Reena D. Shah

 

Reena Desai Shah trained under her mother, Heena Desai, in traditional Gujarati Folk dance since she was four years old. Together, they founded Sahiyar in 1994, a non-profit dance troupe whose aim is to spread their vibrant Gujarati culture through dance. They train students aged 4 to 60 in Raas-Garba. Recently, they placed 1st in all 3 of their categories at the FOGANA Regional Dance Competition in 2010 and also earned the title of ‘Best Choreography’ at the FOGANA National Dance Competition in 2006 and 2010.

 

In addition to Sahiyar, Reena led the competitive Raas-Garba team at UC Berkeley in 2003-2004 where she attended college. She performed as part of the UC Berkeley Hindi Film dance team 2001-2004 and also performed with the UC Berkeley di Shaan Bhangra team in 2004.

 

In 2005, Reena’s love for Bollywood dance led her to Naach, where she started training with Mona. She became an integral part of the instructor group and professional troupe at Naach, and now dances and teaches with the Mona Khan Company. For many years, Reena was the Student Costume Coordinator at Naach and the Mona Khan Company, and currently is the Data Analytics Manager at the Mona Khan Company.

 

As a dance instructor with significant experience, Reena believes that dance is much more than mechanical body movements to specific counts and beats. She wants her students to really feel dance from within, and use it not only as tool for self- expression, but to share their talents with others and as a vehicle to make friends.

 

For Reena, dancing is akin to breathing (and the reason behind her contagious smile!). Being a Finance Manager by profession at a startup, dance allows her to use the creative side of her brain and Reena believes that dance is her true calling.