Skirball Center for the Performing Arts - New York University

Following unforgettable performances by Shantala Shivalingappa and Rama Vaidyanathan in 2011, and Nrityagram Surupa Sen & Bijayini Satpathy in 2013, Dancing the Gods weekend festival highlighting classical Indian dance returns in 2014 with more striking artists.

“...both briskly exciting and exacting, [Dandekar's turns are] a wonder…” The New York Times


A double bill featuring Rahul Acharya, who brings a chiseled masculinity to the quintessentially feminine Odissi, and Vidhya Subramanian, a bold interpreter of the classically paradigmatic Bharatanatyam. Odissi speaks of love and union with the divine, and Acharya is treasured for both his subtle mastery over musical phrasing and for his sublime display of emotions. Lithe and agile, he moves with breathtaking ease into the shapes of temple sculptures—even taking the seemingly impossible poses associated with Shiva. He hails from a family of “rajagurus” of the Puri temple, and brings to his work a deep understanding of the spiritual texts and their message, becoming entirely “one” with the dances he performs.

  • Pre-performance lec-dem at 7:00 p.m. by dancer/storyteller Rajika Puri (description below)
  • Post-show Chat & Chai with the artists
  • More activities TBA


The poised, flowing Kathak from Northern India and the fire-like Bharatanatyam from the South are juxtaposed in this double bill. The two styles stand in opposition, quite literally, with Kathak’s upright, straight-legged stances versus Bharatanatyam’s seated or bent knee postures; Kathak’s emphasis on footwork, rhythmic accuracy and spins compared to Bharatanatyam’s focus on mudras and angular poses. Bringing these differences to life are Shambhavi Dandekar, daughter and disciple of the renowned Kathak guru Maneesha Sathe, and Janaki Rangarajan, who stands at the forefront of the new generation of Bharatanatyam dancers.

  • Pre-performance lec-dem at 6:00 p.m. by dancer/storyteller Rajika Puri (description below)
  • Post-show Chat & Chai with the artists
  • More activities TBA

Pre-performance lec-dem by dancer/storyteller Rajika Puri: 
The MUSIC of INDIAN DANCE, an introduction to the rhythms, ragas, instruments, and ‘gait’ that transform into the movements of Kathak, Bharatanatyam, and Odissi, each danced to one of three main systems of Indian Music: Hindustani (north Indian), Carnatic (south Indian) and Oriya (from Orissa).

Co-curated by Rajika Puri.