Dr. Rajyashree Ramesh

Dancer, choreographer, cultural scientist

Born in Pune, raised in Mumbai and Bangalore, and living in Berlin, Germany since 1977, Rajyashree Ramesh looks back upon five decades of collective experience in her varied capacities, as performer-choreographer, dance and movement educator, Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA), researcher and cultural scientist. Groomed as a solo dancer in the Indian classical tradition of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi since early childhood, the major part of her work has been in the last four decades in cross-cultural settings. Whether in her intercultural and cross-disciplinary teaching approaches in transmitting more than just dance to the several hundreds of learners and varied target groups in in-numerous teaching assignments and outreach projects in schools, or at her Academy for Performing Arts, where since 1993 several of her mostly European students have been trained to become trans-cultural dancer-performers. Or as a performer-choreographer with an essentially classical-innovative signature, bringing together many artists, also of international origin, resident like her in Germany, in multinational multi-genre stage productions. Some of her state funded or commissioned works are “Goethe’s Iphigenie” (1998-2010),
“Körpersprachen-Mundarten” (2007), “Asian Wisdom” (2001) or “Dance Immemorial” (2003), and guest choreographic works in “Epos-Ramayana” (2004-2005) for Theater Chemnitz, or “Midsummer Night’s Dream” (2018-2019) for and with the hearing impaired for Possible World e.V. at Ballhaus Ost (for the full list: www.rr-dance.net/de/productions).

These experiences, while bringing several innovative possibilities for working with dance as well as insights into the mainstream dance and cultural scene, revealed at the same time the power and pitfalls of categorisation, marginalisation, exoticising tendencies and one-sided discourses. Challenges and chances, but also questions emerging from these collective experiences triggered her interest in the study of human movement itself, which finally
channelised into academic research. She received a Masters and a Doctorate (2019) from the Cultural Science Faculty of Europa University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder, Germany for her path-breaking cross-disciplinary analysis that relates the knowledge in Indian performing arts in theory and practise to latest research fields on embodiment, cognition, and emotions. The outcome is implications on multiple fronts pertaining to current day practises and discourses on dance. She has also been presenting her movement-based approach for over a decade by way of lecture-performances and workshops at international conferences and universities worldwide, and has publications on varied topics in German and English to her credit (www.rajyashree-ramesh.com). The first of its kind Trans-cultural Dance&Movement Studies “Bharatha-to-Bartenieff” she developed during her research was launched in 2020 despite the pandemic, as a Diploma Global Dance Professional Programme at the Global Music Academy Berlin, where she is docent and Coordinator for Dance since 2011.

back to the Jury