Uttara Asha Coorlawala

Uttara Asha CoorlawalaUttara Asha Coorlawala, (Ph.D. New York University) has been teaching technique and theoretical dance courses at Long Island University's C.W. Post Campus, Barnard College (Columbia University) and at Princeton University, NJ. She served as editor and as member of the Editorial and Executive Boards for Dance Research Journal. Her articles have been published in Pulse, U.K. Animated, U.K. Sruti (India's leading magazine for Music and dance) Dance Chronicle, Dance Research Journal, Sangeet Natak Akademi Journal and anthologies. Her most recent project involved South Asian Dance as part of a larger Ford Foundation project on changing demographies and cultures in the USA.

Born in Hyderabad and educated in India, Uttara studied hatha yoga with B.K.S. Iyengar, Siddha Yoga, Bharatanatyam (Kalakshetra style) and studies in Ancient Indian Culture at St. Xavier’s Heras Indological Institute, all in Mumbai. She transferred to Smith College, Mass. graduating with the Phi-Sigma-Psi honor award, and went on to train in modern dance in New York city, as a competitive scholarship student at the Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham studios while running a dance program at The Spence School, New York. Concurrently she was and dancing with New York based dance companies as Ballet Hispanico, Pearl Lang, Daniel Maloney, Sun Ock Lee, and Kei Takei. Here, she performed the works of choreographers as diverse as Talley Beatty, Yvonne Rainer, Anna Sokolow.

Coorlawala then returned to India to pioneer what is now a growing trend towards intercultural innovation. Her own choreographic style brought her three disciplines, modern dance, Bharata Natyam and yoga, to the dance stage. As a soloist, she danced throughout India, Europe, East Europe, Japan and the United States and as a designated cultural representative of India and for the United States. She served as a Performing Arts advisor to the late Rajiv Gandhi when he was Prime Minister and to the National Center of Performing Arts, Mumbai. Her repertory included works by Mrinalini Sarabhai, Padma Subrahmanyam, Mohanrao Kalyanpurkar, Carmen DeLavallade, Alvin Ailey, and Asian new dance works as well.

Coorlawala received the AHRB Dance Research Fellowship for South Asian Dance Research awarded by The Universities of Surrey, U.K. and the School of Oriental and Asian Studies, London, Graduate Research Award from CORD, an organization for dance research and scholarship, with membership worldwide; Kappa Delta Pi, the National Honor Society of Educators for excellence in research; the J.D. Rockefeller IIIrd Fund Fellowship; the the Dadabhai Naoroji Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored jointly by the British and Indian governments and the Homi Bhabha Fellowship in India.

Uttara Asha Coorlawala may be reached by email at

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