Kumudini LakhiaKumudini Lakhia
, the visiting Cornell Professor in the Dance Program, is one of the most accomplished and highly recognized artists in India, in the field of dance and choreography. Her innovations in the field of Kathak, a classical Indian dance from North India, are equivalent to innovations by trail blazers such as Martha Graham. She founded Kadamb Center of Dance and Music in Ahmadabad, Gujarat in 1967. She is a pioneering figure in the Indian contemporary dance movement and her works set in motion what is known now as contemporary Kathak. Her choreographies are landmarks in the annals of Indian dance and they range from contemporary choreographies to some of the iconic creations in Bombay films. Kumudini is the recipient of some of the highest civilian awards in India such as the Sangeet Natak Academy award, Padma Shri and Padma Bhusan. She is one of the most sought after teachers and choreographers in the world, working and collaborating with international dance stars such as Akram Khan. Her life and work are the focus of the book "Movement in Stills: The Dance and Life of Kumudini Lakhia" by Reena Shah. Her students are also internationally renowned dancers and choreographers such as Aditi Mangaldas, Daksha Seth, and Prashant Shah. Apart from teaching at Kadamb, she holds regular workshops and classes in the U.K, Canada, and USA. She carries the message that tradition and innovation are not oppositional ideas, but that tradition can be the springboard for creativity and innovation.