LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Vijayalakshmi, a leading artist of the classical dance form Mohiniyattam, has been selected for the Regents' Professor & Lecturers program in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at the University of California, Los Angeles for 2019-20.
This prestigious program brings to the university distinguished speakers who have pursued careers in arts, letters, sciences, or business substantially outside the academic profession.
A public performance by Vijayalakshmi on Feb. 2 at the Kaufman Hall at UCLA, followed by a reception hosted by the Fowler Museum and the Center for Indian & South Asian Studies, was held to mark her residency. On Feb. 10 she also delivered a public lecture at the same venue.
Daughter and disciple of the renowned Bharati Shivaji, Vijayalakshmi is a recipient of several prestigious awards, including from the Sangeet Natak Academy. Her prowess was noted by the “New York Times” as a “sweetly sensuous style, but not without firm features.”
Vijayalakshmi has said that Mohiniyattam “is a unique dance form, rooted in the feminine and holds great relevance to not just women across all ages and cultures, but across global society at large.” In an effort to raise awareness for women’s rights and share access to this ancient, transformative dance form, Vijayalakshmi established The Mohiniyattam Institute in Los Angeles in 2016. She is also the artistic director of the Center for Mohiniyattam in New Delhi.
In the U.S., she has been performing for the past 20 years at some of the most prestigious forums, including the Lincoln Center World Music Institute, World Sacred Music Festival and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.