“It uses all parts of the body and is fantastic for increasing strength, mobility, flexibility and balance,” she explains.
“It’s a form of dance that makes exercise entertaining and fun, and in turn that does wonders for our mental health and wellbeing by alleviating stress and anxiety. And it’s a great social activity, too.”
Born in Mumbai, India’s largest city, Pooja fell in love with dance as a girl, focusing on semi-classical and Bollywood dance.
“I studied to become a professional dancer,” shares Pooja. She went on to earn a reputation as one of the most talented Bollywood icons, rubbing shoulders with India’s top stars and choreographing routines for TV and film.
When a work opportunity for Pooja’s physio husband, Mayur Joshi, arose that resulted in a move to Australia in 2017, the dancer soon realised not many people had heard of Bollywood dance in Launceston
Determined to share her love of the form, she visited schools, community halls and aged-care facilities encouraging people to try it.
With a 10-year career under her belt, she decided to make a her dream a reality.
“I’d always wanted to open my own dance school and make Bollywood dance affordable and available to all, so when I had a great response from the local communities, I decided to bring my passion to Australia,” she explains.
One Christmas, Mayur surprised Pooja with the most magical gift, converting their garage into a dance studio. Then in January 2020, Bollywood Beats opened its doors.
Two years on and Pooja is busier than ever teaching, and juggling mum duties to 3-year-old son, Khiansh.
And as if Pooja doesn’t have enough on her plate, she’s back on the big screen after catching the attention of local filmmaker, Michael Ballard. He approached her to appear in, and choreograph, a scene for Balding, a satirical film about an actor whose life begins to unravel when his hair starts to fall out.
“I can’t wait until the release in June this year,” Pooja says of the experience that was filmed in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
While she loves the lights, camera and action, Pooja – who recently received a local citizens award in recognition for her contribution to Bollywood dancing – sometimes struggles to grasp all she has achieved.
“I just want everyone to experience the joy of Bollywood dance,” she says.
“As long as I can keep making people smile, I’ll be bopping to the Bollywood beat.”