In 2003, Puja established the Sanskriti Arts Ensemble in Toronto, bringing together students with a passion for dance and extreme drive to explore their potential. She received the Kesri Youth Award 2005 in Canada for appreciation of support and help to impact and make a difference in the lives of youth.
Her Bollywood Bhangra workshops are a ‘Dhamaka’ and part of most multicultural projects such as Urban Noise and programs with the Soulpepper Theatre Company. Puja has conducted Indian Dance Workshops at the Black Creek Pioneer Village, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Street Festival at Dundas Square, various schools, dance centers and International Conventions.
At the International Dance Challenge in Toronto amongst the several Awards SAE won, Amin won a special prize called ‘Inside Out’.
Artistic Director, SAE
With an extensive family lineage of Indian musicians, Nirmala sought another related outlet of expression to add to her traditional Indian background. After exploring various channels, Nirmala found her passion in dance at Sanskriti Arts and excelled in her dance studies, taking classes simultaneously at various locations around the GTA.
Nirmala has been trained vigilantly by Puja Amin to ensure quality instruction in various Indian dance styles is provided to all students of Sanskriti Arts. Her dedication, commitment and sincerity towards her role as a teacher at Sanskriti Arts have been her propellers to excel as a dancer and instructor herself.
Nirmala is familiar with many styles of Indian dance including Bollywood, Rajasthani, Bhangra, Garba and Kathak. She has been teaching students from ages 2½ to 60+ since 2006. Nirmala teaches private and group lessons across Sanskriti studio locations in and around the GTA. She also facilitates and assists in workshops across the country.
Aside from dance, Nirmala also teaches children’s yoga classes and adult fitness classes for Sanskriti Arts. She also facilitates dance parties for children and adults.
Arts Manager, Dance & Yoga Instructor, SAE
“I know how I feel when I watch Puja dance – I want my students to feel that same exhilaration that I feel when I’m being taught by Puja. This is my driving factor to be a good teacher, to allow my students to experience the greatness of Sanskriti Arts!”
A trainedvrudhi shah Bharatnatyam dancer, Vrudhi is one of the founding members of the Sanskriti Arts Ensemble. Currently in her final year of undergraduate studies at York University, she is studying medicine to be a doctor.
Vrudhi began dancing when she was only 5 years old and trained as a Bharatnatyam disciple of Sujatha Chandramohanam.
Vrudhi began training with Puja Amin in 2003 and has learned Kathak, Bhangra, Garba-Raas, Rajasthani and many other forms of Indian folk dancing. Apart from Indian dances, Vrudhi is fluent in free style, jazz, ballet, modern dance and swing.
She teaches various Indian dance forms at Sanskriti studio locations in downtown Toronto and Scarborough. She plays a prominent role in SAE performances all over Canada.
Founding member, Dance Instructor, SAE
“I dont recall when i first started dancing, however, i'm glad i haven't stopped ever since. Dancing is a magic that captures everyone. My journey with Puja and Sanskriti has been a wonderful fun-filled one and I look forward to remaining a part of the Sanskriti family as long as I can.”
Shireen's passion for dance Shireen Ali has led her to become an aspiring dance educator and dedicated performer. Her passion for cultural dance forms has always been an important part of her childhood because of her West Indian heritage, leading her to begin formal training in Jazz dance. Shireen is also trained in Egyptian Beledi dance, West African dance, Latin dance forms, Southeast Asian dance and Hip Hop and continues to spread these dance forms through various workshops and performing choreographies.
After being introduced to Sanskriti Arts at Masala! Mehndi! Masti!, Shireen decided to bring her childhood favourite, Bollywood dance, back into her life. She has been performing with Sanskriti Arts Ensemble since 2009 and has now become one of their versatile instructors, teaching at various locations across the GTA, including children's and adult dance classes, as well as adult fitness classes.
Shireen has performed two years at M!M!M!, been featured in promos with local television stations like CBC, CTV, and CHCH and has performed with singing sensations, Shibani Kashyap, Vikas Khanna and Ali Quli Mirza. Shireen has also gained experience in modeling for fashion shows and photo shoots. Not only does she love dancing, but she has also pursued interest in music. As of 2009, Shireen has been a member of Samba Squad, led by award-winning percussionist, Rick Lazar and has also been a dedicated member of steel pan band, York Tones, led by steel pan musician Gareth Burgess.
Dance & Fitness Instructor, SAE
“Dance is an embodied movement – one which takes extensive training and dedication and it requires an open mind. I will always be thankful for the teachers that I have encountered in my life because they are the ones who have inspired me to spread dance as an educational practice. Whether it be for fun or for practice, dance will continue to uplift my spirits and I want to encourage these feelings and experiences to my students.”