Faculty Lecture: Kumudini Lakhia 9/20, Scheuer Room

Kumudini Lakhia will lecture on Dance in India on September 20 (4:15-6PM) in the Scheuer Room, Kohlberg.

Indian dance is an important artistic expression of India’s cultural heritage.  This audio-visual presentation by visiting Cornell Professor Kumudini Lakhia will chart the contemporization of classical dance traditions.  She will present a brief history of Indian dance and then focus on Kathak , a north Indian classical form,  to show how the body is molded in the Kathak technique.  She will illustrate this by using her own choreographic innovations and discuss her motivations for breaking out of the traditional repertoire.  She will conclude with her contributions to the modern development of Kathak as a concert dance form and its increasing relevance in India and its diaspora.

Kumudini Lakhia, the visiting Cornell Professor in the Dance Program, is one of the most accomplished and highly recognized artists in India, in the field of dance and choreography.   Her innovations in the field of Kathak, a classical Indian dance from North India, are equivalent to innovations by trail blazers such as Martha Graham.  She founded Kadamb Center of Dance and Music in Ahmadabad, Gujarat in 1967.   She is a pioneering figure in the Indian contemporary dance movement and her works set in motion what is known now as contemporary Kathak.  Her choreographies are landmarks in the annals of Indian dance and they range from contemporary choreographies to some of the iconic creations in Bombay films.  Kumudini is the recipient of some of the highest civilian awards in India such as the Sangeet Natak Academy award, Padma Shri and Padma Bhusan.  She is one of the most sought after teachers and choreographers in the world, working and collaborating with international dance stars such as Akram Khan.   Her life and work are the focus of the book “Movement in Stills: The Dance and Life of Kumudini Lakhia” by Reena Shah.  Her students are also internationally renowned dancers and choreographers such as Aditi Mangaldas, Daksha Seth, and Prashant Shah.  Apart from teaching at Kadamb, she holds regular workshops and classes in the U.K, Canada, and USA.   She carries the message that tradition and innovation are not oppositional ideas, but that tradition can be the springboard for creativity and innovation.