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.
Recent solo Kuchipudi performances include those in 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.; the India Habitat Centre and India International Centre in New Delhi; Museum Rietberg, Zurich; 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. Most recently 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 new audiences for the genre. She also writes on the arts and her articles have appeared in the Hindu, Times of India, First City and Angaraag. She is based in Mumbai, where alongside performances and choreography, she teaches Kuchipudi. Through her performances, writings, workshops and choreographies, Amrita strives to expand and share the specific beauties of the Kuchipudi dance form.