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Photo: Arunima Kumar performs at Khajuraho Dance Festival on 5th February 2010
Born on July 1, 1978, and having started learning Kuchipudi, one of the most acclaimed oriental classical dance forms from the young age of 7, Arunima Kumar had her initial training under the most recognized Indian classical dancer Swapnasundari. Later Arunima became a disciple of Guru Jaya Rama Rao and Vanasree Rao, and she appeared in stage performances with them for about 15 years.
In 1995 the Kuchipudi Dance Academy launched her dance performance at the prestigious Triveni Kala Sangam in New Delhi, India, and it marked her Arangetram (Rangapravesham or official debut as a performing dancer).
Since then, Arunima has been credited with many highly acclaimed performances in many countries, including Kuchipudi Convention in USA (2008), Nehru Center (London), Tagore Center (Berlin), Asian Arts Festival (Manila), Sydney Opera House, Canberra Festival, Expo 2000 in Hannover and Lisbon, and many more.
Arunima Kumar is also a noted dance choreographer, and conducts research on performing arts to explore the creative potential of the classical and other art and dance forms.
Arunima graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the prestigious St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi, and then she studied for M.Sc. (Finance and Accounting) at the London School of Economics. In line with her educational background, she was a banker and a consultant for corporate houses till the year 2009.
Arunima has appeared several ballets in several television programs, documentary films, music videos, advertisements, and a cameo appearance in the Bollywood feature film “Rajneeti” directed by Prakash Jha.
As recognition of her talent, in 1998 Arunima was awarded the Sahitya Kala Parishad Scholarship for Dance. She was also honored with the prestigious Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskaar for 2008 by the Sangeet Natak Akademi (The National Academy established by the Government of India) for her outstanding contributions to music, dance and drama.
Arunima Kumar has been praised by the media as a naturally talented and endowed dancer and performer. She is noted for her large expressive eyes and enthralling stage presence. Her Abhinaya (the art of expression) and her ability to bond with her audiences, coupled with her modern interpretation of the “traditional Padama, Javalis (traditional songs) and other compositions” are the hallmark forte of her performances.
She is also a talented exponent of classical dance renditions, perfect technique and rhythmic precision, and above all effective and graceful facial expressions.