Chitra Krishnamurti

In addition to being an established scientist, Chitra Krishnamurti is a professional Indian classical Odissi dance performer and Director of Nrityalaya, school of Odissi dance in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Chitra has learned this art form from the most eminent gurus of Odissi (the Late Padmashri Sanjukta Panigrahi and Padma Bhushan Kelucharan Mohapatra) and has produced and directed innumerable shows in the area that have been highly acclaimed by the discerning, packed audiences. She has choreographed and directed many dance dramas: “Gita Govindam”, “Dasavatar”, “Sudama Charitram”, “Karna”, “Devi”, “Mahatma Gamdhi” etc.

She has performed solo repertoires very widely in the USA and India. Her invited solo performances at the prestigious Music Academy in Chennai, New Delhi, India and Japan have been applauded a great deal. She has been invited by the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC to perform during two of their exhibits “Puja” – 1996 and “Devi” - 1999. She has several TV and newspaper interviews to her credit.

Nrityalayawas the first Odissi dance school in the USA to conduct the graduation or solo 2 hours performance “Ranga Pravesh” or “Mancha Pravesh” of its senior student in 1994. More than a dozen girls have graduated so far and are continuing to advance their dance careers under her tutelage. As the guru, Chitra has choreographed and composed innumerable items for the performances of the graduating disciples in India and the USA.

Since Chitra is well versed in the Classical and folk arts of India, she has agreed to be a local correspondent (time permitting!) for a prestigious Music and Dance magazine published in Chennai, India. This magazine, “Sruti” is the only one of its kind in India. She has also sent articles on other forms of dance and dance shows to local newspapers and community magazines in the area. In the local Indian Community she is a popular figure who is wanted not only for her artistic talent but also for her organizational skills to coordinate both the back stage and front stage mainstay work.

She is the recipient of awards from the Arts Council of Montgomery County, MD and the Commission on the Humanities, Montgomery County, MD. She has produced several shows in the area with the single most purpose of raising funds for charitable organizations in India and USA. One such charity was the establishment of the “Sanjukta Panigrahi Award” in memory of her late guru. Every year a dancer is chosen and awarded money to further her dance skills. In December 2002, Chitra presented the second “Sanjukta Panigrahi Award” in person to a talented dancer. Many eminent Odissi gurus felicitated her on her trip to Orissa - certainly a big honor. This was broadcast on local TV and reviews appeared in all the leading newspapers.

In her "other life", she is a mother, and Deputy Director of a Minority Health Affairs Office at NIH and is very busy with work and travel. Ms. Krishnamurti works to help the underrepresented community by presenting the opportunities available to them to help pursue scientific careers.

Chitra Krishnamurti can be reached at

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