About Vijayalakshmi

Vijayalakshmi is a world-renowned Indian classical dancer, an acclaimed exponent of Mohiniyattam, the graceful classical dance form from South India. 

She is also a choreographer, speaker, feminist, actress, writer & singer. Daughter and disciple of Bharati Shivaji, Vijayalakshmi takes Mohiniyattam to higher levels by constantly exploring uncharted territory and expanding traditional boundaries. Vijayalakshmi celebrates both Indian and worldwide culture through unique innovative choreography, as clearly evidenced in her diverse productions. 

A recipient of several prestigious awards, including from the Sangeet Natak Academy, Vijayalakshmi continues to rejuvenate and evolve this ancient art form. She has performed at some of the most prestigious venues in India and around the globe, spanning over thirty countries, sponsored by The Govt. Of India, including the Bolshoi Theatre, the Edinburgh International Festival and the Lincoln Centre. 

Her prominent productions include Unniarcha, inspired from Kalaripayattu, the ancient martial art form; Swan Lake, inspired from the great Russian composer Tchaikovsky’s music; and Paryapti, which draws upon the rich cultural ethos and music of Bengal. 

She has a Bachelors & Masters in English Literature from Lady Shriram College, Delhi University. She is the Artistic-Director of the Centre For Mohiniyattam, New Delhi & the Founder-Director of  The Mohiniyattam Institute, Los Angeles.

Awards & Accomplishments

2020 – Regents’ Professor & Lecturers Program at UCLA, (University of California, Los Angeles).

2014 – Kerala Sangeet Natak Akademi Award

2003 – Profiled in the special Independence Day issue of The Week magazine, as one of the 50 Emerging Stars of India to watch over the next decade.

2003 – ‘Top Cultural Ambassador’ award from the Indian Institute of Marketing & Management (IMM), conferred by the Prime Minister of India, at New Delhi.

2003 – Rashtriya Ekta award from the All India Unity Conference.

2002 –  Fellowship from the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, (IGNCA) for a project entitled ‘Exploring New Dimensions in Mohiniyattam’.

2001 – Fellowship from the Department of Culture, Government of India for a project entitled ‘Exploring the Art of Mohiniyattam’.

1993 –  ‘Sanskriti Nritya Puraskar’ from the Prime Minister of India.

Notable Performances

From an early age, Vijayalakshmi has performed in several prestigious national and international festivals, propagating this exquisite and rare dance form around the globe. 


Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi & Manipur

Khajuraho Festival

Konark Festival

Ghungroo Festival, Madhya Pradesh

Mahabalipuram Festival, South Zone Cultural Centre Festivals

The Music Academy, Chennai

Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai

Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai

Karthik Fine Arts, Chennai

Amritsar Heritage Festival, INTACH

Patiala Heritage Festival, INTACH

Shantikunj Festival, Chandigarh

Nishagandhi & Mudra Festival, Kerala

National Choreographic Festival, New Delhi

The ‘IIC Experience’ Festival, New Delhi

Indo-African Summit, New Delhi

Spic-Macay Lecture Demonstrations & performances


– Spoke on “Dance & Healing”, at Awaken Florida, organized by The International Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), in Tampa, Florida. 
Presented a paper at an annual seminar at Loyola Marymount College, LA, on Indic Religions & Performing Arts
Performance at Oxnard College, California

 Conducted a workshop at Loyola Marymount College, LA.
– Spoke at The International Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) in Delhi, on the occasion of the book launch of her mother-Guru Bharati Shivaji.

– Performed on the occasion of being awarded the prestigious Regents’ Professors & Lectureship program at the World Arts & Cultures/Dance department, UCLA, followed by a public talk & a 2 week teaching residency.
– Conducted a workshop for University of California, Santa Cruz.
– Performed for the Drive East festival, San Francisco.

– Performed for the Festival Of India in Croatia in Bjelovar, Varazdin & Zagreb, organised by the Govt. of India.
– Performed at the World Peace Summit in Merida, Mexico, which was attended by 40 Nobel Laureates among other distinguished audiences.
– Workshop at UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles.
– Performance at Parampara Festival, “Music Circle”, Los Angeles.

– Performance at the Norton Simon Museum, Los Angeles.
– Masterclass at UCLA.

– Performed at The World Sacred Music Festival, Los Angeles.
– Performed and gave a lecture at CSULB, California State University of Long Beach, for the faculty & students of their dance & theatre Department.
– Performance and lecture-demonstration at Oxnard College, California.

– Master class at UCLA, US.

– Performed at Hannover Messe, Germany, world’s largest Trade fair, for Chancellor Angela Merkel & Prime-Minister Modi & CEOs from across the Globe, organized by Govt. of India.
– Premiered “Rain”, an innovative multi-cultural, Indo-American production along with local students at the PAEC (Performing Arts & Education Centre), Agoura Hills, California.

– Festival of India in Japan, organized by The Ministry Of Culture, Govt. Of India.

– Performance tour of Germany during “Days of India” at Germany & Russia, Sponsored by the ICCR, Govt. Of India.
Performances at the Indo-American Arts Council, New York, including Battery Park.

– Performance at the Kalautsavam Festival, Singapore. Screening of the Documentary Feature Film “Beyond Grace”.
– Performance & Q & A at the Stony Brook University, New York. And screening of documentary Feature film on Vijayalakshmi & her Guru called “Beyond Grace”.

– US Performance Tour (World Music Institute, New York, Savannah Dance and Music Festival, San Jose, Seattle).
– Lecture-Demonstration & performance at Milap Fest, Manchester, UK.

– Commissioned by the PEW Centre for the Arts (Philadelphia) to conduct a 10 day intensive retreat for eminent American dancers/choreographers from Philadelphia at New Delhi. Involved teaching of technique, basics & Abhinaya in Mohiniyattam, besides organizing the entire retreat. Retreat conducted by Guru Bharati Shivaji & Vijayalakshmi.
– Shared Experience Festival, in Johannesburg & Durban, South Africa. ( 9 shows of Swan Lake were presented.), co-sponsored by Govt. Of India
– Master-class & performance at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.

– US Performance Tour (Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Stony Brook University, New York).

– Incredible India @ 60 Festival, Lincoln Center, New York, organized by Sangeet Natak Akademi, Government of India.

– Festival of India in the EU – Belgium, Spain & Germany, organized by ICCR.

– Days of Indian Culture, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow & Conservatory Theatre, St. Petersburg, organized by Ministry of Culture, Govt. Of India.

– The Edinburgh International Festival, U.K.

– Vice-President of India’s official visit to Indonesia, Thailand & Cambodia, organized by ICCR, Govt. Of India.

2000 – Performance Tour in the US in about 12 cities including, New York,New Jersey, Washington DC, San Jose & Chicago.

– Performance tour of Turkey, UAE, Oman, Qatar & Kuwait, organized by ICCR, Govt. Of India.

– Theatre de la Ville Festival, Paris, France.
– Festival of Indian Classical Dance, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

– Russia Performance Tour, organized by ICCR, Govt. Of India.

– Festival of India, Re-Union Island Europe Performance Tour – Malta, France, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg & Denmark, organized by ICCR, Govt. of India.

– Festival of India, Spain, organized by Department of Tourism, Govt. Of India.

– The International Youth Festival, Pyongyang, North Korea, Govt. Of India.

– Coppa Interamnia Festival, Italy & Festival of India, USSR, organized by ICCR, Govt. Of India.

– The International Cervantino Festival, Mexico, organized by ICCR, Govt. Of India.

– Kielofer Festival & Ega Festival Germany, France, England & U.A.E Performance Tours, organized by ICCR, Govt. Of India. 

Photo Credits: Khachak Studios

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