On April the 26th 2007, Sasha and Sumeet Nagdev established the Expressions Modern Dance Company (EMDC), which was based at the Expressions Studios in Dadar. The studios housed many guest faculty and teachers, with Sumeet at the helm. EDMC premiered its first student showcase on the 7th December, at Rang Sharda Auditorium, Bandra (W).
Sumeet, who was currently a college student during this period, was also an up and coming choreographer and performer. He was given the opportunity to appear on television as a choreographer on a Star Plus dance programme.
More importantly, it was during this time that Sumeet was offered a scholarship to dance and study in Singapore with Tan How Choon and Chin Huat.
In 2008, Expression’s studio became a popular landmark in Dadar. Hordes of students and dance lovers, many of whom had to be waitlisted, began training and auditioning in hopes of joining the company. Sumeet began working with and recruiting more advanced dancers for EMDC. The company showcased two successful productions, ‘Enlighten’ in June, and ‘Spark’ in December, with ‘Spark’ going on to become an annual production.
Sumeet was offered a scholarship from the Martha Graham Dance Company and left to study in New York.
Due to the rising success of EMDC, they took over and renovated the Expressions Studios in 2009. The space was transformed into 1500 sq. ft. and all classes were independently run by Sumeet. The official company was formed and began performing showcases and events all over India. In April 2009, EMDC introduced a dance festival called Ahsas. This was the premiere performance for the official EMDC and its dancers since being formed by Sumeet. Steve Rooks from New York also performed at the festival. The festival Ahsas continued for five years.
2010 saw developments in the structure of the company. Sumeet introduced the part-time and full-time diploma courses, whereby a student could register for one or two years to study a professional dance programme. This remains a permanent programme that the company offers to this day.
Sumeet was selected as an international choreographer in residence for the American Dance Festival at Duke University.
EMDC was renamed to Sumeet Nagdev Dance Arts or SNDA.
This year marked SNDA’s first full-length production called ‘Gandhi is Alive’, which premiered on the 30th January. It was performed in many different cities and at the US consulate. The production received mixed reviews, and critical feedback which was helpful for the development of the company and the artists.
The popularity of Ahsas grew, and included performances by many guest artists.
The company created many small-scale, corporate productions including ‘Rainbow Chakras,’ ‘Rise’ and ‘Saki Naka.’ The company also received a visit from American choreographer and teacher Steve Rooks who led workshops with the students.
2014 was a year of change for SNDA. The studios went into renovation for nine months. As a result, both the academy and the company was dissolved.
Sumeet performed as a soloist in ‘Talkative Dancer,’ and ended up touring in eight cities across Europe and America during June. The performance met with rave reviews.
In the last month of 2014, new dance artists were recruited to be part of the new company.
SNDA celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2017.
To celebrate, various renowned dance artists and choreographers were brought in to teach dance workshops.
There was a Hip-Hop workshop with James Morrow, an Aerial Silk workshop with Brande Lee, a Dance Therapy workshop with Tripura Kashyap, a Breaking and Contemporary dance workshop with 2Faced Dance Company, Graham Technique workshop with Steve Rooks and a master class with Sumeet Nagdev.
SNDA also celebrated with four performances including ‘Trishna’, ‘Kathak Baithak’, SNDA's Pre-Professional Students Showcase and ‘Dashanan’.
‘Dhrut’ also continued to tour and perfom
2018 was an eventful year for the academy division and the company division both. The academy division held its very second International Dance Exams conducted by CSTD wherein 45 of SNDA Students appeared in Jazz & Ballet and 95% Scored above A grades. Our Dance Teachers traveled to DWPS School Ajmer, Heritage School Udaipur and Umed School Mount Abu to create musicals with children while SNDA faculty continued to conduct various programs at our Mumbai Center and was privileged to host Paul Taylor Dance Company (USA) Alumni Richard Chen See as faculty for 6 months through the Fulbright Association.
Our Academy Students & Senior members made us proud. Company Artist Neeraj Lohni was a semi-finalist for Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance Awards in Chennai, while Udipna Das won the NCPA Mumbai Contemporary Dance Season Award. Students namely Vishal Bhagat won the 1st prize in Indian Railways Dance contest; 13 years old Mukti Shah & Niyati Soneji won an interschool talent contest while Devanshi Singh performed in Rwanda for India day celebrations and won 1st prize as well.
Artistic Director Sumeet Nagdev choreographed Vidya Vox for the Google Ad campaign as well as 6 songs for an upcoming Indian Independent Film ‘Bawree’
The company division performed at multiple venues throughout the year. 2 new productions were made namely ‘Jan-Jaati’ – A Modern Dance Theatre work and the second one, a family entertainer ‘Love is in the Air’. Some key performance events include fund raising Shows for Cancer Patients by Jaya Foundation & Cancer Patients Aid Association, Beach performance for Open Door Fest raising awareness for Mahim Beach Clean-up, Corporate Performances for Oppo Mobile, JCI World Congress and TATA Group.
Dance Critic & Editor Yogesh Pawar of DNA quoted the following for Jan-Jaati.
‘Most evocative choreographic creation…’
2019 turned out to be the most productive year since 2007 for SNDA’s company artists, faculty and students alike. We even converted our studio space into a mini performance space for festivals organized by stalwarts of dance. Kathak Exponent Pandita Uma Dogra and Samved organized Bhavanjali with classical dance artists performing solo works (May 2019). Guru Daksha Mashruwala’s Odissi company brought in Tjimur Dance Theatre from Taiwan and performed contemporary works along with SNDA (June 2019). SNDA created Nritya November wherein classical dance artists did informal studio presentations for SNDA students.
Artistic Director Sumeet Nagdev started the year by choreographing and performing at Austin Texas for Lightwheel Viveka whereas ended the year with his new signature work Dashanan at the NCPA Contemporary Dance Season and presented his new workshop for therapeutic purposes at the Annual Conference of Creative Movement Therapy Association of India in November 2019.The SNDA Artists Had a busy year and performed the following showcases. Bharat Bhagya Vidhaata Musical for Rotary Club of Malabar Hill, March 2019; Motion Graphics Dance for SBI Rewardz, March 2019; Blazing Bajirao for Holland America Cruise March 2019; Performances for 25 years of Mahanagar Gas at CIDCO, May 2019; Europe Day Celebrations with Anil Kapoor in May 2019; Dhrut at IIMUN, Aamby Valley, August 2019; 100 years of Liladhar Paso Shipping Company, November 2019; Eeken Shoe Launch for Fountain Head, December 2019.
The Academy Division received a record number of students for the Professional Dance Certification Exams in June 2020 adjudged by Kathak Exponent Pandita Uma Dogra while the Graduation Day Performance in June 2019 and the Annual Students’ Dance Recital in December 2019 held at Veer Sawarkar Auditorium witnessed houseful audiences giving rousing ovations to the students.Artistic Director Sumeet Nagdev signed up with online digital platform imd1.co as Legend of Dance. The online platform is where all of SNDA’s syllabus will be accessible through an app and Dance Gurus from all over India will get to access the same 2020 onwards. Founders Sasha & Sumeet Nagdev helmed multiple Musical Direction projects for International & Heritage Schools namely Heritage Girls’ Udaipur, Rajkumar College Rajkot & Daly College Indore whereas SNDA Senior faculty choreographed these musicals making it a memorable affair for the Schools.
SNDA Artists featured in the JBL Music Video with Ranveer Singh, Independent Bollywood Films Bawree & Pyaar Ka Kabaad whereas Sumeet Nagdev choreographed the same. The highlight of 2019 was the release announcement of AR Rahman’s 99 songs which has a Sumeet Nagdev choreography.The Academy Division also hosted multiple Guest faculty not only from India namely Richard Chen See, from USA, Tarantismo – Belly Dance Company from Bengaluru, Khambatta Dance Company, USA, Ishita Mili from NYC & Arpit Singh from Mumbai.
The Academy Division also hosted its own set of workshops namely Hip-Hop Duet for Valentines Day by Neeraj & Reshma Feb 2019; Summer Dance Camps for children at SNDA May 2019; Dance & Theatre Workshop by Sasha & Sumeet for Prithvi Theatre Festival May 2019; Garba Workshop by Viren Lakum in September 2019; Ghunghroo Choreography Workshop by Viren Lakum November 2019. Although the highlight of the year was the 12 Free workshops open to Public on 26th April celebrating 12 years of SNDA
Project AHSAS Scholars from the PDC Program taught at the Society for the Education of the Different and the students even won 2nd place at a city competition for NGO’s. Project AHSAS Scholars also created a musical for a School named Ayesha Tarin in Aligarh, UP.
Our Students and Alumni continued making us proud. SNDA Students Darsh Gutka, Aarohi Agarwal and Vishal Bhagat all won 1st place in district and city dance competitions. Our Alumni started soaring to newer heights. Ajay Jajjoo from Surat started his own dance academy; Punit Nayani performed for Khelo India Opening Ceremony in Assam; Neeraj Lohni got selected to be a member of Mystic Ballet in USA; Bhagyashree Pillai became a dance teacher in SVKM School, Mumbai; Imran from Project AHSAS got selected to perform for 25 Bollywood Musicals in UK whereas Manas Dhiwar and his rap ensemble featured in the Bollywood film ‘Gully Boy’
2020 was a year full of challenges and resilience. SNDA and Rasabodhi, along with Jonathan Hollander and Battery Dance, New York, hosted the movie screening of ‘Moving Stories’ (An award-winning dance film about 6 dancers, involving 4 countries and having a life-changing experience) at SNDA Dadar studios.
The year kicked off by our Artistic Director and company artists performing for Hyundai at one of the largest Auto Expo in Noida. SNDA artists launched the all-new Hyundai Creta in the most artful and inventive way by forming The Human Car- A body art replica of the Hyundai Creta Model by SNDA Artists, conceptualized and choreographed by our Artistic Director Sumeet Nagdev. Our dancers performed 20+ times throughout the 6-day event, which had approximately 100,000 visitors each day. It turned out to be the most applauded and talked-about performance at Auto Expo 2020 (February 2020).
In meanwhile, our Academy division was driven by quite a few workshops and masterclasses. We had Luminario Ballet from Los Angeles visiting our studio to run a workshop with our PDC students. We had Ishita Mili, Founder and Artistic Director of Ishita Mili Global Expose (IMGE), teaching the Urban Indian masterclass at our studio. Students attended a Kalaripayattu class run by the well-respected Arpit Singh. They learned about the origins of the fighting style and the techniques used in the Indian martial art form.
SNDA Academy division joined hands with IMD1. Our Artistic Director, Sumeet Nagdev, being one of the IMD1 legends, offered a complete syllabus available online on the IMD1 app. Students all over India got a chance to access our planned syllabus-based program in Jazz, Modern Contemporary, Ballet, Hiphop, and Bollywood at their fingertips. Our company collaborated twice with a renowned Bollywood artist Ranveer Singh for the JBL ad film and Xiaomi launch at the Four Seasons hotel. Our Artistic Director choreographed a musical saga- Siddhartha se Buddha tak, depicting the awakening journey of Gautam Buddha, performed at Bihar Mohotsav 2020, Ahmedabad.
SNDA performed Dhrut at the ten years celebration of Project Chirag and left the audience stunned. The performance received a standing ovation and rave reviews by the crowd, including Bollywood celebrities Aditya Roy Kapoor and Diana Penty. Around March 2020, the Government of India ordered a nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak. It was the most challenging period for our company as well as the academy. Most of our artists were anxious as they couldn’t perform as theatres and studios were shut. SNDA initiated a drive called ‘Dancing Never Stops’ with the #RestbutdontRust, where all our teachers, students, and parents participated.
PROJECT AHSAS (Artist Help Support Aid for Survival of COVID-19) came out as an initiative to revive the tribal, folk, village, and independent artists of India who were struggling to fund their basic necessities and to help them survive the impact of Covid-19 due to the massive worldwide lockdown SNDA academy turned online, and we made our classes as easily accessible as we could. Unlike the regular dance classes available online, SNDA personal training program was a 45-minutes, one on one class focused on our students’ unique training and growth. SNDA also provided home tuitions to the students by taking the utmost precautions.
SNDA celebrated its 13th birthday online for two weeks. We conducted 12 masterclasses and screening of our most famous production, ‘DHRUT.’ Few of our faculty were: Steve Rooks from the USA, a former Graham Dancer for contemporary dance techniques, Seattle-based choreographer Mark Haim for Ballet, Mumbai's renowned Pandita Uma Dogra for Kathak, and SNDA staff, including Sumeet Nagdev.
‘The Unknown,’ a dance film by Artistic Director Sumeet Nagdev, was released at Kathak Danseuse Sanjukta Sinha’s Virtual Contemporary Dance Festival. SIDF- Seattle’s International Dance Festival Premiered Dhrut online as SNDA couldn’t perform at the festival due to travel restrictions. SNDA’s sister duo Reshma Sharma and Ashma Sharma got featured in Slowcheetah’s music video ‘Wannabe Rapper’ by Incinkrecords.
Last but not the least, SNDA launched its Online Dance Academy to conduct classes at students’ convenience and in the comfort of their homes. Our Youtube channel consisted of a series of Dance Tutorials, Choreographies, and Instructional Videos on various Dance Techniques.
Amidst the commotion of the second wave, 2021 was a rather challenging year for not only SNDA but the entire world. To continue our mission to provide holistic dance education to the students was not easy, but we never gave up.
SNDA provided 1000+ lessons online for free through SNDA’s Online Dance Academy. These classes included Pre-recorded session, Introductory lessons, Live Classes, Personal Training and Online Workshops. Students were encouraged to train with correct technique and guidance in our 45 mins, 1 on 1 online classes using digital platforms like Zoom and Google meet.
Our Artistic Director Sumeet Nagdev directed his first feature film “MUKT” starring Darsheel Safary and featuring SNDA’s principal artists. The upcoming film is all set to be released soon. The film emphasizes on the mental health issues of our youth and how performing arts can be a helpful aid. The Protagonist (Darsheel Safary) is playing a Modern dance artist and was under the training of our principal dancer Reshma Sharma.
SNDA and Sasha Productions collaborated with the Daly College Indore a heritage school to create a docu-drama on the life of Devi Ahilyabai Holkar in 2020. KarmYogini- Mujh Mein Hai Ahilyabai was released on the auspicious day of Diwali 2021. The film is directed by our Artistic Director Sumeet Nagdev and Produced by our Co-founder Sasha Nagdev.
The Acamedy division of SNDA introduced new courses in collaboration with Tarang Studios, Bandra (W). PDC Courses are revised to one year diploma course known as DMD- Diploma in Modern Dance. The course resembles a lot of similarities to the previous one. However, some of the aspects have been modified. The course is available for Teens and Adults. Along with DMD, Junior PDC for children aged 7 to 12 years will also be starting from January 2022. Details will be updated on SNDA’s official website and all the other social media platforms.