|Born||17 May 1930|
|Occupation(s)||Founder-Director, Kadamb School of Dance and Music|
|Known for||Kathak dance and choreography|
Kumudini Lakhia (born 17 May 1930) is an Indian Kathak dancer and choreographer based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where she founded Kadamb School of Dance and Music, an institute of Indian dance and music in 1967.
A pioneer in contemporary Kathak dance, she is credited for moving away from the solo form of Kathak starting in the 1960s, by turning it into a group spectacle, and also innovations like taking away traditional stories and adding contemporary storylines into Kathak repertoire.
Early life and education
Lakhia started her Kathak training with Sohanlal from the Bikaner Gharana at age seven. This was followed by Ashiq Hussain of Benaras Gharana and Sunder Prasad of the Jaipur school. Encouraged by her mother, Leela, herself a classical singer, she was sent to further her training under the tutelage of Radheylal Misra, himself a disciple of Jai Lal. As a result, she completed her schooling in Lahore and college in Allahabad.
She started her career dancing with Ram Gopal as he toured the West, bringing Indian dance to the eyes of people abroad for the first time, and then became a dancer and choreographer in her own right. She learned first from various gurus of Jaipur gharana, and then from Shambhu Maharaj.
She is particularly known for her multi-person choreographies. Some of her most famous choreographies include Dhabkar (Pulse), Yugal (The Duet), and Atah Kim (Where Now?), which she performed at the annual Kathak Mahotsav in Delhi in 1980. She was also a choreographer in the Hindi film, Umrao Jaan (1981), along with Gopi Krishna.
She is a guru to many disciples, including Kathak dancers Aditi Mangaldas, Vaishali Trivedi, Sandhya Desai, Daksha Sheth, Maulik Shah, Ishira Parikh, Prashant Shah, Urja Thakore and Parul Shah amongst others .
She married Rajnikant Lakhia, who was studying law at the Lincolns Inn and was a violinist with the Ram Gopal company and moved to Ahmedabad in 1960. She has a son Shriraj and a daughter Maitreyi.
- "Variation in Thumri" (1969)
- "Venu Nad" (1970)
- "Bhajan" (1985)
- "Hori" (1970)
- "Kolaahal" (1971)
- "Duvidha" (1971)
- "Dhabkar" (1973)
- "Yugal" (1976)
- "Umrao Jaan" (1981)
- "Atah Kim" (1982)
- "Okha Haran" (1990)
- "Hun-Nari" (1993)
- "Golden Chains" (for Neena Gupt, London)
- "Sam Samvedan" (1993)
- "Samanvay" (2003)
- "Bhav Krida" (1999)
- "Feathered Cloth – Hagoromo" (2006)
- "Mushti" (2005)
Awards and honors
- Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1987
- Padma Bhushan in 2010
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award by Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1982
- Kalidas Samman for the year 2002-03
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Ratna by Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2011
- Guru Gopinath Desiya Natya Puraskaram (2021) by Government of Kerala
- Swaminathan, Chitra (21 May 2020). "Kumudini Lakhia: The lovable diva of choreography". The Hindu.
- Pathak, Rujul (17 July 2002). "A dancers opinion". The Times of India. TNN. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
- Rachel Howard (24 September 2006). "When Many Feet Make Loud Work". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
- "Dance of the masters". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 21 November 2004. Archived from the original on 31 May 2005. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
- Leela Venkatraman (25 May 2008). "New vocabulary for Kathak". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
- Profile: A whole new whirl Suhani Singh, India Today, January 6, 2016.
- Kumudini Lakhia at IMDb
- "Bollywood's new dancing queen". Rediff Movies. 2 August 2006. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
- "Guru Gopinath award for Kumidini Lakhia". The Hindu. 9 June 2022. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
- Movement in Stills: The Dance And Life of Kumudini Lakhia (ISBN 81-88204-42-0) by Reena Shah
- Choreography in the Indian Context by Kumudini Lakhia, (Keynote address Feb 2002)