Sapna Rohra, BS ’07, is proof that karma is simply cause and effect. She spent her childhood and her student years at Hopkins working toward becoming a professional dancer and choreographer. No mystery then that she chose the name “Karmagraphy” for her Los Angeles Bollywood fusion dance company, which combines Indian and hip-hop dance styles with colorful costumes.
While growing up in Lubbock, Texas, Rohra studied ballet, tap, and jazz—and became enraptured by Bollywood dancing. She also excelled at math and science. Her parents encouraged her to pursue those disciplines. “It was always a given that I would go to college and pursue an academic major, and engineering was something I wanted to study,” says Rohra, who majored in electrical engineering at the Whiting School. When she wasn’t in class, Rohra spent most of her spare time dancing with two undergraduate South Asian dance troupes (which she served as dance captain and choreographer).
After a post-graduation stint training in New York City, Rohra moved to Los Angeles to study hip-hop. Her big break came in 2008 with a trip to India to visit relatives. There, she learned of an ongoing online Bollywood choreography competition. With the deadline looming, Rohra returned to the U.S., where she and dance partner Shivani Thakkar created, performed, and taped their entry in just three days. Theirentry wowed the judges and won the online competition. The honor earned them a trip to Mumbai, India, to appear in Chance Pe Dance—a Bollywood film directed by Ken Gnosh, and starring Shahid Kapoor. (The film debuted in January 2010).
After that, the cause-andeffect cycle sped up—way up. Rohra signed with McDonald Selznick Associates dance agency in January 2009; that May, she and business partner Kavito Rao formed Karmagraphy and signed with DDO Artists Agency as choreographers.
Currently Rohra teaches Bollywood classes, works as a choreographer and dancer, takes acting classes, has added belly dancing and samba to her resume—and tutors in math and science on the side.
Through it all, she’s discovered that stoking a childhood dream with a Hopkins engineering degree has surprising benefits. “My degree is very helpful as an entrepreneur,” she says. “As an engineer, I can break down a challenge into a multistep problem. Hopkins taught me to hold my own and not give up.”
Page 1 of 1 pages for this article