Photo by Yekaterina Gyadu.
Space Grant (Spring 2022)
Ambika Raina is a choreographer, dancer, and film maker in Lenape territory/New York City. Ambika makes cinematic fantasies that flirt with pop sensibility rooted in an experimental foundation. Viscerally influenced by her 10 years of Bharatnatyam training, her vibrant choreography is extremely specific and rhythmic with subtle details, combining visual geometry with softer storytelling. She’s worked in concert, theater, and film/video settings.
Ambika’s stage works have been presented by NYU Skirball, The Chocolate Factory, Issue Project Room, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Center for Performance Research, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, and more. In 2019, Ambika earned a Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF) Observership award to assist Camille A. Brown on the choreography of the iconic Off-Broadway revival of For Colored Girls at the Public Theater. In 2020, she earned an SDCF Fellowship to assist Broadway director Susan Stroman in a virtual workshop. Ambika’s movement direction/choreography is featured in a few music videos, and she directs dance films of her own. She is choreographing “The Jury,” a full-length musical directed by Henry Nettleton, to premiere Feb 2022.
As a dancer, Ambika has performed in work by Bill T. Jones, Joanna Kotze, David Gordon, Jordan Demetrius Lloyd, Maya Lee Parritz, Netta Yerushalmy, and Catherine Galasso at venues like Madison Square Garden, Park Ave Armory, The Museum of Modern Art, and Jacob’s Pillow. She dances in music videos by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Seratones, Ives, and more.
Ambika was a guest teacher of beginner through advanced level Contemporary dance at Mark Morris Dance Center for 2 years. From Michigan, she holds a BFA in Dance and a BS in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience from the University of Michigan. She studied Bharatnatyam for 10 years at Alankar School of Dance.