World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Mona Sampath Dance Company

Dance Origin: India
Genres: Indian Contemporary, Bollywood
Artistic Director:
Mona Sampath 
First Appearance in SF EDF: 2010

Indian contemporary fusion was born when choreographer Uday Shankar combined classical, folk, and tribal dances with western theatrical technique. Bollywood dance enthusiastically migrated from film to stage, and it now includes a little bit of everything: stylized bharatanatyam temple dance; simple steps and flamboyant costumes from Punjab and Gujarat secular dances; modern dance; jazz; ballet; and hip-hop.  

Mona Sampath Dance Company, formed in 2009, specializes in Bollywood dance. The company has performed at the Warriors half-time show, and with renowned personalities including the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan. With classes all over the Bay area, a performing group of over fifty dancers, and a focus on community, MSDC is the biggest and fastest-growing Bollywood dance company in the Bay Area. Artistic Director and choreographer Mona Sampath studied bharatanatyam at the RajaRajeshwari Dance School in Bombay for nine years before expanding her repertoire to jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary dance. She worked with Bollywood choreographers Farah Khan, Bosco Caesar, and Ganesh Hegde, and created the Bollywood dance program for the India Community Center in the South Bay, a Bollywood aerobics program, the Jollywood senior citizen dance group, and the Bollywood dance company, Naach Inc. 


Title: The Shape of Dreams
: Priya Agarwal, Anisha Babbar, Krishna Basude, Nishta Bhatia, Amrita Bhusri, Brian Brooks, Jayanth Chakravarthy, Aditi Desai, Reena Desai, Archana Ganesan, Rishi Iyer, Anjaneya Jariwala, Joya Kazi, Shreya Krishnan, Gaurav Kumar, Ria Marathe, Anya Mathur, Rekha Pai, Amit Patel, Nikita Patel, Prapti Patel, Vikash Patel, Monika Ramaswamy, Michelle Randev, Aprajita Saxena, Maya Seshadri, Ishika Seth, Shobana Shankar, Sonali Singh, Sonam Singh, Rohit Sudhir, Shivali Tandon, Shefali Varma, Anu Varshneya, Mariya Vichattu, Shivani Walia
Music: Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack – “Ringa Ringa,” “O Saaya,” “Jai Ho,” Musicians: A.R. Rahman (composer), Harpal Saini (dhol), Satwant Samra (dhol) 

Thirty-six dancers lit up the stage in The Shape of Dreams, a suite inspired by A.R. Rahman's Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. It's a dream-like journey through movement and music, exhibiting the vibrant grandeur of Bollywood dance. The first piece, "Ringa Ringa," features a song about a young girl's coming of age and a blend of Indian Classical vocabulary with Bollywood movement. The next piece, "O Saaya," is a uniquely contemporized jugalbandhi duet. For the final section, the entire company performs the upbeat, crowd-pleasing "Jai-Ho." 

The dancers' eclectic costumes include ankle-length lehenga choli, worn by women of the Mughal Court; skirts inspired by lehenga; harem pants inspired by Indian salwar; men's Indian dhoti; and boys' hip-hop stylized clothing. Composer A.R. Rahman's music is also an amalgamation. It fuses elements from Carnatic and Hindustani music, Western classical, qawwali, and improvisation; and it is played on both traditional and electronic instruments. Mona Sampath Dance Company was accompanied by dhol players Harpal Saini and Satwant Samra.

The Shape of Dreams was choreographed in 2009 by Mona Sampath, with guest choreographers Ishika Seth and Monika Ramaswamy.

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