Achinta S. McDaniel is a pioneer of contemporary Indian dance in the United States, and the industry’s top Bollywood instructor. Known for her inimitable energy, McDaniel is passionate about teaching and sharing her unique perspective with students of all levels and abilities from around the world. McDaniel introduced Los Angeles to Bollywood dance over 15 years ago, also teaching a variety of Indian forms from Kathak to Bhangra, along with western styles including Contemporary, Jazz, and Tap. She has taught at EDGE Performing Arts Center, Debbie Reynolds, International Dance Academy and Athletic Garage. McDaniel is a professor at USC’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, teaching technique and theory courses alike, while also consulting, lecturing, teaching and choreographing for educational institutions across the U.S. Achinta works in this vein both on screen and behind the scenes for clients and brands including Buzzfeed, Google, Dreamworks, Hello Bello and Disney. McDaniel is an expert in audience and community engagement, working with Laguna Dance Festival, The Music Center, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, University of North Carolina, and more.
Achinta is the Founder and Artistic Director of the country’s first contemporary Indian dance ensemble, Blue13 Dance Company, which tours internationally. A first generation born South Asian American dance maker renowned for her passion to create dance works that challenge “Americanness,” McDaniel’s aesthetic is fueled by the rhythms and drama of classical and contemporary Indian art, and rooted in disciplines of contemporary, jazz, ballet, tap dance. She is a New York University graduate, and studied classical Indian Kathak under guru Maya Rao in Bangalore, India. McDaniel’s work is a reflection of her upbringing, eastern and western, rebellious, and unconventional, traversing hierarchical and dividing lines of commercial dance, concert dance, and pedagogy.
As a Choreographer, Achinta S. McDaniel excels in bringing a multitude of Indian dance styles to film, television, commercials and music. Her choreography credits include such TV shows as the The New Girl and Speechless with Minnie Driver, multiple commercials including Madden NFL, Heineken for Director Todd Haynes and Snapple. She has worked with music artists Timbaland, Sunny Leone, and Anupam Kher. She also designs Bollywood and Bhangra live stage productions for Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Achinta S McDaniel is a masterful teacher, providing you with foundational and artistic tools to embody new stylistic practices, grow with versatility, improve attention to detail, and embrace storytelling through dance. I hope you like getting screamed at! McDaniel lovingly and passionately shouts and hoots throughout masterclasses and workshops, bringing joy and humor along with sass and sexiness to the experience. You will find her energy infectious, and this will allow you let go of your fears and inhibitions, and bring out your inner star. She will throw you into the movement, which is fast, detailed, intricate, rhythmic, moody, and flirtatious, and by the end you’ll not only embody the choreography, but the character and expression as well. Her favorite tagline? “Gimme Face!”