Achinta S. McDaniel

Lecturer

Bollywood

Achinta S. McDaniel, a pioneer of contemporary Indian dance in the United States, is the founder and artistic director of Blue13 Dance Company, a contemporary Indian dance theater in Los Angeles, California.

A prolific choreographer, performer and instructor, McDaniel’s style draws from diverse techniques, including ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip-hop, bhangra, kathak and Bollywood, to create spectacular theatrical dances. Known for her experimentation with international styles and for her passion to create diverse and truly American dance works, her choreography is highly dramatic and a real reflection of her upbringing: Eastern and Western, mysterious, rebellious and unconventional.

McDaniel was born in Queens and grew up studying dance in Cleveland, Ohio, where she got her start as a choreographer at Hathaway Brown School at the age of 14. Throughout school, she danced in ensembles at Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve, thereafter graduating from New York University with a BA in Choreography, Dance, and Theatre.

She later studied classical Indian kathak in Bangalore, India with guru Maya Rao. Upon returning to New York in 1999, McDaniel founded Blue13 Dance Company and performed and taught across the tri-state area. In 2001, she relocated to Los Angeles and continued her career as a teaching artist and dance-maker. She has expanded her work for over fifteen years, creating one of the country’s first professional contemporary Indian dance theater ensembles and touring on stages around the world.

McDaniel also choreographs, lectures and teaches contemporary Indian, Bollywood and bhangra styles internationally, and works as a choreographer in the film and television industry; her work has appeared on “New Girl,” “The Amazing Race,” and programs on MTV, PBS, NBC, and WE TV, in addition to commercials for Madden NFL, Heineken, Snapple, and Bounty.