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From the Horse's Mouth


Theater at the 14th Street Y
344 East 14th St (between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
New York, NY 10003


Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 8:00pm
Friday, April 28, 2017 - 8:00pm
Saturday, April 29, 2017 - 8:00pm
Sunday, April 30, 2017 - 3:00pm



From the Horse's Mouth



Conceived and directed by Tina Croll & Jamie Cunningham - Curated by Rajika Puri - Aniruddha Knight, Hari Krishnan, Anita Ratnam To Join More Than 25 Artists

From the Horse's Mouth offers a special production showcasing Indian Dance in America: its history and the diversity of forms from Bharatanatyam to Bollywood. Special Event - A CENTURY OF INDIAN DANCE IN AMERICA 1906-2017 with Rajika Puri and fellow participants, Wednesday, April 26 at 6:30pm


In celebration of the history and scope of Indian dance in America, From the Horse’s Mouth will dedicate its next theater/dance performance event to this storied art form, including its early connections to Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Jack Cole, and the fascinating early Indian dancers in America Balasaraswati, Ragini Devi, Indrani, and many more. Live music will be included in this colorful tribute, curated by Rajika Puri, doyenne of Indian Dance in NYC.

The weekend celebration, at 8pm on April 27, 28 and 29 and at 3pm on April 30, will include four performances of "From the Horse’s Mouth" at the Theater at the 14th Street Y. Over 25 dancers, musicians, historians and choreographers of Indian dance will participate, ranging from pioneers to the current generation of dancers, exploring a range of Indian dance forms.

The production will also include a special event, "A Century of Indian Dance In America 1906-2017" with Rajika Puri and fellow participants, on Wednesday, April 26 at 6:30pm.  This will include an overview with photo presentations of the pioneers since 1906 as also of the myriad forms of Indian dance introduced to the United States, followed by demonstrations of lesser known forms of Indian Dance like Shattriya (Assamese) dance, Mohiniyattam (Kerala), and Gujarati folk dance. PLUS a short look at Bollywood dance. 

Rare film footage, videos and multimedia will enhance this edition of From the Horse’s Mouth and its unique blending of movement and storytelling.

*Cast to include:  Prerona Bhuyan, Madhusmita Bora, Kamala Cesar, Uttara Coorlawala, Joe Daly, Parijat Desai, Angelina Haque, Jonathan Hollander, Mohip Joarder, Jeeno Joseph, Baishali Kanjilal, Aniruddha Knight, Hari Krishnan, Julia Kulakova, Aishwarya Madhav, Roopa Mahadevan (musician), Minal Mehta, Sruthi Mohan, Indra Nila, Rajika Puri, Shobana Raghavan, Sukanya Rahman, Anita Ratnam, Donia Salem, Sophia Salingaros, Bijayini Satpathy, Surupa Sen, Reena Shah, Prashant Shah, Rohan Sheth , Kuldeep Singh Siddhu, Sonali Skandan, Anjna Swaminathan, Anand Vemuri, Vija Vetra, Jin Won, Sridhar

This From the Horse’s Mouth production is in association with the Dance Series at the 14th Street Y.

CELEBRATING INDIAN DANCE IN AMERICA - "FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH" - Thursday, April 27, Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29 at 8pm, Sunday, April 30 at 3pm.

"A CENTURY OF INDIAN DANCE IN AMERICA 1906-2017" with RAJIKA PURI, Doyenne of Indian Dance in NYC, and fellow participants.Wed. April 26 at 6:30pm

TICKETS: 14streety.org/celebrationofindiandance - The Theater at the 14th Street Y - 344 East 14th St (between 1st and 2nd Avenues), New York, NY 10003

$35 General Admission (Special: April 29 $50 tickets also available as a Benefit for From The Horse’s Mouth followed by Reception with Cast) - $25 Seniors - $20 Students and 14Y Members - $5 “A Century of Indian Dance in America 1906-2017” with Rajika Puri - Free to 14th St Y Members

General 14Y Information: 212-780-0800



Created by Tina Croll & Jamie Cunningham, this celebratory dance/theater experience has received standing ovations and rave reviews across the United States and Canada for its captivating story-telling and exceptional dancing.

Over the past 19 years From the Horse’s Mouth has been presented in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Honolulu, Minneapolis, Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, and Toronto, as well as Jacob’s Pillow and the American Dance Festival. To date over 1,000 dancers, from ages 13 to 94, have participated, including Mary Anthony, Brenda Bufalino, Roxane Butterfly, Jane Comfort, Grover Dale, Gemze de Lappe, Carmen de Lavallade, David Dorfman, Viola Farber, John Jaspers, Kwikstep & Rokafella, Carol Lawrence, Yvonne Rainer, Gus Solomons Jr and Martine van Hamel.

“Heightened emotions and serendipitous dance moments mingle with belly laughs and bittersweet anecdotes.” —Los Angeles Times

“Like dying and going to dancer’s heaven.” —The New York Times



Trained at an early age in Bharatanatyam, Rajika’s main guru was Sikkil Ramaswamy Pillai. Later, she studied Odissi with the late Guru Srinath Rauth and Guru Durga Charan Ranbir from the Guru Deba Prasad Das Gurukul, of which she is a senior member.

After several years of performing dance internationally (and in India), including a command performance for the President of Mexico, she began a career as actor playing the “Narrator /Kali/voice of several puppets’ in a Lincoln Center Theater production directed by Julie Taymor (of‘Lion King on Broadway’ fame), with music by Academy Award winner, Elliot Goldenthal.

Rajika soon started to incorporate both speaking and singing in her own danced works, and developed a form of Danced Storytelling in which she embellishes her dancing with songs and narrations in English. In 2005 she did her first solo show of what she calls “Sutradhari Natyam”, a form for which she is now best known.

Another form associated with her comes form her love and knowledge of flamenco. Started in 1998 with singer-dancer La Conja, ‘Flamenco Natyam’ refers to her collaborations with flamenco music and dance: in 2001 with south Indian classical vocalist Aruna Sairam, flamenco guitarist David Serva and flamenco dancer Clara Mora; in 2005 a solo suite: Tauromagia, choreographed in Bharatanatyam and set to flamenco music.

2005 saw her first group production: Union/Severed [Asia Society, NY], followed by Conversations with Shiva (2007) and Tapasya [2009]. Her solo show, Devi-Malika, was presented off- Broadway [The Duke on 42ndStreet, 2008]. In 2013 she devised her first full-length danced story: Eleni Of Sparta on the life of ‘Helen of Troy’, in which she sings, in ancient Greek, lyrics from Homer & the 7thC BCE poet, Sappho(Chennai, Delhi, Malaysia tour).

A degree from NYU in 1983 [under Dr Drid Williams], involved a social anthropological view of how meaning is made in movement, and led her to write and give lecture demonstrations on the intricacies of her art from a cross-cultural perspective. Her writings, including reviews, cover Indian, flamenco, modern dance – and theatre.

* Cast subject to change.



  • Ted Shawn did his COSMIC SHIVA dance
  • Ruth St Denis's "Radha” was circa 1906
  • La Meri (born Russell Meriwether Hughes) started performing in 1928 – and even did a Swan Lake in Bharatanatyam
  • Tanjore Balasaraswati first came to America in early 1960’s – brought here by Charles Reinhart
  • Ragini Devi, mother of Indrani, born  Esther Luella Sherman, helped reform dance in India.

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