With rhythmic spinning and sounds of bells, the gorgeous evening culminated in a dance of intense devotion and joy…


Joanne DiVito, LA Dance Chronicle | Review of Encounters with Beauty

The Artistic Directors of Leela Dance Collective have chosen an ambitious mission, to honor ancient traditions and bring them forward, made relevant to the present. There is no question that they are successful…

Mary Pat Cooney, LA Dance Chronicle | Review of Son of the Wind

Biography

Rukhmani Mehta (previously Rina Mehta) brings a singular voice and vision to the art form of kathak, classical dance of North India. A disciple of the legendary kathak master, Pt. Chitresh Das, her work demonstrates a firm grounding in tradition paired with an innovative spirit. Described as “regal” and “brilliant” by critics, her performances and artistic work are paving a path forward for the art form of kathak and for future generations.

Rukhmani is a founding artist and co-artistic director of Leela Dance Collective, which brings together leading artists from around the world to advance a collective vision for kathak. Her original works, ranging from traditional dance dramas to cross-genre collaborations to site-specific dance productions, have enthralled audiences across the U.S. and internationally. Mehta is also an avid educator and Artistic Director of Leela Youth Dance Company, a pre-professional performing group that trains and empowers young South Asian women.

Prior to her work with Leela Dance Collective, Rukhmani was a principal dancer with the Chitresh Das Dance Company (under the name Rina Mehta) for almost 15 years. She has received the Alliance for California Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant, the Fulbright Award and twice been nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award.

Artistic Works and Performances

Mehta’s original artistic works include SPEAK, a kathak-tap collaboration featuring Michelle Dorrance, Dormeshia, Rachna Nivas and Mehta; Son of the Wind, a traditional dance-drama based on India’s epic, the Ramayana; and Encounters with Beauty, a collaboration that brings together kathak dance and contemporary chamber music. In addition, Mehta is a compelling performer and champion of the traditional kathak solo, a 90-minute tour-de-force performance of dance, music, poetry and storytelling. Her solo and company performances can be regularly seen on stages across the U.S. and in India.

Selected Press

Encounters with Beauty Review, LA Dance Chronicle

Building a Future for Kathak Dance, Stance on Dance

Rukhmani Mehta on Movers & Shapers Podcast

Artist Spotlight, SF Classical Voice 

Son of the Wind Review, LA Dance Chronicle 

Innovationg Within a Tradition, ODC Dance Stories  

SPEAK PreviewAsian Age

SPEAK PreviewTimes of India

Rukhmani Mehta Feature, Asian Age

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