Rukmini Vijayakumar, is the artistic director of Raadha Kalpa Dance Company, and the director of Lshva, a space for artists. She is known for her unique style and approach to the practice of Bharatanatyam. Her strength lies in her dedicated and rigorous practice and layered knowledge of Bharatanatyam. Rukmini has developed a pedagogical system that approaches Bharatanatyam in a systematic analytical manner that trains the body progressively while cultivating creative exploration. She has performed as a soloist all over the world, including the Jacobs Pillow, The Drive east festival, LaMama Theater NYC, Korzo Theater, amongst numerous other venues. She was noticed for her role as “the goddess of love” in Pandit Ravi Shankar’s Opera, ‘Sukanya’, produced by The Royal Opera house, London.
She began her bharatanatyam practice under Guru Padmini Rao, Guru Sundari Santhanam and Guru Narmada. Her style is greatly influenced by Karanas, an ancient movement practice of India. A Graduate of the Boston Conservatory, Rukmini’s process of creation is both traditional and contemporary. She was a recipient of the Kylian grant for choreography and a resident choreographer at Korzo theater, Netherlands in 2018. Rukmini continues to to create extensively in the traditional format of presentation. Her productions, Nayani, Prabhavati, Abhimata, Talattu and The Dark Lord have toured india and the world extensively. Her more recent work, Turiya, MALA, The Muse and Unrequited were created within the contemporary idiom and have been appreciated for their creative approach to the bharatanatyam vocabulary.
Also an actor, Rukmini has had the privilege of working with some of the best Filmmakers in the Indian film industry. She has worked with Bharathi Raja, Mani Ratnam, R Balki, Harsha, and Soundarya Rajanikanth. She was nominated for the Filmfare award, best supporting actress for her role in “Bhajarangi”.
News & Reviews
Stopping Traffic Downtown With a Subcontinent’s Movements.
…. uses the whole body, sometimes acrobatically. She is the first Bharatanatyam dancer I can remember to do the splits, and in her modern solo she takes one sculptural balance and then adjusts it to hold her foot, behind her, up by her head…….In terms of gesture, switches of angle and communicating swift changes of emotion (alarm, then surprise, then joy), she is not just engaging but also authoritative
August 18th 2011, By Alastair Macaulay
Dance is her breath and soul
…..gave an astounding performance in Bharat Kalachar, where she made the audience go into raptures even before she completed a dance piece..Her performance held the audience spellbound……the Varnam, which she performed with ease was highly appreciated.
News Today, 22nd August 2005, Chennai
….gave an enchanting performance. The angalakshanas in nritta, nrutya and natya were well coordinated with angikabhinaya. The agility of the rechakas were an artistry of coherence
The Hindu, 1998, Bangalore
"….The expressive agnikabhinaya and fine finish in stanaka postures in tune with rhythmical
sanchari were appreciable….."
The Hindu, March 8th, 2002
"…….Everything about her sparkled: her rhythmic footwork, poses, facial expressions and super-clear hand movements…"
– David Mead, Seeing dance, on Ravishankar's Opera Sukanya. May 2017
Rukmini Weaves Magic
…. 2006 dance festival at Khajuraho and held the audience spellbound for an hour at the end of which they went into raptures..She was the youngest solo performer this year. She creatively wove intricate poses of Kali with powerful nritta and performed the piece with grace and ease. Each piece was carefully chosen and creatively choreographed to transport the audience into the other realms.Tears streaming down her face, Rukmini’s surrender to lord Shiva at the end was especially touching. The Ashtapadi in Madhuvanti was her masterpiece. Each of the characters came across crystal clear her interpretation, innovative and original each teermana was perfectly executed to talaa.Rukmini is a young and extraordinarily talented dancer, one to watch out for in the dance scene in the future.
Bangalore Bias, March 17th 2006
Scripting a courageous tale
In Richard Shannonas play, The Lady of Burmaa, Rukmini Vijayakumar gave a fitting tribute to one of the greatest heroes of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, with her hard hitting performance..It was a delight to watch and left audiences contemplative….The one-actor performance was a soul stirring narrative on Suu Kyi’s memories…..depicted a host of emotions experienced by Suu Kyi, from grief, as her mother passed away, to euphoria, as her party won. The grief Suu Kyi was hounded by on not being able to contact her family was beautifully portrayed by Rukmini….The Depayin attack where Rukmini described hundreds of stones pelting was a tragic narration that left many in the audience somber….
Deccan Herald, April 2nd 2011. Bangalore
Stark and Simple
Directed by Prakash Belawadi and starring dancer Rukmini Vijayakumar in a solo role, the play was well attended..Vijayakumar is a fine actor and a powerful dancer. Her sharp features and her wonderful eloquence brought great elegance to her actinga.Vijayakumar in her role as Suu Kyi brings a great deal of honesty and humanity to performance…..Vijayakumar screams as sound of Machine gunfire is heard, tears well up in her eyes as she runs to the ropes. The cosy performance auditorium at the NGMA resonated with Vijayakumar’s passionate outbursts…..
The Hindu, April 4th 2011, Bangalore