Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Art Matters Blog

Performing in Maharaja: Rina Singha Kathak Dance Organization

December 2nd, 2010

The Rina Singha Kathak Dance Organization will be performing at the AGO as part of the exhibition Maharaja: the Splendour of India’s Royal Courts. For the full performance schedule, click here.

The Rina Singha Kathak Dance Organization (RSKDO) was founded by Rina Singha, one of Canada’s premier Kathak dancers. In 1982 Rina Singha founded The Kathak Institute aimed at passing on her Guru Shambhu Maharaj’s legacy with all its elegance, precision and dramatic excellence to others. By 1985 a selected group of senior students became The Kathak Institute Dancers. They were launched with much acclaim, at the Ontario Multicultural Theatre Festival in 1985. Later that year they represented Canada at an International festival in Peurto Rico and the flowing year at major festivals such as Womad and Ontario Place’s Showcase India.

With an invitation from the Premiere Dance Theatre in 1991 to be part of CIBC Dance Season, the name of the group was changed to Rina Singha Kathak Dance Organization. It was incorporated in 1992 as a Non Profit Company with a clear goal of developing innovative performance and audience education initiatives, that would help audience to understand and appreciate both the in depth artistry of Kathak and to encourage upcoming dance professionals.

Visit their website at sites.google.com/site/rinasinghakathakdance

About Rina Singha

Kathak dancer Rina Singha was born in Calcutta. While attending university in Hyderabad, she was chosen for a government-sponsored project intended to revive and preserve India’s classical dance styles. She subsequently became a soloist in India’s premier kathak dance company and an internationally acclaimed performer who has toured the world.

In 1960, while Singha was working on her PhD in geography in England, she was asked by esteemed dancer Ram Gopal to become the lead female dancer in his company. Five years later, Singha and her family immigrated to Canada where she worked to improve the understanding of dance traditions from around the world.

To this end, in the 1970s she designed and taught a world dance course at York University and developed Heritage Canada, one of the first multicultural programs for the Toronto public school system. In addition, she created a “Cultural Clues Approach to Learning” program that has been implemented in numerous schools. She has also been involved in creating educational videos for UNICEF.

In the late 1990s, she collaborated with the Music Gallery in Toronto to create the Legacies In Dance festival, which presents and promotes non-Western dance. To increase awareness of kathak dance, Singha founded the Kathak Institute as well as the Rina Singha Dance Organization.

As a dance ethnologist, Singha has researched dance narratives from around the world. As a choreographer, she is noted for blending her Christian faith with her kathak training in works such asYeshu Katha – 4 women tell the story of Jesus (1991).

For the Toronto Star‘s profile of Rina, click here.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.