Kuchipudi is one of the main classical dance forms of India, known for its lilting rhythms and dramatic quality. Amrita Lahiri is recognized as one of the foremost young performers of Kuchipudi today. Her dance performances have been acclaimed for their elegance and dynamism, combined with a refined approach. She has toured as a soloist in India, USA, Switzerland, South Korea, and Southeast Asia, presenting Kuchipudi from its traditional origins to its contemporary forms. Amrita's Kuchipudi performances have an immediate appeal for a wide range of audiences. She presents the beauty, rhythm and joy of dance, while maintaining the precision of the classical Kuchipudi form.
From its origins in Andhra Pradesh several centuries ago as a male dance-drama style, Kuchipudi has a lightness and dramatic quality that set it apart from other Indian classical dance forms. Amrita combines the grace and light-footedness of Kuchipudi, with a focus on depth of emotion and attention to aesthetics of movement, music, and content. Connoisseurs and newcomers alike have appreciated her sprightly footwork, the varied emotional expressions, and her rich dance repertoire.
Amrita Lahiri began dancing at age 7 in Washington, D.C. studying under Anuradha Nehru until she shifted to New Delhi at age 15. After her arangetrum debut at the India International Centre in New Delhi in 1996, for which she was critically acclaimed as 'first-class professional material', she continued to perform Kuchipudi, and also started learning Bharatanatyam under Leela Samson. While in New Delhi, Amrita studied under Swapnasundari and Seetha Nagajothy (a senior student of Vempati Chinna Satyam). In Chennai, she studies with Kishore Mosalikanti. Her dance reflects the influences of all of these outstanding gurus, and the experience of many performances.
Major solo Kuchipudi performances include those in Singapore at the Esplanade, in New York for ‘Dancing the Gods’, in Washington D.C. for Kalanidhi, in the Philippines for the Indian Embassy, in Switzerland for the Museum Reitberg, in Delhi at the India International Centre, Chennai for Music Academy and Kartik Fine Arts, in New Delhi for Gandharva Mahavidyalaya’s Tarpan festival, in Singapore for Samarpan festival, Trivandrum for Nishagandhi Festival, Cochin for the Sangeet Natak Akademi’s festival ‘Nrityasangam’, Bharat Bhavan Bhopal, Kalakshetra, Chennai; the World Bank and Gandhi Center in Washington, D.C.; and the Prince of Wales Museum and NCPA in Mumbai.
Amrita has a Masters in Sociology from JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi). She has worked for leading arts organizations such as the British Council, New Delhi; Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.; Seher, New Delhi; Museum Rietberg, Zurich; and Kalakshetra, Chennai. She currently works for Jio World Center, an upcoming new performing arts center in Mumbai. She was the head of the dance department of National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai (NCPA) from 2010 to 2013, where she curated and managed over 200 dance performances, workshops and master classes, developing enthusiastic new audiences in Bombay for the genre. Through her performances, writings, workshops and choreographies, Amrita strives to expand and share the specific beauties of the Kuchipudi dance form. She lives in Mumbai with her two sons.