Suraj, coined as the "The Queen of Waacking Nouveau ", is also the Queen of many historical firsts. The first Waacking choreography videos on youtube, influencing everyone in the industry the world over. Now, Whacking is seen in countless stage shows, concerts, commercials, music videos and more, with much of the style’s visibility tracing back to Kumari’s tireless promotion of the dance style in the 2000s. Suraj is the first Waacking choreographer to explicitly introduce the dance style to mass media by creating dance content for the FOX reality hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance. Suraj, is the founder and CEO of the LA's International Waack/Punk/Pose Festival (Waackfest), the first festival in the world solely devoted to the cultural education and preservation of Waacking, Whacking, Punking and Vogue. Suraj is considered as the “go-to” expert for this underground dance from the 70s, serving as an international ambassador of its history, culture and technique. In addition to helping preserve Waacking/Whacking's classic movement vocabulary, Kumari has expanded the dance style's potential as the first choreographer to combine Whacking’s signature arm work with Dancehall, Bharatnatyam, Bollywood, Bhangra, House & 90s Hip Hop. Her two styles "Bollywhack" and "Frankie Douglas" are inspiring new generations of Waacking enthusiasts.
Vlogger. Dancer. Choreographer. Fashion Stylist. Globetrotter. Educator. Historian. Fly Girl.
Kumari Suraj’s artistic versatility and passion for movement have established her as one of the leading figures in the global street dance community. With a mission of spreading the joy of dance to countries often untouched by the street dance scene, Kumari has cultivated a reputation as a key educator in Whacking/Waacking and a vibrant force to be reckoned with in cyphers and battles.
Raised in a funk-filled household, Kumari left home at 18 to travel the world in search of dance pioneers and deeper understanding of the culture surrounding the underground dance scene. New York City became a home away from home for the budding cypher queen as she studied under key movement innovators including The Mop Tops, Elite Force, Electric Boogaloos, Rock Steady Crew, The Lockers, Brian Green, The House of Ninja, Ana Sanchez,Archie Burnett, Viktor Manoel, Tyrone Proctor and many more.
By 2006, Kumari was entering respected international dance competitions including BBoy Hodown, and was soon flown overseas to begin her teaching career in Denmark. Since then, Kumari has brought her signature style of dance to students in 30 different countries across six continents, focusing on a unique blend of Whacking, House, Hip Hop, Dancehall, Vogue and traditional styles from her ethnic roots. Kumari’s rise in the street dance world also paralleled the rise in YouTube, allowing Kumari to develop an internet fan base hungry for clips of her powerful yet feminine Waacking solos.
Kumari made a splash into American households when she served as the first choreographer on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” to explicitly introduce Whacking as a dance style and movement vocabulary. Now, Whacking is seen in countless stage shows, concerts, commercials, music videos and more, with much of the style’s visibility tracing back to Kumari’s tireless promotion of the dance style in the 2000s.
Dance education has been at the heart of Kumari’s artistic journey, and led her to found the International Waack/Punk/Pose Festival (also known as Waackfest) -- the first festival in the world devoted to the cultural education, preservation, and evolution of Waacking, Whacking, Punking and Vogue. Kumari has brought together dance pioneers and legends including Jody Watley, Archie Burnett, Dashaun Welsey, Viktor Manoel, Dallace, Javier Ninja, Angel Cejaand Princess Lockeroo, among many others, for immersive weekends filled with dance master classes, panels, and battles. Kumari has also founded dance companies including international group The Waackers, London Waacktitioners, India’s House of Suraj, and Los Angeles’s Jungle Jills.
Kumari has taught at renowned dance studios worldwide including Millennium LA/Tokyo, Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio, EDGE PAC LA, Pineapple Studios, B. Supreme, and HotStepper. In addition to helping preserve Waacking/Whacking's classic movement vocabulary, Kumari has expanded the dance style's potential as the first choreographer to combine Whacking’s signature arm work with Dancehall, Bharatnatyam, Bollywood, Bhangra, House & 90s Hip Hop. Her two styles "Bollywhack" and "Frankie Douglas" are inspiring new generations of Waacking enthusiasts.
Today, Kumari’s Whacking/Waacking proteges continue her legacy at studios across the globe, teaching Waacking with Kumari’s “Frankie Douglas” flavor to young students seeking a distinctive street dance education.
Kumari has choreographed and danced for artists including Mya,Dizzy Rascal, MC Hammer, Jody Watley, and Little Boots, among others, and has been featured in publications including Dance Track Magazine, Dance Spirit and Dance Mogul Magazine.
She has worked in Portland, Oregon, 2015-2017 where she developed the LGBTQ Ballroom & Street dance communities. Kumari maintains an active and vibrant presence on YouTube by producing concept videos and her travel/fashion/dance vlog series, “Kumari’s World.” Kumari is currently working as a full figure model, artist developer and creative director in Los Angeles & New York City. Catch her if you can.