Unniarcha, is her earliest choreography, inspired by Kalaripayattu, the 2000 year-old martial art form of Kerala and the urge to highlight her belief in a woman’s inherent power. Based on the ballads of North Malabar, the production celebrates the exemplary physical and mental strength of Unniarcha, a woman who lived about 375 years ago and her determination & resilience to overcome insurmountable obstacles. The story is meant to resonate with the modern Indian woman, rooted in tradition, but with a mind of her own, scaling multiple challenges to emerge triumphant.

Swan Lake

Inspired by the music of Tchaikovsky’s world famous ballet Swan Lake, which she heard during a performance-tour of the former USSR in 1987, culminated in one of her most iconic & acclaimed choreographies to date. It marked the coming together of two great classical traditions into a seamless flow – the alluring beauty of Mohiniyattam with the elevating music of Tchaikovsky. The production opened to rave reviews in 2005 and has since been presented at major festivals across India and internationally. It came full circle when she had the rare honor of being invited to present it at the prestigious Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and at the Conservatory theatre in St. Petersburg, where Tchaikovsky graduated.


Paryapti draws upon the rich spiritual ethos of Bengal, in the celebration of the Goddess during Durga Pooja & also explores Bengal’s unique musical traditions, by integrating their distinct percussion instruments and folk music, along with the indigenous percussion instruments of Kerala. Additionally, Paryapti celebrates the inherent divinity in all forms of creation and at all levels of society by exploring the culture, evolvement and status of courtesans in India. The production highlights the marginalized women of society & is a tribute to them. 


Rain is an Indo-American work, inspired by poet Sudeep Sen’s critically-acclaimed book of poetry, Rain. As with most of Vijayalakshmi’s ground breaking productions, the musical arrangement in Rain is very unique. She worked very closely with Emmy Awardee Mac Quayle, an eminent American composer, to arrange traditional Kerala rhythms, Dhrupad, Rabindra Sangeet and contemporary elements which are all brought together into a unique blend of world music. It is perhaps for the first time that Dhrupad has been incorporated into a Mohiniyattam choreographic work, rendered by the eminent torch-bearer of Dhrupad tradition, Wasifuddin Dagar. Her vision has been furthered by her collaboration with artistic director & film-maker, Sara Baur-Harding, who wrote the script. Vijayalakshmi also sang the Rabindra Sangeet in this production.

Photo Credits: Avinash Pasricha
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