Kumari Suraj has proven herself to be a visionary, trendsetter, international dance trailblazer, and creative game changer. The combination of her vibrant style and enticing ferocity result in an intoxicating experience that extends well beyond the dance floor.
Whether she is using her intuitive video production skills for her youtube vlogs, behind the camera direction for music and concept videos, her creative direction for artist development, her savvy eye for fashion styling and costuming, motivational instruction, riveting choreography, or on camera persona, Kumari presents an irresistibly colorful sensuality that will leave you excited for more.
With a reputation of being a visual magician, Kumari Suraj has a unique vision and approach to creative direction, storytelling, movement, artistic development and visual concepts for performing artists and commercial advertisements.
Her work as been featured on Grammy Award winning artist Mya, television shows like So You Think You Can Dance, live fashion shows for Nike world headquarters, World of Dance, and dance networks like Bollyshake & Dance On Network. Kumari has created visual work in Japan, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and Portland.
As a creative director she is very hands on with every production assembling the right cast and crew for each artist. As a consultant she is able to bring the imagination of any artist to life while enabling a comfortable environment of trust with each client.
With 10 years of industry experience creating visuals for camera and live stage performances, Kumari's clear vision reads strong throughout all her artwork.
Kumari Suraj is a published full figure model.
As a pre-teen Kumari’s body was physically developed beyond her years. Her womanly figure brought unwanted attention at a young age. As a kid she was shamed by members of her religious community. Kumari was told she was too sexy in a pair of regular pants and a tshirt and usually told to change before service. She was made to feel her body was a sin simply because she had a fuller figure than girls her age. Kumari lived in baggy clothes to cover her shape. Through her teen years she developed an unhealthy complex from a cocktail of religious hypocrisy and mainstream media saying she was too big, too voluptuous, too sexy.
Her photographer mother heard about “plus size” modeling and submitted her to an agency in Portland, Oregon. This was a temporary turn around in self-confidence for this young teen. Kumari walked a few runway shows for Sax Fifth Avenue but, soon found she was too ethnically ambiguous for casting directors to book. The industry’s ignorance towards multiracial faces and women of color struck a final blow to her self esteem. At 15 Kumari gave up modeling to focus on dance.
Kumari spent the next few years reclaiming emotional ownership of her body through the self-assurance she gained with dance, specifically the dance style Waacking. She realized she wasn’t the only “thick mixed chick” on the planet. Kumari’s push back into the curvy modeling world is based on a combination of self love, healthy confidence and understanding of religious/media stigmas on young women. Her ethnic ambiguity gives her a distinct advantage with an incredible portfolio of photos. With the nickname, “Mystique”, Kumari is truly a chameleon in front of the camera she embraces her healthy curves and exotic sex appeal.
Kumari Suraj’s artistic versatility and passion for movement have established her as one of the leading figures in the global street dance community.
Kumari was the first dancer/choreographer to share the styles of House, Waacking & Vogue to the country of South Africa in 2006. Her students are now the country's leading choreographers, dancers and studio owners.
Kumari was the first community activist to build Whacking/Waacking communities in Los Angeles, London, Denmark, Malaysia, South Africa and Portland, Oregon. She has since shared her gifts and love of art with almost 30 different countries.
Kumari Suraj founded dance companies including international group The Waackers, London Waacktitioners, India’s House of Suraj, and Los Angeles’s Jungle Jills.
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 Punking, Whacking & Waacking and a vibrant force to be reckoned with in cyphers and battles.
Bollywood meets Waacking?!?! Created by Kumari Suraj in 2009, BollyWhack fuses Bollywood Dance, Bhangra, Khattak, Bharatanatyam and other traditional movement from Kumari's South Asian roots, with the 70's Disco styles of Punking & Whacking. This cross cultural connection is a seamless union of powerful arms, elegant hand gestures, exotic poses and dramatic story telling facial expressions.
Promoting and representing this movement with Mother Suraj are two dance groups she personally trains and mentors in India. The House of Suraj, India's Elite Whacking Family and The Calcutta Waack Pack.
Kumari Suraj, as one of the first to upload Waacking choreography videos to Youtube in 2006|07, has gained international recognition for her creative innovations in dance. Her body of work is the melting pot of fierce eccentricity. Whether she choreographs an energetic Masterclass , an elaborate stage production, an artist's music video or one of her youtube Vlogs there is no denying Kumari's distinct dance style.
Kumari made dance history and a splash into American households when she served as the first choreographer on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” to explicitly introduce Waacking as a dance style and movement vocabulary. Now, Whacking is seen in countless stage shows, concerts, dance competitions, 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.
Kumari Suraj's unique work tells the story of her experience as a multiethnic human being influenced by a variety of dance cultures from the 1970s-1990s. Be it traditional Whacking & Punking meet street jazz or her world renowned Frankie Douglas and BollyWhack styles Kumari, is inspiring new generations of Waacking enthusiasts with thousands copying her signature dance moves the world over.
Being a product of the infamous 90's MTV generation with hopes of being a Fly Girl, Kumari's inspirations lead her to create Frankie Douglas Style. Frankie Douglas, is Kumari's "around the way girl" Tomboy hip hop alter ego. As seen in her performances with her female Hip Hop crew The Jungle Jills or her Frankie Douglas style videos.
The names Frankie & Douglas were given to her by peers who reacted to her "boyish" mannerisms and sexual orientation. Suraj, mixing her Tomboy persona with her Afro Caribbean roots, 90's HipHop, House and Whacking, created the entity known as Frankie Douglas Style.
Beyond her visual creations Kumari Suraj is known for her trendsetting sense of style. Kumari's well endowed vintage closet is the envy of most fashion hungry millennials seeking that perfect item to set them apart from the crowd. That one item to give them a unique sense of confidence. Knowing her vintage items are coveted Kumari decided to delve into the curated fashion space with Etsy store “Kumari’s Closet.”
Kumari's taste making fashion intuition is utilized privately by stylish patrons seeking her image consulting, make over, styling and esteem boosting talents. She gently guides her clients to a deeper understanding of themselves through fashion. Enabling them to conquer the world before them with full confidence. She is available for private styling consultations upon request.
Suraj is considered as the “go-to” expert for Whacking/Waacking, an underground dance from the 70s, serving as an international ambassador of its history, culture and technique.
Kumari has also studied over 12 different dance genres by emerging herself, not just in movement but, in the music, social climate, political landscape and ethnic cultural lineages of each style. Kumari is well verse in not only the diverse movement of dance but, the practical applications of dance as a form of therapy and social change.
Kumari Suraj's rebel spirit wouldn't be complete without her passions for Environmental Issues, Cultural Ethnic Equality, Gender Equality paired with the education of young women and being an active member of diverse LGBTQ communities. Kumari's storytelling creative work builds bridges for different communities while promoting cultural and generational understanding.
In 2016 the Kumari Suraj brand was handpicked by Bollyshake along with a few others to represent the dance community on a global scale with the, Girl Rising "We Dream We Rise", charity that involves Priyanka Chopra, Freida Pinto, Primer Minister Narendra Modi, Amitabh Bachchan and Michelle Obama. Kumari Suraj was chosen to help educate women on a how to empower themselves energetically through dance. #WeDreamWeRise
LA's International Waack/Punk/Pose Festival was created by Kumari Suraj in 2010 as a positive response to the negative bullying and social turmoil of the global Waacking| Whacking| Punking community.
Punking & Whacking are dances created, by a multiethnic gay community during the 1970's in Los Angeles, as expression from oppression. Oppression being, in addition to bullying, the burdensome stigmas of homosexuality created by mainstream heterosexual society.
HIV/AIDS have also dealt a welding blow to the original Punking & Whacking pioneers leaving only one, Viktor Manoel, to carry on the history and pass the torche.
Waackfest was designed as a neutral event to raise awareness, bridge the social divide, dispel misunderstandings and falsehoods and end the bullying that have pulled people apart. Waackfest is more than just a celebration of Disco, Waack, Punk, Vogue, Gay, Straight, Trans, Drag, Black, White, Brown, Red, Yellow and Unicorned. Waackfest is a celebration of life.