Agni - Pioneers of Bollywood in Austin
Bollywood dance may seem like the latest craze, appearing to mainstream audiences after the release of Slumdog Millionaire in 2008. But this dance form has been evolving over the last century in the Hindi film industry based in Mumbai. Innovative choreographers have been combining classical and folk Indian styles with disco, jazz, and jive. At cultural events across North America, South Asians have borrowed the movement from the screen and combined them with styles they have learned in the diaspora: hip hop, salsa, and modern. Bollywood is an eclectic style with a distinctly global flair--Bollywood dance is for everyone!
Starting in 2007 as a small group of dancers, Agni dance ensemble now features 35+ dancers that have performed at major venues, various festivals, musicals, schools, corporations , studios and private events. The ensemble's repertoire ranges from folk styles such as garba and bhangra, classical techniques such as kathak and Bharatanatyam, to shoulder-shimmying feel-good medleys, and poetic interpretations of sufi music.
In 2008, Agni opened its dance academy, offering classes starting 4 years of age at multiple locations in Austin, Round Rock and Cedar Park areas. Now the academy offers 15+ classes at four different levels (basic, intermediate 1 and 2, advance), targeting four different age groups (4-7, 8-12, teenagers and adults). All classes are taught by members of our ensemble, and each semester, students are given an opportunity to perform at our bi-annual recital: lights, costumes, props and all.
Agni is actively committed to building community in the greater Austin area. The company not only performs at city-sponsored events such as Diwali celebrations at Zilker Park, but also annually organizes Bollywood Day in central Austin. The company has also collaborated with other local artists and dance companies to produce full length shows such including Om Shanti (a Bollywood style musical) and Strings of Time (a musical interpretation of scientific theories).
Most recently, Agni has introduced AgniFit, an opportunity for people of all ages and body types to get healthy while rocking out to Bollywood songs with trained and competent instructors. We continue to extend our reach into the community by offering performances, choreography, and workshops at schools, companies, and private events.
We invite you to join the Agni family, because Bollywood dance is for everyone!