A Yoga Therapist, Indian dancer and Social Worker/Counselor, Gunjen has been inundated with all things creative since she was born into her South Asian family. At 2 yrs. old she began her journey into the world of Indian dance with her first dance teacher, her mother. She grew up learning Bollywood and other cultural dances while initially in Houston, but soon became interested in Indian Classical dance. Gunjen started off her training in Kathak and Bharatnatyam around the age of 9 – 10 yrs. old. At the age of 10, she traveled to India with her family and received further training in Kathak from a Sri Masterji. The family moved to Philadelphia shortly thereafter where Gunjen and her mother organized full-on Indian cultural programs for the entire Indian community. They both taught Bollywood and various other cultural dances to the local youth for 5 yrs. They then moved to Georgia where they started their own Indian dance classes for the youth for another 5 yrs, alongside organizing various Indian cultural programs there as well.
Gunjen also began learning break-dancing in college and continued her journey in Hip Hop and street dance into Houston, TX, coming full circle in 1997. During the next few years, she enrolled in the Anjali School of Classical dance to learn Kuchipudi and Contemporary Classical dance in 2000 – 2003. She traveled with her dance school to perform all over Texas, as well as, traveled to Florida to perform at an Indian Cultural Festival in 2001. Gunjen’s training included learning from Rathna Kumar and other reputable instructors from India. Also in 2001, Gunjen and a few members of her dance school performed at the International Yoga Conference held at The University of Houston, where she first met her future Yoga Gurus from Bangalore, India. She soon delved more and more into Yoga, while training in dance. In 2004, she was invited onto the dance team for Music Masala cruises, where she also conducted Yoga classes. Gunjen began teaching Bollywood dance at Hybrid Rhythms Dance Academy to children and adults of all ages, all the while widening her scope of dance by learning West African dance and Belly Dance during 2008 – 2009. In this time, she met her Odissi Dance Instructor, Shipra Mehrotra, of Avantica: Odissi Dance Academy and has been in intensive training into the present.
After being exposed to many styles and forms of dance, Odissi is the one form that Gunjen feels most passionate about and has the most extensive training, due to her unique sense of dance. In 2010, as a result of her expansive dance experience in Odissi and other forms, she joined the music band “Tyagaraja” (an award winning local band) and has been performing with them ever since. They have performed all over Texas and also won a trip at the “Battle of the Bands” to Bonnaroo (an International Music Festival) in Nashville, TN. Other notable performances have been at SXSW (2011), IFest (2011), Free Press Summer Fest (2010 & 2011), Voices Breaking Boundaries Fundraiser (2011), Julydescope (2011), Dharmageddon Fundraiser for a village in Nepal (2011) and many more. Gunjen loves to share her art and teachings with all and feels that there is nothing more important in life than to live life that is truest to oneself, full of passion and integrity.