Ajanta Chakraborty – Woman Owned Wednesday

This week’s Woman Owned Wednesday (WOW) is especially close to my heart. I am extremely proud and honored to feature my dear friend, Ajanta ChakrabortyAjanta_teachAjanta, along with hubby Vivek Kumar, is the co-founder and President of Bollywood Groove (‘bG’ for us regulars), a Bollywood dance, fitness and education company in Chicago.

Ajanta has been dancing on stage since she was 5 and is trained in the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam. She took her passion for dance and combined it with the rhythmic and fun music of Bollywood to start bG. Founded in 2008, bG really took off in 2011 when Ajanta boldly decided to quit her well-established career in consulting and follow her passion to run bG full time.

Today, bG offers 30+ weekly kids dance classes (my daughter goes to these) and adult cardio classes (I used to be a regular, pre-kid) all over Chicagoland. In addition, you can see bG instructors, troupe and students perform at a host of private and public events from flash mobs at the ‘Bean’ and birthday bashes to special events such as weddings and first dances. They are famous for their signature ‘interactive sessions’, where they make audiences, sometimes as large as 2,000, dance along and experience the fun and energetic beats of Bollywood!

The adult cardio classes are high-energy and enable participants to burn up to 700 calories in a single 60 min class. The workouts are truly joyous and fast paced exercise that I love attending. One of my most inspiring memories of Ajanta is of her teaching a high-energy class when she was 9 months pregnant with her son, #lifegoals.

Recently, Ajanta has launched an online version of the workouts that is accessible across multiple devices: bG Cardio OnDemand! bG Cardio was my staple form of exercise pre-kid and now with schedules clashing, this 24×7 workout will be my life saver! Guaranteed to make you sweat (and smile). Check it out here.

Never one to stop innovating, in addition to being a cardio-fitness company and hosting kids dance classes, last year bG launched the ‘Maya and Neel’s India Adventure Series’ picture books for kids ages 3-7. When Ajanta started the kids dance program, she wanted kids to learn more than just the choreography and dance steps. She wanted kids to learn about India’s rich cultural heritage. As part of each dance session, Ajanta introduces kids to a region or cultural concept of India via story-telling, craft and other activities. The book series is a way to share this classroom experience with others.

There are 4 titles currently available (affiliate links) – Diwali, Holi, Ramadan & Eid and Mumbai – with Navratri and Christmas coming soon ! The book on Diwali is already a best seller! The books are available worldwide for purchase in hard cover, soft cover and electronic versions. I definitely plan on getting these for my daughter.

Bollywood Groove is an initiative that started as a hobby about 9 years ago but has now transformed into a full-fledged company with a team of 10+ thanks to Ajanta’s hard work, perseverance and inspiration. She continues to look for ways to share her tremendous passion and joy for Bollywood across age groups, backgrounds and body types be it via her energetic cardio workouts, beautifully choreographed Kids recitals, interactive sessions or children’s books.

I wish her the very best and look forward to be swept off my feet to the tunes of Bollywood. Ajanta, you are truly a WOW woman! Here is a link to her Facebook page if you would like to learn more about events she is hosting.

As a bonus, you get to watch a short clip from a flash mob that I was a part of with Ajanta’s group, with the famous Chicago bean as our beautiful backdrop. Comment below and tell me if you can spot me!

– Charu

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