Home‎ > ‎


 Veena Basavarajaiah is an independent movement artist from India. 


Sri Vani Education Centre - SSLC 1995
Mount Carmel College- PUC 1997
University Law College - Bachelor of Academic Law 2004 Roehampton University - MA in South Asian Dance Studies 2013


Natyantharanga- Classical dance since1995-
Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography - 1998-2000
Kalari Academy- Martial Art since 1999-
Yana Lewis Dance Company – Ballet since 1997-
Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts- Contemporary dance 2002-04


Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts-Dancer & Educationist- 2002-04
Worked as a member of Education Outreach Programme(EOP) with an objective of incorporating dance into mainstream education. The tasks of the programme included conducting workshops for NGO's, designing movement syllabus for schools, performance based projects and working with school teachers to imbibe movement based teaching techniques within conventional educational setups. Work experience included engaging with children and young adults in both rural and urban areas and also long-term interactions with underprivileged and street children in India. As part of the outreach programme we were also required to contact corporations and funding agencies to help the organizations support the cause.
Shobana Jeyasingh dance Company (UK) –Company dancer 2004-05 & 2012
Worked as dancer/performer on the company’s national tour in 2004-2005. In 2012, workedon an education project with the company with a group of students from Mulberry School, which is an all muslim-girl school in Whitechapel. The job was to work with them and create a short piece of work that would be showcased at the Royal Opera House as a prelude to the company's performance. The assignment was to explore the creativity of these girls and introduce them to the world of professional dance. This particular project was also the case- study of my ethnographic fieldwork essay that was part of my MA course. The whole experience had to be documented, theorized and contextualized within a larger realm of South Asian Dance in the Diaspora. Worked as part of the education team of the company conducting workshops for GCSE in schools across the UK.
Angika Dance Company (UK) - Company Dancer 2006-08
Worked as a creative collaborator and education facilitator with the company on various projects for more than 2 years. As part of the contract along with performance and touring, the dancers were to conduct workshops in different schools and universities. Through the company I have conducted workshops on Indian dance and aesthetics in schools across UK and Europe. The company worked with children of various economic backgrounds and

different abilities.

Sadhana Dance Company (UK) 2011-12

Working as a creative collaborator and performer for project Elixir. A choreographic project that was in collaboration with multi-media artists and sculptor. The genre of work was Contemporary South Asian with collaborative inputs from UK based artists. Conducting workshops in schools across the UK was part of the project.

The Lewis Foundation of Classical Ballet 2007-09 & 2013

In 2009, was part of a project with the company that aimed at reaching out to around 1000 underprivileged children to give them an opportunity of experiencing a ballet performance. The job required me to raise funds single-handedly to enable these children to have an experience of watching a ballet performance and engage with the company through performances and education. My work with the foundation is also that of a researcher documenting different pedagogical tools that the foundation employs to work with dancers in India. Worked a program manager at the Lewis Foundation curating a dance festival titled Platform One that aimed at providing research, resources and performance avenues for choreographers in Bangalore.

Apart from these major institutions I have also worked with both local and international institutions and collaborated with individuals from diverse backgrounds and expertise from across the world.


Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts - Dance facilitator -Education Outreach Program 2003-2005
The Lewis Foundation for Classical Ballet - Education facilitator - 2010-11
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company (UK) - Education facilitator in 2005 and 2011 University of East London (UK) - Visiting lecturer - 2011-12

Independent Education Work - With more than ten years of experience of teaching individuals across urban and rural India, conducting teacher-training workshops, creative workshop for multinational corporations, teaching in institutional set-ups across Europe and also working short-term with internally displaced and war affected individuals in Sri Lanka. I have worked across the globe towards incorporating art into mainstream education and as an integral part of the modern society.


Trained with writers like Esther Sutter Straub (Switzerland), Gabriele Wittmann (Germany) and Sanjoy Roy (UK ) through special workshops conducted for dance writers. As a dance writer and an art critic in India, my work has been published on various online and print magazine across the world. As a self-taught illustrator, I also address the current issues in the art world and my work has been exhibited & appreciated on various platforms. My academic writing has been extensively shaped by my education in Academic Law and MA in South Asian Dance Studies at the Roehampton University.


Pact Zollverin-International Contemporary Dance festival- Germany-2004 Indian Biennial- Bonn- Germany-2006
Frankfurt Book festival- Germany- 2006
Sziget Dance festival- Budapest- Hungary- 2007

CCBE- Performance- Antwerp- Belgium-2007
Lille festival- France 2007
Oldenburg Arts Festival- Germany- 2007
The Polyzentral Festival- Hamburg- Germany- 2007 Sammilan-2007

International Women’s Festival- Uk-2007
Zaragosa Expo- Spain- 2008
L’oridente L’occident festival- Italy- 2008
Prayog-3-Nritarutya Dance Company- 2008
Swiss Textile College- Switzerland-2009
Attakkalari Bangalore Biennale- 2009
Sammilan –International Contemporary Arts Festival-Nov-2009 The Park New Festival- Chennai - dec 2009

National School of Drama Theatre Festival - Jan-2010 Interface- Kolkata- Sep- 2010


August 2009 -All warmed up – Gati Summer Dance Residency - Delhi August, 2009- NPTCL- Noida- Delhi
November 2009- Sammilan Festival , Bangalore
July, 2010 - KH Kalasoudha, Bangalore.

August, 2010 - Adi Shakthi , Pondicherry
September, 2010-Interface Festival- Kolkata
November 2010- Ignite Festival- Delhi
January- 2011 - Rangsutra Festival- Hyderabad February-2011- Kalaghoda Festival- Mumbai
August -2011- National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore August -2012- Alliance Francaise de Bangalore

April- 2012 - The Hat Factory, Luton, UK August- 2012- Stockholm Fringe Festival, Sweden

Young Achievers Award- Rotary & Brigade Group- 2007
'B’ Grade Auditioned artist for the Doordarshan, Indian National Television Empanelled Contemporary and Bharatnatyam Artist for the Indian Council for Cultural


Portfolio of her work

Morphed - 2014

Choreographing a solo for UK based dancer Subhash 'Viman' Gorania. The piece titled ' Morphed' looks at how the British Asian Identity is perceived by the Indian Eye. We are

collaborating with renowned musician Raghu Dixit for the project. This piece is supported by the Arts Council ( UK) and is set to tour internationally in 2014.

During the creative journey both the artists discover that regardless of the differences in their histories and experiences, their contemporary worlds are very similar. Travel and technology had redefined the idea of home and belonging. Whilst the world was presented to them within the proximities of their houses through various gadgets, they also travelled the world with a cocoon of our roots and tradition woven around them. Both hailing from multicultural societies, the romantic idea of assimilation seems more like an endless juggling of identities where they constantly switch languages, gestures, mannerisms, tastes and preferences to fit into a changing social and political context. The piece looks at how regardless of their national identities they

embrace, abandon, adapt, adopt ideologies of nationalism, home, religion and culture to weave images of the ‘self’ to present and represent their existence. Morphed, is a choreographic work that portrays how every individual is indefinitely morphing identities to be recognized and accommodated in today’s global world.

Mooki -2013

Veena has recieved mentorship from renowned theatre practitioners like Maya Krishna Rao and Navtej Singh Johar in creating her work titled 'Maya' as part of the Gati Dance Residency in 2009. She has worked as an actor with NSD based director Aditee Biswas on her production 'In-Out-In', featured at the National School of Drama Theatre Festival in 2010. She has conducted movement workshops for various Bangalore based theatre groups like Our Theatre and Indian Ensemble. She has worked closely with Abhishek Majumdar as an actor and movement director on his production 'Rizwn' and is currently a collaborator on his ‘ Hunger Project’.

Mooki, the kannada word for mute is the title of the piece that is inspired by Rabindranath Tagore's short story Subha. This dynamics in the story is used as a metaphor in the piece to address the idea of freedom of speech
that democracy claims to bestow upon its citizens in this country.

It looks at how the voice of those communities that are often misinterpreted, translated or seldom heard are often categorized as being marginalized. The piece draws from the experiences of the performers themselves and primarily focuses on how we have all endured discrimination based on gender and sexuality in silence. The piece was a response to the anti- gay law of Article 377 that exists in the Indian constitution

Avatara -2012

Embodying displaced knowledge and past wisdom. Avatara is unique installation project that looks at classical Indian dance as a displaced form that belongs to a different history and space and is currently practiced and performed all over the world. It looks at how dancers emulate Gods and goddesses and perfect their technique to live up to a divine perfection. The performance installation is a photo booth where the audience interact with incomplete sculptures of the past and complete the image in the present. As the audience participate and embody movements of Indian dance, in their small unique way, they divorce the form from its exoticism and embrace its technique and aesthetics

Avatara was part of a research that stemmed out of her research at the University. She embarked on the photography project ‘A vatara’ with UK based photographer Simon Richardson and British Pakistani make-up artist Riffat Bahar. The result was a stunning recreation of temple sculptures on a dancing body. These images are further incorporated in a performance, an installation that facilitates audience interaction with the images within a photo booth. The installation is a collaboration with artist Shreekanth Rao( India). The project was presented at the Stockholm Fringe Festival in 2012.


H2 zero – 2011

A movement installation devised by Veena Basavarajaiah and Deepak Shivaswamy on the 7th of August 2011 under the National gallery of movement art (NGMA) initiative 'Carte Blanche' – The grounds of NGMA, Bangalore for temporal art interventions. This work was also showcased at 'The collection - UB city ' on the 15th of August 2011. H2 zero is a movement installation with strong visuals that portray the political, social, economic and physiological identity of water. Bodies interacting with the architectural structure of a space along with the use of empty water/beverage bottles and umbrellas create images that are a strong evidence of the present situation of the abundance, inadequacy, abuse and absence of water. http://www.veenadance.com/Home/site-specific-work-1


In Bondage & Beyond, Veena Basavarajaiah does not us the movement vocabulary of Bharatanatyam she does not issue a commentary on issues and themes, but rather, wrestles with the form itself. In doing so, she creates a bharatanatyam recital that is rooted in the form, but at the same time, embodies the experience she has gathered of numerous other movement vocabularies.

Exploring the concept of ‘mother’ and ‘child’ and how these terms have larger meanings – like ‘mother’ could mean the origin or primary source of stimulus for something, and the ‘child’ is that something that is stimulated by interaction with this source. The dancers work with kids between the ages of three and six, where they use instinctual movements and help kids to understand rhythmic movement, balance, body awareness and co-operation.

The performance, at Shanthi Gallery, Bangalore on February 1, 2009 a performance by 13 children where they are given a free hand to play with colours and use the space to express themselves with movement, as they like it, without being bound by choreographed moves.


A site-specific project named 'ESCALATOR CLAUSE' ,the soulless treadmill of urban existence is designed to be performed on a moving escalator. This piece deals with the issues of competition, challenges, uncertainties, insecurities that a conventional job bestows upon an individual. This piece deals with the irony of growth and development in the modern world that thrives on the escalator of the economy. The piece was executed by talented dancers from Nritarutya Collective (Bangalore) namely B.G.Sathyanarayana a multi-faceted dancer and Umesh Naidu a trained martial artist who have performed across the globe as part of the company for more than 8 years. This site -specific work is in collaboration with Bangalore based dance company Nritarutya was presented as part of Attakkalari Biennale Festival 2009

Maya – The illusion of perception – 2009

Can you go back in time? Is there time? What is the point of
reference? Are we ageing? Have you experienced stillness?
perception of the world is limited to the things that we can
touch, taste, smell and see, Can we look beyond the sphere of perception ?
Experience beyond light? The dormant eye of the mind - the only vision capable of giving the whole picture, able to see things and make connections that the inferior

senses couldn't even comprehend, lays low in a state of unused
perceived extinction.. This piece was created at the Gati Dance Residency in Delhi in 2009

Finding Ri – 2006

Every note obtains its identity in relationship to the corresponding note. The octave, the chords or different scales acquire unique emotional quality and a sense of musicality within different frameworks or limitations. A note on its own has no name, no role, no rules, no beginning or end. It has a quality of being nothing and everything consecutively. The musician is on his quest for his identity where the signature of each scale shifts into a completely different dimension when displaced with reference to a different note.

This piece is a collaborative piece with Musician Praveen .D.Rao .. It's the musicians' journey

as he moves through music and the dancers' as she dwells into the musicality of her body in quest of identity.


‘MAYA’- Beyond the illusion of perception- A solo piece created at the Gati Residency Delhi 2009 in collaboration with Musician Suchet Malhotra-  July -August -2009

‘SITA’-  A movement monologue set to the original verses of Valmiki Ramayana in collaboration with Sanskrit Scholar Sharda Narayan- June 2009

KALPA’-  A dance film based on the concept of male and female energies of shiva and Shakthi in collaboration with Film maker Swaroop Kanchi- March 2009

‘ESCALATOR CLAUSE’-  A site specific work designed on a moving escalator exploring the influence of economy and recession on common man. Presented at the Attakkalari International Arts festival Feb 2009

‘KANDA’ –  A live performance in collaboration with Mirra ( Dancer) along with 13 children aged between 3 and 6 years . Exploring the intimate relationship of a mother and a child at Shanthi Road gallery – Feb 2009

‘ Journeys of the Body’ – A series of performances exploring the vachanas of Akkamahadevi in collaboration with Actor- Writer , Arka Mukhopadhyay.

Performed at the Delhi International Arts Festival Dec 2008


  ‘BLUE’ – A solo choreographed by Mayuri Upadhye ( Director Nritarutya dance Co, Bangalore) ASMI – April 2008

‘Move- mess & Mu- jinx’- A duet with Martial Artist Ranjan Mullaratt exploring the emotion of Humor in Combat- ASMI- April – 2008

Prakruthi – A piece choreographed for Global Warming Awarness programme to bring in awareness in schools and colleges.Feb – 2008

Waves People play – A piece choreographed for Kalari professionals of PKB Kalari Sangam, Guruvayoor  exploring the musicality of  Ketukari – Sammilan- 2007

Dialogues – A piece choreographed in collaboration with Kalri Academy exploring the emotional quality of Kalaripayattu – Adhyaya – 2006

Finding Ri – A solo in collaboration with Musician/ Composer Praveen.D. Rao – Adhyaya - 2006


on 11th April 2010,
@Oxford book store, leela palace, Bangalore.

Expressions of 'I am'.
An evening of Individual expressions through text and movement.

An informal showing of individual movement explorations by artistes from diverse backgrounds. 
This performance is part of a process where individuals improvised, jammed and expressed through their bodies.An interactive session where every individual worked on elements of composition, narration and choreography to discover the possibilities of their bodies through movement .
Performers- Vivek VijayaKumaran(Actor), Akhshay Gandhi ( theatre artiste) Radhika Prabhu(actress & Dancer) , Abhija Shivakala, Keerthi & Chandrashekhar(Dancers)
A performance devised through an interactive session and introduction to various choreographic techniques for self exploration.

In/Out/In at NSD Theatre Festival 2010

In/Out/In is a new performance created with the collaboration of Indian and German artists to look at boundaries of textual and performative spaces for the feminine in the Indian context. The performance is loosely based on Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda and the central concern is how to go beyond the colonialist, nationalist or patriarchal discourses that accept the marginalization of women as necessary. It focuses on Radha entrapped in a “traditional” space, and tries to explore her various levels of ambitions and interruptions - the “rural” lover and Krishna, the “Pardesi” love object. Moreover, Radha is “rooted” while Krishna is in transit. He is symbolically more representative of “ India” while Radha remains representative of the eternal “Bharat” feminizing the majority of the Indian population. As the performance looks at the temporary possession of Krishna by Radha it also measures the relationship in terms of the woman as outsider and Krishna as insider. Hence, the much-elaborated image of Radha as a multiple victim is subverted and re-read with an acknowledgement of the written text’s phallocentrism and subversion in the performative.
Bahumukh, 2.30 & 6 pm, Wed, 20 Jan
Multilingual, 60 minutes
Dramaturge: Santanu Bose
Director: Aditee Biswas

Shilpika Bordoloi
Veena Basavarajaiah
Sandra Chatterjee
Felix Bürkle 

Lights: Goutam Majumdar
Costumes:Shree Biswas
Sound Design and Music: Sankar Venkateswaran
Dhrupad Vocals: Barna Maitra
Stills: S. Thyagarajan


by Anusha Lall

Tilt has been conceived as an ensemble work performed by four dancers and three musicians. While using the dance form of Bharatanatyam as a base, it attempts to discover a fresh dynamic and create a new perspective in the way it is performed and viewed. The piece derives its broad structure from the Tillana, the final piece in a Bharatanatyam repertoire, and is performed in a circle. The audience members sit up close, and depending on their position, develop a fundamentally personal relationship with the dance as it unfolds. The proximity between the audience and the dance is an important element of the work and aims at replacing the predominantly visual experience of dance with a more palpable engagement based on its kinetic quality.

Non-verbal, 45 minutes 
Choreography: Anusha Lall

Dancers: Mehneer Sudan, Mandeep Raikhy, Veena Basavarajaiah, Anusha Lall
Musicians: Samrat Bhardwaj, Suchet Malhotra, P. Vetri Boopathy
Interactive Media Design: Matsuo Kunihiko 
Light Designer: Gautam Pande 
Production: Varun Sharma

TILT at Siddhartha Hall, Max Mueller Bhavan

3 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi, 2009

Tilt @ NSD Theatre Festival

  • TILT @ the Park's NEw Festival -2009
5th of December, Chennai
Venue- Chandramanatapa

Tilt! has been supported by Japan Foundation and Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi.

Sammilan- International Festival of Kalari and Contemporary Arts
28th November, NMKRV college auditorium,