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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 as Yeshu Katha – 4 women tell the story of Jesus (1991).
Singha, Rina, with Reginald Massey. Indian Dances: Their History and Growth. London: Faber and Faber, 1967.