Sanjana Muthreja: You can be of any shape, size to belly dance

Updated: Aug 15, 2019, 12:43 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Sanjana, who is also an avid traveller as well as a fitness enthusiast believes that one can be of any shape and size to learn belly dancing

Sanjana Muthreja: You can be of any shape, size to belly dance
Sanjana Muthreja in an interview with mid-day

International belly dancer and Tahitian instructor Sanjana Muthreja has been practising the dance form for the past eleven years. Sanjana, who is also an avid traveller as well as a fitness enthusiast believes that one can be of any shape and size to learn belly dancing. Sanjana believes that anyone can belly dance and one doesn't have to look a certain way to pursue this dance form.

In an interview with mid-day, Sanjana said, "I do get many inquiries and the first question that a lot of people ask me is 'I have a belly, can I belly dance?' and honestly, a person in any shape and any size can belly dance. You don't have to lose weight, you don't need to have a flat belly to belly dance. It's a dance form that anyone can perform. Men and women both belly dance. We have young girls who are belly dancing as well. Even women who are pregnant can belly dance. So, I think it's just for everyone."

Sanjana adds that there has been a lot of change when it comes to the attitude of people towards the dance form. She says, "I feel belly dance is a very respected dance form. Just because you show your belly doesn't mean that it is a vulgar dance form. People may call it vulgar but I don't think the same. It's a very gentle and clean form of dance."

She goes on to say, "I think the mentality of people is changing. I have annual shows that are conducted every year. There are many mothers and wives who dance and their entire family comes to watch them perform. There are many people who respect this dance form. Back when I had started, this wasn't the case."

Sanjana has also worked with a host of Bollywood celebrities like Jacqueline Fernandez, Janhvi Kapoor, Suhana Khan and Shanaya Kapoor.

Transcribed by Saumya Gourisaria

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Belly dancer Sanjana Muthreja's travel photos will fill you with wanderlust
  • 1/29

    Sanjana Muthreja has been hooked to belly dancing for 11 years. She literally eats, sleeps and lives belly dancing.

    So, when did belly dancing bug bite her? Sanjana says, "At age 13, I watched a Belly dance video and made the connection of the music with the dance and also fell in love with the dance form instantly."

  • 2/29

    Since childhood, Sanjana Muthreja has been listening to Arabic music which her father was introduced to in Kuwait. She instantly fell in love with the soulful Arabic music although she did not understand the lyrics. 

    In the file photo, Sanjana is hosting a belly dance workshop in Andheri.

  • 3/29

    Sanajana Muthreja does not follow a fixed routine but says that the only thing that is constant in her life 7 days a week is belly dancing. From classes to a workshop, from travel to self-practices and training; she literally eats, sleeps, drinks and breathes belly dancing.

    So, how does she manage to juggle up her life between practice and teaching belly dancing? To this Sanjana says, "On days when I'm not teaching; I train to keep my skills up to date. If I'm up late or wake up early, I use that time to create content, new choreographies, some days 24 hours are not enough."

  • 4/29

    Sanjana loves belly dancing so much that she has taken her love and passion for it a notch higher and performed at places such as Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Switzerland, China to name a few. What's more? Sanjana is also an avid travel junkie who loves to explore new places and adventure sports.

    In the file photo, Sanjana is seen posing in the Swiss Alps.

  • 5/29

    Sanjana Muthreja teaches a variety of belly dance forms such as Yoga-Belly, Aqua-Belly, Kathak-Belly and more. Besides being an ace dancer, Sanjana has also studied Yoga and is also professionally trained in Kathak for five years.

    Sanjana captions this one: International Yoga Day. Strength and Flexibility

  • 6/29

    Sanjana Muthreja has collaborated and worked in tandem with leading Bollywood choreographers and actors. From Jacqueline Fernandez to Nushrat Bharucha, Ishita Raj Sharma and Sonnalli Seygall - she has trained them all.

    In the file photo, Sanjana is seen practising belly dancing with Bollywood choreographer Salman Yusuf Khan on dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa.

  • 7/29

    Sanjana Muthreja is a certified belly dance teacher who teaches Turkish and Egyptian belly dance styles to students in India and all across the globe. Sanjana is the co-founder and director of Kohl Belly Dance Movement, a belly dance company which she started in 2015. Before venturing into her entrepreneurial journey with Kohl Belly Dance company, Sanjana used to work as a senior belly dance instructor at Veve Dance.

  • 8/29

    Sanjana Muthreja's belly dance company has centres across the city of Mumbai where belly dance instructor teach the art of belly dance to women from seven years old to 65 years old. Since it's existence in 2015, Kohl Belly dance company has been the Winner of Belly Dance China 2013 - 'Beyond Tradition - Troupe. 

  • 9/29

    Before learning the basics of Belly Dance in Mumbai, Sanjana Muthreja moved overseas to master the art of belly dancing. Sanjana has also trained under Sadie Marquardt who is one of the world's best belly dancers. She has also taught belly dancing to students along with Sadie. She considers Sadie her guru when it comes to belly dancing.

  • 10/29

    With so much of temptation in food; one wonders how does she manage to stay fit and healthy? To this Sanjana Muthreja says, "Up, until a few years into dancing, I did have a rather unhealthy diet. With the kind of hectic routine I had with private and group classes, workshops, my own practice, sessions where I went and trained with my teachers, I realized it would be impossible to keep up if I continued to eat untimely junk. Post that I learned to stick to eating healthy and having a consistent eating routine."

  • 11/29

    Besides training leading Bollywood divas, Sanjana Muthreja also teaches belly dancing to women from all ages. From students, professional, dance enthusiasts and more.

    In the file photo, Sanjana Muthreja is seen practicing her daily belly dance routine on Manali trance along with plus-size model and co-dancer Anjana Bapat.

  • 12/29

    Sanjana Muthreja loves to travel and it is pretty evident from the splendid travel pictures that she posts from her travel diaries. Sanjana captions this one: Twinning on the streets of Prague!

  • 13/29

    Sanjana Muthreja is very active on social media platforms especially Instagram. She paints her world of Insta with stunning pictures from her travel diaries, shoots to every day belly dance practice routines.

    In the file photo, Sanjana is seen performing belly dance on 2018s popular party song Bom Diggy from the movie Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety.

  • 14/29

    Sanjana Muthreja has taught belly dancing to people across ages and global boundaries. From Mumbai to China, and from Greece to Switzerland; you name it and she has covered it. When asked about her experience, Sanjana with a smile says, "Of course!! It is always an amazing feeling to represent India on an International level. Indian classical styles and Bollywood music are thoroughly enjoyed by International students. I, therefore, ensure that I take some flavour of India in my International tours, in that I teach fusion styles where I fuse Bollywood with Belly or Kathak or Yoga with Belly. These workshops are fun and the best form of cultural exchange and the students and I both always enjoy and have a wonderful time."

  • 15/29

    When asked if belly dancing as an art form has scope in India, Sanjana was quick to add, "Belly dancing most certainly has a lot of scope in India, I have seen it grow exponentially in the last 10 years. We started with Shakira, then Sheela ki Jawaani gave it a shot and then came other Bollywood attempts at it with catchy numbers and now everyone has an eye out for it. The style is already flourishing in its scope."

  • 16/29

    Sanjana further adds, "In terms of the Egyptian style, this is a very classical style and this has not been attempted too strongly in Bollywood yet. has Bollywood done justice is a tricky one to answer, I'd say it is commendable that they have attempted it and continue to do so. Many times, however, the need for the movement to be loud and strong takes away from the fluid controlled isolations that are the essence of Belly dancing. We have amazing dancers in our leading ladies and I'm sure the day is not far when we'll see an undiluted beautiful authentic Belly dance numbers on screen."

  • 17/29

    We asked Sanjana Muthreja about few of benefits for people who take up belly dancing. To this, she positively answers, "There are one too many benefits for those learning this form. Fitness, of course, is one, it tones the muscles in your body, in your arms, hips, belly. It helps strengthen the back as well as the core. It improves fluidity and flexibility. Also spiritually, the dance form takes you to a relaxed, calm, meditative, and composed state of mind. Students often find themselves, relaxed, rejuvenated and energized after class.

    In the file photo, Sanjana is seen posing for a group picture after her performance at the Nile Group Festival in Egypt.

  • 18/29

    Sanjana Muthreja posts this splendid yet sensual picture of hers from one of her photo shoots.

  • 19/29

    Sanjana Muthreja looks bold and beautiful as she performs a sensual yet fascinating belly dance performance.

  • 20/29

    Sanjana Muthreja is a truly a wanderers soul. She loves to travel and capture those memories in form of pictures and more. In the file photo, one can see Sanjana trying her hand at skydiving as she looks fearless and confident at the same time. She captions this one: Blissful experience 5000 feet above the ground!

  • 21/29

    Sanjana Muthreja showers tonnes of love in this wonderful post that she shared on Instagram with her Belly Dance guru Sadie. She captions this one: With Sadie post our performance in the Swiss Alps.

  • 22/29

    In the file photo, Sanjana Muthreja posts an elegant photo as she poses one of the few expression and poses from her dance form Kathak.

  • 23/29

    Sanjana Muthreja shares this stunning picture of hers from her Egypt travel diary when she was in the capital city of Egypt to teach belly dancing.

  • 24/29

    In this black and white picture, Sanjana Muthreja looks beautiful as she shows her grace and expressions that she learnt from five years of training in Kathak dance form. She captions: After completing my kathak exam!

  • 25/29

    Sanjana Muthreja looks stunning as she moves her belly in motion as she goes about with her belly dance performance.

  • 26/29

    Sanjana Muthreja looks absolutely stunning as she poses in the backdrop of the Swiss Alps in Switzerland.

  • 27/29

    Sanjana Muthreja takes a selfie with a friend. Doesn't she look gorgeous?

  • 28/29

    Another beautiful picture shared by Sanjana Muthreja during one of her overseas trips

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    Sanjana Muthreja looks stunning in this white dress

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