Rajika Puri


Rajika Puri is an exponent of Bharatanatyam and Odissi who has performed internationally in solo recitals (including a Command Performance for the President of Mexico), is now known for her innovative explorations of traditional Indian dance and music: Flamenco Natyam, a mosaic of flamenco and Bharatanatyam, danced story telling in which she accompanies herself by singing and chanting the text and songs which she interprets in movement, and Bharatanatyam variations in which she looks at the ancient temple dance form from a post-modern perspective.

Rajika Puri as Kali in The Transposed Heads
PHOTO CREDIT: Gerry Goodstein, 1986

Ms Puri is also an actress. She played ‘Goddess Kali‘, ‘Narrator’, and the voice for several puppets in Julie Taymor’s The Transposed Heads (Lincoln Center Theater), and appeared in the films like Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala and Danny Leiner’s The Great New Wonderful. Recent productions include Union/Severed, an exploration of two ways of relating to the divine – as lover and as mother – performed to popular western songs sung by Nora York (Asia Society) and traditional Orissi music, and Devi-Malika, danced stories about a ‘garland of goddesses’ (Rubin Museum of Art).

Ms Puri is on the Advisory Council of IAAC.

PHOTO CREDIT: Ken Van Sickle, 2000

Rajika Puri has danced, performed and studied in the Debaprasad Das style of Odissi since 1972; shishya of late Guru Srinath Rauth, and, currently, Guru Durga Charan Ranbir; mentor: Nrityagram since 1992, & Trinayan Collective, NY since inception). Bharatanatyam since early childhood; main guru: Sikkil Ramaswamy Pillai.

PHOTO CREDIT: Ken Van Sickle, 1986

After performing Odissi and Bharatanatyam in solo recital all over Europe, Latin America, India and US, Rajika now follows three main venues:

a) Danced storytelling in which she sings to accompany herself, e.g. Story of Sati, Gita Govinda, Savitri & Yama

b) Exploring strategies for group choreography in solo dance forms like Odissi & Bharatanatyam

c) Experiments with different kinds of music: Bach, Flamenco, Western Song.

Rajika Puri as Kali & La Conja in Flamenco Natyam
Gilles Larraine 1998

Command performance for President of Mexico;
Odissi Festivals: Odissi 2000 & Odissi 2003 in Washington D.C.; Shraddanjali in honour of Guru Deba Prasad Das, New Delhi- 1994, 2001, & 2006.

Gita Govinda (UNION/SEVERED) production, by FRANCES HUI 2005

Union/Severed - with singer Nora York, Bansuri master Steve Gorn, & 4 other dancers -
looks at two ways that human beings relate to divinity: as lover & as mother.
Union juxtaposes Jayadeva’s ashta-padi with popular American songs which express similar bhava and rasa; Severed intersperses Kali sloka with medieval latin chants.
Dancers: Aditi Dhruv, Sylvia Lym, Alicia Pascal, and Taiis Pascal. Directed by Yuval Sharon.
Asia Society, May 19-20, 2005

Devi-malika- in duet with Steve Gorn (Bansuri)- a garland of danced stories on the feminine divine in India, commissioned by Rubin Museum, NY, Dec 15, 2005.
Directed by Yuval Sharon.

Jan 17-19, 2008
in The Duke @ 42nd St, NY

Rajika Puri as Radha "Union/Severed" by FRANCES HUI, 2005

Conversations with Shiva:
Bharatanatyam Unwrapped - an exploration of the quintessential elements of this form – Adavu, Hasta, Svara, Sollu, Varna – from a post-modern and minimalist perspective, but placed within the model of a margam recital for multiple bodies in a sacred, yet contemporary, time-space.

"Conversations with Shiva" by JANE KUNG, 2007

Shobana Raghavan (Vocals), A. R. Balaskandan (Mridangam, Violin),
Anil Srinivasan (Music Advisor); Frank Wolf (Sound engineering and Design).
Dancers: Aditi Dhruv, Alicia Pascal, Shobana Ram, Nirali Shastri, Sonali Skandan, Malini Srinivasan, and Pavithra Vasudevan.
Directed by Yuval Sharon
Joyce SoHo, NY, March 22-25, 2007

"Conversations with Shiva" by JANE KUNG, 2007

For more information on Rajika Puri, please visit her website

Or email her at

Facsimile: 1.212.647.1637

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Visits Since Sept 15, 2007