Putting Bollywood On the Hollywood Map: Nakul Dev Mahajan
May 04, 2018
JUDGE, GRAND FINALE
When it comes to introducing Bollywood dance culture to the West, nobody does it better than Nakul Dev Mahajan! With a bit of perseverance, innovation and most importantly, hard work, Mahajan has flawlessly brought Bollywood dancing into the spotlight among the West and is now known as “Hollywood’s favorite Bollywood Choreographer”. Bringing immense creativity into his choreography, Mahajan seeks to promote only one message “dance with honesty” which he believes will bring any aspiring dancer success in their goals. So get ready! Mahajan is all set to preside as one of the three judges at the McDonald's Dance USA Dance grand finale and he will be looking for the same energy and creativity that he puts forth in his choreography.
Best acclaimed and credited for his staggering contribution in "So You Think You Dance" and Academy award winner A.R.Rahman's ‘Jai Ho’ world tour, Nakul is now all set to preside as one of the three judges at the McDonald's Dance USA Dance grand finale on July 15th. Nakul has a remarkable experience of 25 years and a swaggering clientele of celebrities from Hollywood and around the world. Some of his major projects include Dance Moms, Miss America talent segment and bringing Bollywood to the White House with Michelle Obama.
Nakul Dev Mahajan was born on September 15th, 1975 in Agra, India, to a Punjabi family which immigrated to the United States in the 1960s. Mahajan started his formal training for dance at the young age of 17 and went on to graduate from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Dance in 2002. As an evolved artist and choreographer, he launched a premier school for Bollywood dance in the United States in 2003, known as NDM Bollywood Dance Productions and Studios Inc. Since it was found, the school has trained more than 3000 students and now has the largest and most promising crew of Bollywood dancers in the country. It is considered to be a leading institution in the art of Bollywood dancing. In 2015, a dance troupe of more than 400 students and 20 members of the school performed their annual student recital called Bollywood Travels for an audience of 2700 members. Mahajan is also a member of the Faculty of the Broadway Dance Center as a guest instructor.
He appeared as a guest star participant in episode 6, season 3 of a famous TV show 'The Office'. Mahajan conducted a learning session for Bollywood dance just before the 81st Academy Awards in 2009. In 2016, he further choreographed a flash mob scene based on a Bollywood theme for an episode of another TV series, 'Fuller House'. Mahajan received the award for Outstanding Young Alumnus at the University of California, Riverside in 2011. In season 4, Mahajan as a choreographer introduced Bollywood dancing to the famous American dance reality show on TV, 'So You Think You Can Dance'. During the season, Katee Shean and Joshua Allen's performance choreographed by Mahajan ascended to YouTube's "Most Viewed" list and sustained this position for a whole week. It was acclaimed as one of the best routines of all time in the show. Mahajan's association with 'So You Think You Can Dance' continued across the border to Canada. For season 1 in 2008, he choreographed the group dance performance on the song 'Nagada Baja' from the famous Bollywood flick, 'Jab We Met'. He has also trained team India at another dance reality TV show on NBC Network, 'Superstars of Dance'.
Although Mahajan's career was interrupted by his chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed with Stage 2 testicular cancer, he resumed his stride as a celebrated choreographer where he led a workshop at the White House on Diwali in 2013. He also choreographed a part of Paula Abdul's sequence in 'Check Yourself' (2014) which was a breast cancer public service announcement by Avon products. For this project, Paula, Mahajan, Chucky Klapow and Renee Ritchie received the World Choreography Award in 2015 in the Digital Format category.
In 2013, American Bazaar listed him as one of the Top 10 Indian American Entertainers. For Miss America 2014 pageant, Mahajan choreographed a dance sequence on the song 'Dhoom Taana' from the movie, 'Om Shanti Om' which was a fusion of Bollywood styles and Indian classical dance. It was performed by Nina Davuluri who was Miss America for the year and the first Indian Miss America. This was for the first time when a Bollywood/Indian dance was performed on the stage of the Miss America Pageant. Mahajan was also picked to judge Dance India Dance (North America) in 2015. The show was filmed in the city of Mumbai.
Mahajan's style and work show significant shades of classical Indian dance forms and western styles like Hip Hop, Jazz, and Latin. By virtue of his endeavors to promote and teach Bollywood dance styles, Nakul became a pioneering ambassador of Bollywood dance in the Western civilization.
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