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Top 20 Best Performing Arts Companies In India 2023

India has a rich cultural heritage and is known for its diverse performing arts. From classical dances to music and theater, the country has a plethora of talented artists and companies that have been entertaining audiences for centuries. In recent years, the performing arts industry in India has grown significantly, with several companies emerging as major players.

In 2023, the Indian performing arts scene is thriving, and numerous companies are making a mark with their innovative productions, exceptional performances, and unique storytelling. These companies are not only entertaining audiences but also promoting Indian culture and traditions across the world.

The top 20 best-performing arts companies in India in 2023 are a mix of established names and rising stars, spanning different genres of performing arts. These companies have distinguished themselves through their artistic excellence, originality, and impact on audiences. They have also adapted to the changing times and embraced digital platforms to reach a wider audience and create immersive virtual experiences.

From classical dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, and Odissi to contemporary dance, theater, music, and puppetry, these companies showcase the best of India’s performing arts. They have earned accolades both nationally and internationally and have contributed to putting India on the global performing arts map.

In this list, we will explore the top 20 best-performing arts companies in India in 2023, their history, achievements, and future aspirations.

1. Nrityagram Dance Ensemble

Performing arts company

Nrityagram is a unique dance village located near Bangalore, dedicated to preserving and promoting Indian classical dance. The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble is an internationally acclaimed dance company that performs both traditional and contemporary dance forms, including Odissi, Kathak, and Bharatanatyam.

The company’s performances are known for their mesmerizing beauty, precision, and grace, which are a testament to the rigorous training and discipline of the dancers. Founded in 1990 by the renowned Odissi dancer Protima Gauri Bedi, Nrityagram Dance Ensemble has won numerous accolades and awards, including the prestigious National Award for Best Choreography.

2. Kalakshetra Foundation

Kalakshetra Foundation is one of India’s leading institutions dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Indian classical dance and music forms. Founded in 1936 by the renowned dancer and choreographer Rukmini Devi Arundale, Kalakshetra has been a hub of artistic excellence and cultural revival.

The foundation offers training in various dance forms, including Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathakali, and Carnatic music. The Kalakshetra Dance Ensemble, the performing arm of the foundation, is known for its impeccable technique, aesthetic beauty, and spiritual depth. The company’s performances are a tribute to the rich heritage and traditions of Indian classical arts.

3. Natya Tarangini

Founded by the renowned Kuchipudi dancer and choreographer Padma Bhushan Dr. Raja Radha Reddy, Natya Tarangini is a premier dance company that specializes in Kuchipudi, a classical dance form from Andhra Pradesh.

The company’s performances are known for their vibrancy, energy, and grace, which are a testament to the artistic vision and mastery of the Reddy couple. Natya Tarangini has performed extensively across India and abroad, winning numerous awards and accolades, including the prestigious Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.

4. Sangeet Natak Akademi

Established in 1952, Sangeet Natak Akademi is India’s premier institution for the promotion and development of the performing arts. The Akademi aims to preserve, promote and propagate the diverse cultural traditions of India through various programs and initiatives.

The Akademi recognizes and honors outstanding artists and practitioners of the performing arts through its prestigious awards, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the highest honor for performing artists in India. The Akademi’s extensive archives and libraries are a treasure trove of Indian performing arts, documenting the rich history and evolution of various dance and music forms.

5. National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA)

Located in Mumbai, the National Centre for the Performing Arts is one of India’s premier institutions for the promotion and development of the performing arts. The NCPA offers world-class facilities for performances, rehearsals, and training, and hosts a wide range of events and festivals throughout the year. The NCPA’s performing arts companies, including the Symphony Orchestra of India, the Indian Music Group, and the Dance Company, are renowned for their artistic excellence and innovation. The NCPA also offers extensive educational and outreach programs, promoting the appreciation and understanding of Indian performing arts among audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

6. Ninasam Theatre Institute

Performing arts company

Ninasam Theatre Institute is a well-known theatre institute in India, founded in 1949 by the renowned theatre personality, KV Subbanna. Located in Heggodu, a small village in the state of Karnataka, the institute has been instrumental in promoting and preserving the traditional folk theatre forms of India. The institute offers various courses in theatre, including a three-year diploma course in theatre arts. The institute also organizes theatre festivals, workshops, and performances to showcase the talents of its students and faculty members.

Over the years, Ninasam Theatre Institute has produced several critically acclaimed plays and has won numerous awards and accolades for its contributions to the field of theatre. The institute is known for its unique approach to theatre education, which emphasizes a holistic understanding of theatre, including its history, theory, and practice. The institute’s alumni have gone on to become successful theatre practitioners, directors, and actors in India and abroad.

7. Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra

Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra is a premier cultural institution in India, founded in 1952 by the late Sumitra Charat Ram. Located in New Delhi, Kendra is dedicated to promoting and preserving India’s rich cultural heritage through various forms of performing arts, including dance, music, and theatre. The Kendra is known for its spectacular productions of Ramayana and other mythological stories, which are performed by a team of highly skilled artists.

Kendra’s training academy offers courses in various forms of performing arts, including Kathak, Bharatanatyam, and Hindustani classical music. Kendra’s annual cultural festival, the Shriram Shankarlal Music Festival, is one of the most prestigious music festivals in India, attracting renowned musicians from around the world.

8. Darpana Academy of Performing Arts

Darpana Academy of Performing Arts is a renowned performing arts institution in India, founded in 1949 by Mrinalini Sarabhai, a well-known dancer, and choreographer. The academy is located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and is dedicated to promoting and preserving India’s traditional dance forms, including Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, and Mohiniyattam.

The academy offers various courses in dance and theatre, including a diploma course in performing arts. The academy is known for its innovative approach to dance education, which integrates modern dance techniques with traditional forms of Indian dance. The academy’s alumni have gone on to become successful dancers, choreographers, and teachers in India and abroad.

9. Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts and Research

Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts and Research is a unique theatre company based in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. The company was founded in 1981 by a group of artists led by Veenapani Chawla, a renowned theatre director, and actor. Adishakti is known for its experimental approach to theatre, which combines elements of traditional Indian theatre with contemporary performance techniques.

The company has produced several critically acclaimed plays, including Brhannala, Ganapati, and The Hare and the Tortoise. Adishakti also conducts workshops and training programs for theatre practitioners and students, focusing on the development of physical and vocal skills, improvisation, and devised theatre.

10. Rangashankara

Performing arts company

Rangashankara is a well-known theatre company and venue based in Bangalore, India. Founded in 2004 by the renowned theatre personality, Arundhati Nag, Rangashankara is dedicated to promoting and supporting theatre in India, particularly in the southern region of the country.

The company has produced several critically acclaimed plays, including Mughal-e-Azam, Tughlaq, and Naga-Mandala. Rangashankara is also known for its innovative approach to theatre education, offering a variety of workshops and training programs for theatre practitioners and students.

Rangashankara is a unique theatre company in that it provides a platform for both established and emerging theatre artists to showcase their work. The company is committed to supporting new and experimental theatre and has hosted several theatre festivals, including the annual Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival, which features performances by theatre companies from across India.

11. The Indian Mime Theatre

The Indian Mime Theatre is a pioneering theatre company that specializes in mime and physical theatre. Founded in 1965 by the late legendary mime artiste Padma Shri Jogesh Dutta, the company has been at the forefront of promoting the art of mime in India.

The Indian Mime Theatre has performed extensively across India and abroad, winning numerous awards and accolades for its innovative and powerful productions. The company’s performances are known for their social and political relevance, as well as their aesthetic and artistic appeal. The Indian Mime Theatre has also trained and mentored several generations of mime artists, contributing significantly to the development and growth of the art form in India.

12. Seraikella Chhau Dance Company

Seraikella Chhau Dance Company is a leading dance company that specializes in Seraikella Chhau, a traditional dance form from Jharkhand. The company was founded in 1960 by the legendary dancer and choreographer Guru Shri Kedarnath Sahoo, who dedicated his life to the preservation and promotion of this ancient dance form.

Seraikella Chhau Dance Company’s performances are known for their stunning visuals, dynamic movements, and expressive storytelling. The company has performed extensively across India and abroad, winning several awards and accolades for its artistic excellence and cultural contribution.

13. Mayurbhanj Chhau Dance Company

Mayurbhanj Chhau Dance Company is another prominent dance company that specializes in Chhau, a traditional dance form from Odisha. The company was founded in 1952 by the renowned dancer and choreographer Guru Shri Hari Nayak, who pioneered the revival and popularization of this art form.

Mayurbhanj Chhau Dance Company’s performances are characterized by their vibrant costumes, acrobatic movements, and rhythmic music. The company has performed extensively across India and abroad, winning several awards and accolades for its artistic excellence and cultural contribution.

14. Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts

Performing arts company

Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts is a leading institution dedicated to contemporary dance and movement arts in India. Founded in 1992 by the dancer and choreographer Jayachandran Palazhy, the institution has been at the forefront of promoting and developing contemporary dance in India.

Attakkalari’s performances are known for their innovative use of technology, multimedia, and interdisciplinary collaborations, as well as their social and political relevance. The institution also offers training and education programs in contemporary dance and movement arts, contributing significantly to the growth and development of the art form in India.

15. Indian National Theatre

Indian National Theatre is one of the oldest and most respected theatre companies in India. Founded in 1947 by the legendary theatre director and playwright Ebrahim Alkazi, the company has been a pioneer in the Indian theatre scene. Indian National Theatre’s productions are known for their artistic and intellectual depth, as well as their social and political relevance.

The company has produced several landmark productions, including Girish Karnad’s Tughlaq and Shakespeare’s King Lear, which have become cultural touchstones in Indian theatre. Indian National Theatre has also trained and mentored several generations of theatre practitioners, contributing significantly to the growth and development of Indian theatre.

16. Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose

Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose is a leading dance company that specializes in Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form from South India. The company was founded in 1980 by the dancer and choreographer Mythili Kumar, who has been a pioneer in the promotion and popularization of Bharatanatyam in the United States.

Abhinaya Dance Company’s performances are known for their technical excellence, expressive storytelling, and innovative choreography. The company has performed extensively across the United States and abroad, winning numerous awards and accolades for its artistic and cultural contribution.

17. Natya Dance Theatre

Natya Dance Theatre is another prominent dance company that specializes in Bharatanatyam. Founded in 1974 by the dancer and choreographer Hema Rajagopalan, the company has been at the forefront of promoting and developing Bharatanatyam in the United States.

Natya Dance Theatre’s performances are characterized by their virtuosity, emotive depth, and aesthetic beauty. The company has performed extensively across the United States and abroad, winning several awards and accolades for its artistic and cultural contribution.

18. Mudra Dance Company

Performing arts company

Mudra Dance Company is a leading dance company that specializes in Indian contemporary dance. Founded in 1992 by the dancer and choreographer Nirmala Madhava, the company has been at the forefront of promoting and developing contemporary dance in India.

Mudra Dance Company’s performances are known for their innovative choreography, interdisciplinary collaborations, and social relevance. The company has performed extensively across India and abroad, winning several awards and accolades for its artistic and cultural contribution.

19. Kadamb Performing Unit

Kadamb Performing Unit is a leading dance company that specializes in Kathak, a classical dance form from North India. Founded in 1980 by the dancer and choreographer Rajendra Gangani, the company has been a pioneer in the promotion and development of Kathak in India.

Kadamb Performing Unit’s performances are characterized by their technical precision, emotive depth, and creative innovation. The company has performed extensively across India and abroad, winning numerous awards and accolades for its artistic and cultural contribution.

20. Indianostrum Théâtre

Indianostrum Théâtre is a pioneering theatre company based in Puducherry, India. Founded in 2001 by the theatre director Koumarane Valavane, the company has been at the forefront of promoting and developing contemporary theatre in India.

Indianostrum Théâtre’s productions are known for their experimental and interdisciplinary approach, as well as their social and political relevance. The company has performed extensively across India and abroad, winning several awards and accolades for its artistic and cultural contribution. Indianostrum Théâtre also runs a theatre school and a community outreach program, contributing significantly to the growth and development of theatre in India.

In conclusion, India is home to a vibrant and diverse performing arts scene, with a wealth of talented artists and companies pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation. The top 20 performing arts companies in India in 2023 are a testament to this rich cultural heritage, each offering unique perspectives and contributions to the Indian art landscape.

From classical dance and music to contemporary theatre and film, these companies represent the very best of Indian performing arts. They are dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional art forms, while also exploring new and experimental approaches to creativity and expression.

From the classical dance traditions of Nrityagram and Kalakshetra to the avant-garde theatre of Adishakti and Indianostrum, these companies are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the performing arts. They are also committed to educating and nurturing the next generation of artists, ensuring that India’s cultural traditions continue to thrive for years to come.

Whether through their performances, education programs, or cultural events, these companies are helping to shape the future of Indian arts and culture. They serve as vital institutions for artists, audiences, and communities across the country, and are a source of inspiration and pride for all those who cherish the power and beauty of the performing arts.

As India continues to evolve and grow, so too will its performing arts scene. And with companies like these leading the way, the future of Indian arts and culture is sure to be bright and exciting.

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