Hip Hop artist Paige Hernandez and Kuchipudi dancer Chitra Kalyandurg fuse dance, theatre and spoken word to give contemporary spin to tales of resilient, relatable heroines from Indian myth. The Nayika Project also features original music by Anjna Swaminathan, Rajna Swaminathan and Roopa Mahadevan.

While Nina recovers from a tough breakup, she encounters a mystical woman, Sakhi, who promises to enlighten Nina by sharing the eight stages of a woman in a relationship. Even though these two women are from separate worlds, they have the potential to redefine history on the road to discovering the ultimate love.Journey with Nina and Sakhi as they remix the classic Ashta Nayikas using classical Kuchipudi Indian dance, hip hop movement and spoken word.


Oct 23 & 24, 2015 as a part of  India in Focus through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
More information here.



ChitraChitra Kalyandurg is a performer, educator and choreographer based in Rockville, MD. She has been a student of Kuchipudi since 1989 and began training with renowned Kuchipudi artist and guru, Anuradha Nehru in 1994. She has also trained with artists such as Kishore Mosalikanti, Sasikala Penumarthi, Mrinalini Sadananda,Vempati Ravi Shankar, and Padmabhushan Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam. Chitra is both a solo artist as well as a performer with the Kalanidhi Dance Company. She has performed at venues such as Joyce SoHo, National Geographic Society, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Smithsonian Institute, and Dance Place. In 2007, Chitra took part in Kalanidhi Dance’s tour to India, where she performed at the celebrated Ananya Festival of Dance. In 2008 she studied dance and choreography in India with the support of a Creative Projects grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. Chitra is a recipient of the prestigious 2009 Princess Grace Dance Honoraria for her artistic excellence in Kuchipudi. In 2010, Chitra was selected to create and present an original, collaborative theater piece alongside two other artists for the Source Theater Festival. Also in 2010, Chitra collaborated with Shailaja Maru-Jauhari to produce and perform “On the Temple Path,” a thematic presentation in Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam. For two years, Chitra was an artist with the Maryland chapter of Young Audiences/Arts for Learning, a national organization for arts in education. From 2009 to 2011, Chitra served as the Secretary for the Indian Dance Educators Association (IDEA), a non- profit umbrella organization of dance professionals established to serve Indian classical dancers and dance lovers.

DSC_0673Paige Hernandez is a multifaceted artist, who is known for her innovative fusion of poetry, hip hop, dance and education.A s a master teaching artist, Paige has taught throughout the country, to all ages, in all disciplines. To date, she has reached over 10, 000 students, from Pre-K through college, in over 100 residencies, workshops and performances. She has been recognized in many organizations including the Wolftrap Foundation for Early Learning and Arena Stage where she was awarded the Thomas Fichandler award for exceptional promise in theater education. Paige was also named a “classroom hero” by the Huffington Post. As an actress, Paige has performed on many stages including DC:Arena Stage, Folger Theatre, The Kennedy Center , Fulton Theatre(PA), Ohio Theatre(NY), Manship Theatre(LA), Paramount Theatre (TX) and many others. As a critically acclaimed dancer, Paige’s choreography has been seen all over the country and recently in The Kennedy Center’s American Scrapbook and Knuffle Bunny. As a hip hop education advocate, Paige has shaped various educational workshops, including Props for Hip Hop at Arena Stage and Keep it Moving, at Wolftrap. Both workshops help teachers to understand the fundamentals of hip hop while incorporating the culture into their curriculum. With her company B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT, Paige has toured her children’s show Havana Hop and her one woman show, Paige in Full: A B-girl’s Visual Mixtape throughout the country.


raj1Rajna Swaminathan (percussion) disciple of mrudangam maestro Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, is an accomplished young artist in the field of South Indian percussion. She is one of only a handful of female mrudangam artists in the world. In addition to her work with South Indian musicians and dancers, Rajna has recently been collaborating intensively with musicians in New York’s creative jazz scene to expand the rhythmic horizons of the mrudangam in an intercultural setting. In addition to mrudangam, Rajna has learned piano for several years. Using her hybrid musical foundation, she has been composing and creating crossover works.





Anjna Swaminathan (dramaturg, violinist) is a budding artist in the field of South Indian Carnatic Violin. A disciple of the late violin maestro Parur Sri M.S. Gopalakrishnan and Mysore Sri H.K. Narasimhamurthy, Anjna has been trained in both Carnatic classical and Western classical styles of violin as well as in Western and jazz vocal. In summer 2010, she had her solo concert debut in India. Along with her solo performances, Anjna collaborates with dancers, theatre artists, and musicians to create original work in an hybrid cultural setting.



Roopa Mahadevan 2Roopa Mahadevan (vocalist) Raised in California, Roopa is a versatile vocalist who received major training in Carnatic vocal under Asha Ramesh and later trained under Suguna Varadachari in Chennai, India through a Fulbright scholarship. Roopa has performed in several venues in the U. S. and India, including the prestigious Music Academy, and has been recognized by the well-regarded Cleveland Aradhana for her commitment to Carnatic music. Roopa also enjoys singing for dance performances, performing R&B soul music, and collaborating with artists on cross-cultural projects. She was the lead soloist for a track on the 2010 Grammy Award- winning album Calling All Albums. She lives in New York City, where she works in public health policy while pursuing her artistic passions.