Last night I experienced one of the most exhilarating forms of dance: Bollywood.

Having just returned from an extensive month-long vacation, I had accepted the fact that my next trip would have to wait.  While I enjoyed visiting friends in Europe and then trekking through the mountains of South America, I was ready to settle back into city life. This reality check could also be referred to as my dwindling bank account.

Despite my best efforts, an hour-long “BollyBasics” introductory class at the Dance Theatre Workshop was all it took for that travel bug to bite me again. Priya Pandya, our dhoonyaDANCE instructor, taught in such a relaxed and encouraging manner, allowing my mind to drift far away to India.  I began imaging myself dancing in a beautiful sari outside the Taj Mahal steps. The odds of this happening are slim to none, but a girl can still dream right?

Priya opened the class with a few warm-up exercises and before I knew it we were learning a full routine.  With about thirty women from Urban Girl Squad also learning the dance, I was surprised by how well everyone picked up the steps.  I’m not sure what it is about Bollywood, but a sense of happiness fell over me as I exerted energy into every flirty gesture, hand movement, and hip swish.

After working up quite a sweat, our session had sadly come to an end. Before dispersing, two representatives from CitySaheli introduced themselves and distributed gift bags!  Each dancer was given a beautiful gold elephant bracelet from Jewelry Plaza, which was placed in a red silk zippered pouch.  Women also took home pamphlets from Shobha, an orange recyclable tote, and a complete list of every move taught that night.

Urban Girl Squad President & Founder, Amanda Hofman welcomed new arrivals with a smile and was available throughout the event to answer questions.  Up next on her agenda is Urban Girl Squad’s Free Two Year Anniversary Party, which will be held at Hudson Bar in the Hudson Hotel on Thursday, February 25th.  Those interested in attending should sign up via their website.

I left that night with a new sense of self.  In such a friendly and open environment, I had nothing but good karma floating my way.  Walking out through the doors and back into a cold, wintry New York night, I felt more aware of this city’s beauty.  It may not be as warm as India right now, but it is all I need.

– Megan Eileen McDonough

About dhoonyaDANCE:
Dhoonya Dance is a growing dance company that has taught Bolywood on Oprah!  They offer classes in both New York City and the DC area.

About CitySaheli:
is an online platform that brings to you New York City with a South Asian twist. Saheli is the Hindi word for friend.  CitySaheli is your online girlfriend.

About Urban Girl Squad:
Urban Girl Squad is a social group for women in their 20s and 30s who love to try new things, spend time with friends, and meet new people in New York City. Our events include food and wine tastings, beauty and fashion nights, dance and fitness classes, sports events, cocktail parties and more.