|Born||17 May 1930|
|Occupation(s)||Founder-Director, Kadamb School of Dance and Music|
|Known for||Kathak dance and choreography|
Kumudini Lakhia (born 17 May 1930) is an Indian Kathak dancer and choreographer based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where she founded Kadamb School of Dance and Music, an institute of Indian dance and music in 1967.
A pioneer in contemporary Kathak dance, she is credited for moving away from the solo form of Kathak starting in the 1960s, by turning it into a group spectacle, and also innovations like taking away traditional stories and adding contemporary storylines into Kathak repertoire.
Lakhia started her Kathak training with Sohanlal from the Bikaner Gharana at age seven. This was followed by Ashiq Hussain of Benaras Gharana and Sunder Prasad of the Jaipur school. Encouraged by her mother, Leela, herself a classical singer, she was sent to further her training under the tutelage of Radheylal Misra, himself a disciple of Jai Lal. As a result, she completed her schooling in Lahore and college in Allahabad.
She started her career dancing with Ram Gopal as he toured the West, bringing Indian dance to the eyes of people abroad for the first time, and then became a dancer and choreographer in her own right. She learned first from various gurus of Jaipur gharana, and then from Shambhu Maharaj.
She is particularly known for her multi-person choreographies. Some of her most famous choreographies include Dhabkar (Pulse), Yugal (The Duet), and Atah Kim (Where Now?), which she performed at the annual Kathak Mahotsav in Delhi in 1980. She was also a choreographer in the Hindi film, Umrao Jaan (1981), along with Gopi Krishna.
She is a guru to many disciples, including Kathak dancers Aditi Mangaldas, Vaishali Trivedi, Sandhya Desai, Daksha Sheth, Maulik Shah, Ishira Parikh, Prashant Shah, Urja Thakore and Parul Shah amongst others .
She married Rajnikant Lakhia, who was studying law at the Lincolns Inn and was a violinist with the Ram Gopal company and moved to Ahmedabad in 1960. She has a son Shriraj and a daughter Maitreyi.