Rajika Puri

About Rajika
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Ongoing Projects

Indian Dance & Theatre

Improvising Dance to Music

Flamenco Natyam

Bharatanatyam Variations

The Western Stage

Writings & Lectures




Rajika Puri's Headshot

RAJIKA PURI is an internationally acclaimed exponent of two forms of Indian classical dance - Bharata Natyam and Odissi - which she performs in solo recital all over Europe, the United States, Latin America, and India. Career highlights include a command performance for the President of Mexico.

Since 1986, when she was cast as 'Narrator/the goddess Kali' in Lincoln Center Theater's The Transposed Heads, directed by Julie Taymor, she has also had a unique career on the western stage, often bringing to her roles the richness of the Indian theatre tradition she was initially trained in.

Based in New York for over twenty years, Rajika moved to Mumbai, (Bombay) for six years in 1992 and was inspired by an artistic milieu that encouraged new directions in the performing arts. A landmark project of 1998 was Flamenco Natyam, a blend of Flamenco with Bharata Natyam, presented at the Works & Process series of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and then on tour in India.

Trained since childhood in classical Indian dance and music - her Bharata Natyam guru was Sikkil Guru Ramaswamy Pillai, her Odissi Gurukul is that of Deba Prasad Das - Rajika has also studied western music (the voice and piano), American Modern Dance (at the Graham & Cunningham studios in New York), and Flamenco.

In 1983 she received an MA in The Anthropology of Human Movement from New York University, specializing in how meaning is made through movements such as the hand gesture (hasta mudra) system of classical Indian theatre. Writings and articles range from academic papers in journals like Semiotica to previews of dance performances in Playbill, and magazine features on dance from a cultural perspective.

Current projects involve four areas - all of which focus as much on music as on dance:
  • Adding a visual dimension to south Indian classical music (Carnatic music) by improvising Bharata Natyam movement during a music recital;

  • Developing music that interweaves Carnatic music with flamenco, in furtherance of the Flamenco Natyam venture;

  • Bringing a modern aesthetic to experimental choreography in Bharata Natyam;

  • Lectures on relationships between Indian dance, and music, sculpture, mythology, poetry, and painting - illustrated with slides, story-telling, and excerpts from dances.

Please click here to see Rajika's resume.

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