Malavika Sarukkai was trained in Bharatanatyam by Gurus Kalyanasundaram, Swamimalai S.K. Rajarathnam and Kalanidhi Narayanan and has been performing for more than three decades. She is proficient in Odissi which she learnt form Gurus Kelucharan Mohapatra and Ramani Jena. She is a dancer, choreographer and teaches a few select students. She has performed in major dance festivals in India and abroad. Some of them are the Festivals of India in USA, France, UK, Japan, Spain and Brazil; International Festivals and Cultural Events at Jacob’s Pillow, UCLA, Asia Society, Theatre de la Ville, Edinburgh Festival etc.
She is the recipient of Senior Fellowships and Production Grants from the Department of Culture, Government of India for creating new work and extending the repertoire. She has choreographed and performed solo thematic productions such as Krishna Rtu Krida, Shrinkala, Fireflies, Khajuraho -Temples of the Sacred and Secular, Uthkanta, Kasi Yatra-The Journey of a Courtesan, and Srotasvini-Multiple Stream, Vipinam-The Grove, Thejas-The Expanding Canvas, Ganga-Nitya Vahini-The Eternal River, Love, Longing and Transcendence – Poems of Amir Khusrao and Maname Brinavaname. Malavika Sarukkai brought out her dance DVD entitled – Vaahini – the Sacred and the Worldly.
Malavika has received several awards, notably Padma Shri, Sangeet Natak Akademi national award, Kalaimamani, Nritya Choodamani (Sree Krishna Gana Sabha), Mrinalini Sarabhai Award, the Raza Award for the Arts, etc.
Her artistry was featured in the BBC/ WNET television documentary Dancing. A film Samarpanam on her life and work was commissioned by the Government of India for the National Archives. Sequences of her dance have been filmed by German TV for ARTE and by Cinematheque of Dance, Paris. Malavika Sarukkai – Dancing Life, reflecting her philosophy on dance was produced by Barbara and Eberhard Fischer of Museum Rietberg, Zurich and directed by Prasanna Ramaswamy.