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Diya Naidu is a choreographer, dancer, performer, facilitator, arts and culture organiser.

She is the founder of Citizens of Stage Co Lab and was the head of Dance Programming at Shoonya Centre for Art & Somatic Practices, Bengaluru. As a choreographer, her work has traversed into the area of gender and feminism - violence against women, the role of caste and class in lack of safety for women and the somatic implications of patriarchal penetration. While she makes work for large stages, currently she works largely in the immersive and intimate performance space.

She explores intimacy and touch through her work and finds deep correlations between our deepest needs and desires and the challenges we face in the socio-political realm.


Her work has been curated and performed in festivals and platforms all over. Some are The Park festival – India (6 cities), At the Still Point - Kolkata, The Attakkalari India Biennale, Korzo Theatre festival – Netherlands, Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance Awards – Chennai & Bangalore, Think Big Theatre Festival – Germany, The Independence Project – Mumbai, India Design Forum – NCPA, Mumbai, Khoj Festival – Delhi, Dance Bridges – Kolkata and the Milap Festival – Manipal University. Her collaborative works have travelled to platforms like the Hindu Theatre Festival, Esplanade in Singapore, Taiwan, Avignon in France, Impulse Theatre Festival in Germany and The Garage in Nairobi, Kenya.

Some of these works are: Red Dress Waali Ladki (solo, patriarchal violence), Rorschach Touch (Immersive, intimate, movement theatre), Hands and Face Project (gender through the lens of caste and class, solo, documentary theatre), Ceremony of Longing (an offering to the community post pandemic, ensemble, live ceremonial performance), Suraiya Is A Country (documentary theatre, solo, work in progress), Bardo Brings (duet, dance piece) and Strange Intimacies (solo, performative event, for one person only).


Since 2017, she has been part of several Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality projects with Cie Gilles Jobin, Switzerland. This new dynamic interaction of dance with technology has proved extremely exciting through the pandemic in terms of being able to connect and collaborate. 

Diya has performed in many countries including Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, UK, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea. She is engaged in the cultural scene in Africa with the East African Soul Train Residency which included a residency in Kenya and Tanzania in 2019, a hybrid residency in 2021 and a research trip to Switzerland in 2022, supported by Pro Helvetia aimed at investigating “decolonizing the arts”. In 2023 she co-directed the hybrid Lost+Found Residency with participants from 16 countries and sharings of the work in London, Gabarone and Bangalore as well as online.

She was commissioned to direct and make a film for Embassy of Switzerland, Delhi as well as recently an ensemble dance piece. This piece In The Last Light was also curated to perform at MAP Museum, Bangalore and the Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance Awards showcase. The work was recently selected to the Uspaar short residency in Maharashtra. She is currently seeking funds to finish this work.

She recently showed her work Ceremony of Longing in India as well as Kampnagel, Hamburg (2023). She is currently the recipient of the Pro Helvetia Co-creation Grant, along with Swiss choreographer Jozsef Trefeli. They are developing a piece around how different cultures treat the ageing body. They will be premiering their work in November 2024. She was

In the last few years she has also been working as a dramaturg for several projects, and as mentor and movement director for theatre projects.

She sees the artist as the key site for the integration of worlds and hopes to be of service. As such she is invested in work that transforms the artists as well as the witness, creating in a safe and equal environment while really listening to what is needed. Diya Naidu is also a trained Animist practitioner from the Sagh'ic Tradition and a trained Yoga teacher.

She acquired her Diploma in Movement Arts and Mixed Media from The Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, Bengaluru in 2007. After working with companies like The Danceworx, Delhi and Rhythmosaic, Kolkata, she then continued with Attakkalari as repertory member till 2014. She also has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Lady Shriram College, Delhi University.


  • Spoke at TedX NitteDU, Mangalore – her topic was Intimacy as a Tool of Resistance (scroll to 1hr 40m)

  • Pro Helvetia Co-creation Grant, 2024

  • Named and awarded one of The Fifteen Changemakers of 2024 by Deccan Herald (watch her film & interview here)

  • Artist-in-residence at East's Residency called 'Lost and Found', working with 12 other artists from Africa and Europe, 2021

  • Unrehearsed Residency Grant from Nava Dance Company, USA, 2021

  • Youth Award for Performing Arts for the AMI Arts Festival - Kolkata Centre for Creativity, 2020

  • Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance Awards for Hands and Face Project, 2016

  • Pro Helvetia Artist in residence at the Rote Fabrik, Zurich, June - August 2015

  • Robert Bosch Young Choreographers Award, 2011

Citizens of Stage Co Lab

Citizens of Stage Co Lab is a collective of versatile, independent dancers who strive to share movement and dance with working professionals, students, artists, sportspeople, homemakers, and the community at large. Based out of the state-of-the-art studios at Shoonya, Bangalore, it offers classes, workshops, and performances that combine technical skill, somatic awareness, and creativity. Ranging from mid-career artists to more recent entrants to the field, it is bound by the belief – Minds Evolve When Bodies Dance.

“We have come together to share the joy and beauty of contemporary dance with our home – Bangalore and India. We are all artists pushing the boundaries and working on ourselves in order to shift the energy in the community. We need art and we need movement. Whether you are behind a desk or screen all day, a child at school, in college, a homemaker or senior citizen; whether you are a student or a fellow artist, a parent or a sportsperson, the collective has something meaningful to offer you.”

Through our performances, classes, workshops and other offerings, we hope to share our passion and skill and bring movement into your life. And at the same time we get to have fun, get fit, meet people, build community and experience something new. That’s the power of dance.

Citizens of Stage Co Lab
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