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Nakul Dev Mahajan

Nakul Dev Mahajan (born September 15, 1975) is an American Bollywood dancer and choreographer best known for his choreography on So You Think You Can Dance. He is the founder and artistic director of NDM Dance Productions and Studios, a Bollywood dance company based in Artesia, CA.

Nakul Dev Mahajan
Born (1975-09-15) September 15, 1975 (age 44)
OccupationDancer, choreographer
Years active2003 - present
Current groupNDM Dance Productions and Studios
DancesBollywood dance

Early life and backgroundEdit

Born in Agra, India, in a Punjabi family,[1] Mahajan and his family immigrated to the United States in the 1960s.[2] Mahajan began formal dance training at age 17,[2] and graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Dance in 2002.[3]


Michelle Obama joins students for a Bollywood Dance Clinic with Nakul Dev Mahajan, in White House, November 5, 2013

The work of Nakul Dev Mahajan has been influenced by classical indian dances and Western dance styles (hip-hop, Latin and jazz).[4] As a result of his efforts to teach and promote the Bollywood dance style, Mahajan has been called Hollywood’s Favorite Bollywood Choreographer[5] and an Ambassador of Bollywood Dance.[6] Mahajan appeared as a guest star (dancer) in season 3, episode 6 (Diwali) of The Office (TV sitcom),[7] led a Bollywood Dance instructional session prior to the 81st Academy Awards (2009),[8] and choreographed a flash mob style Bollywood scene for an episode of Fuller House (TV series) (2016).[9][10]Sonia Singh (author) and Mahajan co-authored the script for One Man Bollywood Show, a 2009 stage production performed by Mahajan.[2] In 2011, Mahajan was the recipient of the University of California, Riverside Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.[11][12] Mahajan has served as a talent shows judge for CBS' The World's Best (reality talent competition).[13]

Dance StudiosEdit

In 2003, Mahajan founded NDM Bollywood Dance Productions and Studios, the first Bollywood dance school in the U.S.; the school has since served over 3000 students.[14][15] In 2015, 430 students and 20 members of the school's dance troupe performed Bollywood Travels (the annual student recital) for a total of 2700 audience members.[16] Mahajan serves as a guest instructor in the faculty of the Broadway Dance Center.[17]

So You Think You Can Dance (U.S., 2008-2015)Edit

Nakul Dev Mahajan's choreography introduced the Bollywood Dance style to the stage of So You Think You Can Dance (reality TV show) in Season 4.[18] Katee Shean and Joshua Allen's performance of Mahajan's routine for Season 4 was in YouTube's "Most Viewed" list for one week,[19] and was included in BuzzFeed's 2014 25 Best 'So You Think You Can Dance' Routines of all Time listing.[20] In subsequent seasons of the show, Bollywood performances were included regularly (see summary table, below).

Choreography for So You Think You Can Dance (U.S.)Edit

Season Week Dancers Style Song Result Reference
4 5 Katee Shean
Joshua Allen
Bollywood "Dhoom Taana" from Om Shanti Om Safe [21]
6 Top 10 Bollywood "JBJ" from Jhoom Barabar Jhoom [18][21]
9 Katee Shean
Joshua Allen
Bollywood "Dhoom Taana" from Om Shanti Om’’ Judge's Pick
(Nigel Lythgoe)
5 1 Caitlin Kinney
Jason Glover
Bollywood "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire Safe [18][22]
6 Top 5 Female Dancers Bollywood "Dholna" from Pyaar Ke Geet [citation needed]
9 Caitlin Kinney
Jason Glover
Bollywood "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire’’ Judge's Pick (Christopher Lil' C Toler) [18][22]
2 Mollee Gray
Nathan Trasoras
Bollywood "Azeem O Shaan Shahenshah" from Jodhaa Akbar Safe [23][24]
4 Guest dancers, Nakul Dev Mahajan and NDM Bollywood Dance Productions Bollywood "Desi Girl" from Dostana N/A [24]
7 Russell Ferguson
Ashleigh Di Lello (injured,
replaced by Rachel ___)
Bollywood "Spirit of Rangeela" from Rangeela Safe [24][25]
8 Mollee Gray
Nathan Trasoras
Bollywood "Azeem O Shaan Shahenshah" from Jodhaa Akbar Judge's Pick (Tyce Diorio) [24]
2 Kathryn McCormick
Jose Ruiz
Bollywood Marjaani Marjaani Kasama from Billu Safe [26]
4 AdéChiké Torbert
Marla ____ (substitution for Alex Wong)
Bollywood Mourya Re from Don: The Chase Begins Again Alex Wong injured (withdrew) [26]
7 Billy Bell
Robert Roldan
Bollywood Ganesh from Bombay Dreams Judge's Pick (Stacey Tookey);
Bell Eliminated
9 Kent Boyd
Lauren Gottlieb
Bollywood Om Mangalam from Kambakkht Ishq [26]
2 Iveta Lukosiute
Nick Young
Bollywood Baawre from Luck by Chance Eliminated [27]
4 Group dance Bollywood Kata Kata from Raavan [27]
6 Clarice Ordaz
Robert Roldan
Bollywood Aila Re Aila from Khatta Meetha Eliminated [27]
2 Witney Carson
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp
Bollywood "Tandav Music" from Aatish Kapadi Eliminated
5 Kathryn McCormick
Will Thomas
Bollywood Ooh La La from The Dirty Picture Safe
2 Malece Miller
Jade Zuberi
Bollywood Radha from Student of the Year Zuberi withdrew [28]
6 Group dance Bollywood Pandeyjee Seeti from Dabangg 2
9 Amy Yakima
Alex Wong
Bollywood Munni Badnaam Hui Darling from Dabangg 2 [29]
4 Valerie Rockey
Ricky Ubeda
Bollywood Dilliwaali Girlfriend from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani Safe [30]
6 Bridget Whitman
Brandon Bryant
Bollywood/Disco Disco Khisko (remix) from Dil Bole Hadippa! [31]
9 Jessica Richens
Zack Everhart, Jr.
Bollywood Ghaghra from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani [32]
2 Lily Frias
Burim Jusufi
Gaby Diaz
Edson Juarez
Bollywood Dhol Baaje from Ek Paheli Leela Jusufi Eliminated
Juarez Bottom 6
6 Jaja Vankova
Alex Wong
Bollywood Naacho Re from Jai Ho soundtrack Safe

So You Think You Can Dance (Canada, 2008)Edit

Mahajan choreographed the group dance performance of Nagada, Nagada from Jab We Met in So You Think You Can Dance Canada (season 1).

Superstars of DanceEdit

Mahajan coached team India at the Superstars of Dance on the NBC Network and choreographed six remaining crews at the 2009 ABDCrews (season 4).[34][35][36]



A 2012 diagnosis of Stage 2 testicular cancer and subsequent chemotherapy treatment interrupted Mahajan's career.[6][15]

Check YourselfEdit

In 2014, Mahajan choreographed a section of Paula Abdul's performance in Check Yourself, a breast cancer PSA (public service announcement) production by Avon Products.[37][38] Abdul, Mahajan, Chucky Klapow, and Renee Ritchie received a 2015 World Choreography Award for this work, in the category Digital Format.[39][40]

White House Diwali CelebrationEdit

Following a tradition started by George W. Bush in 2003, an annual Diwali celebration takes place at the White House.[41] For the 2013 edition of the White House Diwali celebration, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a Bollywood dance workshop that was instructed and choreographed by Mahajan.[41][42][43] A photo of Michelle Obama dancing a Bollywood routine alongside Mahajan was cited as one of the top White House photos of 2013.[44][45]

Miss America 2014 PageantEdit

Mahajan choreographed the Bollywood-Indian classical dance fusion routine performed by Nina Davuluri (2014 Miss America and the first Miss America of Indian descent) at the Miss America 2014 Talent competition;[46] the routine was set to the song Dhoom Taana, from the film Om Shanti Om.[15] Davuluri's performance of this routine marked the first time a Bollywood dance routine had been performed on the Miss America stage.[15]

Mahajan was named to The American Bazaar's Top 10 Indian American Entertainers of 2013.[47]

Dance India DanceEdit

Mahajan was selected as a judge for the 2015 edition of Dance India Dance North America (filmed in Mumbai).[48][49]

Dance MomsEdit

For the Season 6, Episode 5 edition of the reality TV show Dance Moms, Mahajan coached the Abby Lee Dance Company Team, when Abby Lee Miller unexpectedly failed to attend practice sessions and competition.[50]



  1. ^ Jaskiran Kapoor (Nov 17, 2013). "Dance Like a Man - Indian Express". Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  2. ^ a b c Nataraj, Nirmala (12 Jan 2009). "One Man, One Vision". India Currents. Retrieved 25 Feb 2016.
  3. ^ "Notable Alumni - Nakul Dev Mahajan". UC Riverside Alumni Association. Archived from the original on 25 Jan 2016. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  4. ^ Abramowitz, Rachel. "Cutting a red carpet: Indian dance teacher Nakul Dev Mahajan teaches some moves before the show". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 Jun 2010.
  5. ^ Parimal, Rohit M. "One-man Bollywood Show: Hollywood's Favorite Bollywood Choreographer". Buzzine. Archived from the original on 18 Apr 2009. Retrieved 4 Jun 2010.
  6. ^ a b Randeria-Leonard, Shyamal (16 Dec 2014). "Ambassador of Bollywood Dance". India Currents - The Complete Indian American Magazine. Retrieved 8 Feb 2016.
  7. ^ "The Office Diwali Season 3 Episode 6 Cast and Crew". CBS Interactive Inc. 2 Nov 2006. Retrieved 18 Feb 2016.
  8. ^ Abramowitz, Rachel (2009). "Cutting a red carpet: Indian dance teacher Nakul Dev Mahajan teaches some moves before the show". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 Feb 2016.
  9. ^ "Nakul Dev Mahajan Choreographs Bollywood Piece on 'Fuller House'". India-West. 1 Mar 2016. Retrieved 5 Mar 2016.
  10. ^ Khosla, Proma (2016). "Ranking Bollywood numbers on American TV, from fine to godawful". Mashable. Mashable. Retrieved 5 Mar 2016.
  11. ^ a b "2011 Chancellor's Dinner Benefits Merit Scholarships, Recognizes Excellence". University of California, Riverside. Regents of the University of California. 2011. Retrieved 25 Feb 2016.
  12. ^ Nakul Dev Mahajan, Cydney Watson (31 Oct 2011). Arts/Culture: UCR Outstanding Young Alumnus Nakul Dev Mahajan (’02). Regents of the University of California. Retrieved 25 Feb 2016.
  13. ^ Rathorne, Reena (14 Mar 2019). "Indian Musical Prodigy Lydian Nadhaswaram Wins CBS' 'The World's Best', Takes Home $1M Prize". India West. Retrieved 29 Mar 2019.
  14. ^ Tirusha (17 July 2008). "Desis Sure Can Dance". Bravura Artist. Archived from the original on February 14, 2009. Retrieved 23 Jun 2010.
  15. ^ a b c d Tsering, Lisa (16 Sep 2013). "Mahajan Choreographs Another Winning Performance". India-West. Retrieved 6 Feb 2016.
  16. ^ Rohit, Parimal M. (3 Apr 2015). "Nakul Dev Mahajan Dance Troupe Travels the World, Bollywood Style". India-West. Redondo Beach, CA, USA. Retrieved 8 Feb 2016.
  17. ^ "Nakul Dev Mahajan, BDC Guest Instructor". Broadway Dance Center. Broadway Dance Center. 2016. Retrieved 25 Feb 2016.
  18. ^ a b c d Kay, Lauren (1 Sep 2013). "Centerwork: Bollywood". Dance Magazine. Retrieved 12 Feb 2016.
  19. ^ Jones, Jen. "Nakul Dev Mahajan: The Mastermind Behind Bollywood". Dance Spirit Magazine. Archived from the original on May 1, 2010. Retrieved 4 Jun 2010.
  20. ^ Calderon, Arielle; Chen, Tanya (27 Aug 2014). "The 25 Best "So You Think You Can Dance" Routines Of All Time". BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed, Inc. Retrieved 24 Feb 2016.
  21. ^ a b c "SEASON 4". Dance Mogul Magazine. 2008. Retrieved 12 Feb 2016.
  22. ^ a b "So You Think You Can Dance's Most Memorable Couples". People. 11 Jun 2009. Retrieved 12 Feb 2016.
  23. ^ Simmons, Abbey (5 Nov 2009). "So You Think You Can Dance Guest Columnist: Shuffle, Ball, Change!". BuddyTV. BuddyTV. Retrieved 11 Feb 2016.
  24. ^ a b c d "SEASON 6". Dance Mogul Magazine. 2009. Retrieved 12 Feb 2016.
  25. ^ Lurie, Kathryn (9 Dec 2009). ""So You Think You Can Dance" Season 6, Top 8 Perform: TV Recap". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 Feb 2016.
  26. ^ a b c d "SEASON 7". Dance Mogul Magazine. 2010. Retrieved 14 Feb 2016.
  27. ^ a b c "Season 8". Dance Mogul Magazine. 2011. Retrieved 14 Feb 2016.
  28. ^ "Reviews: 'So You Think You Can Dance' review: Jade Zuberi injured; Aaron Turner shines". Matt Carter Media. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 24 Feb 2016.
  29. ^ Yeo, Debra (11 Sep 2013). "So You Think You Can Dance winners revealed". Retrieved 24 Feb 2016.
  30. ^ Kheel, Rebecca (27 Aug 2014). "Six dances later, Yorba Linda woman awaits votes". Orange County Register. Retrieved 24 Feb 2016.
  31. ^ Yaneza, Rickey (6 Aug 2014). "Bridget Whitman and Brandon Bryant dance Bollywood on So You Think You Can Dance 11". Rickey LLC. Retrieved 24 Feb 2016.
  32. ^ Tisdale, Jerrica (28 Aug 2014). "'So You Think You Can Dance' 2014 Episode 14 Recap: The Finale Part 1". Star Pulse. Retrieved 24 Feb 2016.
  33. ^ Gidlow, Steve (21 Jul 2015). "'So You Think You Can Dance' Recap: Two Contestants Sent Packing In First Round of Elimination". HNGN.COM. Retrieved 24 Feb 2016.
  34. ^ Rohit, Parimal M. "TEAM INDIA'S DANCING QUEENS - Team India Members Shine on 'Superstars of Dance'". Archived from the original on 4 Aug 2009. Retrieved 22 Jun 2010.
  35. ^ Bracchitta, John. "NBC reveals the identities of 'Superstars of Dance's teams and judges",, Retrieved on 22 Jun 2010.
  36. ^ "Can The ABDCrews Learn Bollywood In A Week?". MTV news. Viacom International Inc. 26 Aug 2009. Retrieved 24 Jun 2010.
  37. ^ "Nakul Dev Mahajan Choreographs for Paula Abdul". India West. 23 Oct 2014. Retrieved 18 Feb 2016.
  38. ^ Avon #CheckYourself Credits (Digital Video). Avon Products. 30 September 2014. Retrieved 18 Feb 2016.
  39. ^ a b "World Choreography Awards". World Choreography Awards. World Choreography Awards. 16 Nov 2015. Retrieved 18 Feb 2016.
  40. ^ a b Salkin, Karen (24 Nov 2015). "WORLD CHOREOGRAPHY AWARDS 2015". It's not about Retrieved 18 Feb 2016.
  41. ^ a b Anand, Kanul (22 Oct 2014). "This is how the white house celebrates Diwali". India Times. Washington, DC, USA. Retrieved 7 Feb 2016.
  42. ^ Yount, Stacey (10 Nov 2013). "WHEN NAKUL DEV MAHAJAN AND BOLLYWOOD WENT TO THE WHITE HOUSE FOR DIWALI!". Washington, DC, USA. Retrieved 7 Feb 2016.
  43. ^ "Remarks by the First Lady at Diwali Celebration". United States Government. 5 Nov 2013. Retrieved 8 Feb 2016.
  44. ^ "Michelle Obama's Bollywood dance among top White House photos". NDTV (New Delhi Television Limited). Washington, DC, USA. 8 Jan 2014. Retrieved 7 Feb 2016.
  45. ^ "Michelle's Bollywood Dance Moves a Hit!". The Hindu. Washington, DC, USA. 8 Jan 2014. Retrieved 7 Feb 2016.
  46. ^ "The Bollywood Dance Routine That Stole The Show". India Abroad. 27 Sep 2013. Retrieved 13 Feb 2016.
  47. ^ "Top 10 Indian American entertainers of 2013". The American Bazaar. 29 Dec 2013. Retrieved 10 Feb 2016.
  48. ^ "'Hollywood's Favorite Bollywood Choreographer' Nakul Dev Mahajan to judge DID North America 2015". Zee TV. Mumbai, India. 6 July 2015. Retrieved 10 Feb 2016.
  49. ^ Warich, Sonia (17 Sep 2015). "Pennsylvania Indian American Teen Wins 'Dance India Dance'". India West. San Leandro, CA, USA. Retrieved 25 Feb 2016.
  50. ^ Heimbrod, mimi (3 Feb 2016). "'Dance Moms' Season 6: Abby Lee Miller Is MIA; ALDC Wins Big At Fierce Dance Competition". Design & Trend. IBT Media. Retrieved 11 Feb 2016.
  51. ^ "INDIA EMPIRE AWARDS BEVERLY HILLS, LOS ANGELES". India Empire Magazine. 2015. Retrieved 25 Feb 2016.

External linksEdit