India,” she explained.
For this reason, Sanghvi stated that being a woman didn’t necessarily impact her negatively with starting her business, but doing it alone was a struggle. Having grown her studio for years, she has been able to get help with younger choreographers and teacher assistants to help run her classes. But for the most part, she attends every class herself, and is working towards getting Nupoor back into competition again.
At the end of the day, Sanghvi’s motivation always comes down to the performance day: from the excitement of getting ready and dress rehearsal set ups, to after performances, with the bows and the possibility of walking off stage with an award.
“That’s always a memorable thing for me and I cherish that moment all the time. [Students] have the biggest smile on their faces, so waiting for that final product … is when I feel like I did something, like I added something to their cultural knowledge every time a show happens. That was always my goal,” explained Sanghvi.