Dancing the Gods: Night One - Kasi Aysola and Archana Raja (Kuchipudi)

Our annual Dancing the Gods festival of Indian Dance celebrates its 13th year, featuring some of the leading performers of Indian dance. Each night begins with a slide presentation by Rajika Puri, festival curator, and acclaimed dance storyteller.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Doors: 7 PM | Lec Dem by Curator Rajika Puri: 7:15 PM | Performance:  8 PM

Co-presented with Asia Society

Asia Society – 725 Park Ave., Manhattan

Tickets: $35 | $45 | $55

Night One: Kasi Aysola and Archana Raja (Kuchipudi with live music)

Kasi Aysola is a performer, choreographer, and nattuvangam artist based in the United States. Apart from his solo performances, as Artistic Director of the Prakriti Dance Company, he also collaborates with and trains artists across America. Moreover, he is renowned for his original rhythmic compositions and the musical insight with which he has accompanied dance artists like Rama Vaidyanathan, Mythili Prakash, and Janaki Rangarajan, all of whom have appeared in Dancing the Gods over the years. WMI last presented Kasi as part of our virtual Dancing the Gods festival in 2022, where he performed the world premiere of a series of Kuchipudi works. For this year’s festival, he will be joined by Archana Raja, a Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi practitioner, teacher, and choreographer based in the Bay Area who is currently a student of Kasi in the Vempati style of Kuchipudi.

Link to Night Two: Rama Vaidyanathan (Bharatanatyam

About Festival Curator and Presenter Rajika Puri

photo by Nan Melville

RAJIKA PURI, an exponent of Bharatanatyam and Odissi, conceived of and named Dancing the Gods, Festival of Indian Dance. Well-versed in the dance world of India, and herself an exponent of Bharatanatyam and Odissi, she personally contacts fellow dancers in India – soloists and groups – and is involved in curating the programs they present. Rajika is also known for her particular brand of onstage pre-performance slide lectures – often with demonstration – on a subject connected with the dance forms being presented.

This year’s slide-lecture is on ‘Choreography and Indian Dance’, presented in the auditorium on both May 10th& 12th at 7:15pm.

About Kuchipudi

Kuchipudi is a dance form rooted in the theatrical and dance traditions of Andhra Pradesh, named for the village – also known as Kuchelapuram – where it originated. Traditionally it was performed by troupes of male actor-dancers who presented full-length plays, often lasting all night, to celebrate festivals dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Alongside this tradition developed a solo form, which is today popular around the world.