A PAGE IN HISTORY
Born: Kolkata (Calcutta), India, 1937
Kathak dancer, creator and educator, Rina Singha was born in Kolkata India in 1937. She trained with Kathak master Sambu Maharaj (1910-1970) at Delhi’s Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra. In 1960 Rina moved to London and toured Europe both as a soloist and with the internationally acclaimed company of Ram Gopal (1912-2003). She moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1965.
An elegant and powerful performer, Rina is a creator of conceptually complex choreographic work. She was one of the first traditional Indian dancers to interpret Christian themes in Kathak. Her work explores women’s experiences, already an element of the genre and specialty of her guru Maharaj. She is also knowledgeable about Christian and Indian art and frequently incorporates it into her sets and costumes.
Instrumental to Rina’s art is her role as a teacher. From 1971-1976 she taught dance theory and history at York University. She has a Master’s in Education and developed A Cultural Approach to Learning, a multiculturalism-focused educational program for school visits. In the 1970s, inspired by her daughter Vinita’s deafness, Rina was also one of Canada’s first dance artists to run programming especially for deaf children. She founded two teaching institutions: the Kathak Institute of Toronto in 1982 and the Rina Singha Kathak Dance Organization in 1992.
Rina is also an arts advocate. In the 1960s, she faced a Canadian cultural scene that exoticized and trivialized non-Western dance forms. Rina has worked extensively to earn traditional Indian dance forms a place on Canadian stages. She was a consultant with the Canada Council, headed multicultural programs with the Ontario Arts Council, and from 2002-2005 was the chair of the Dance committee for the Toronto Arts Council.
Rina’s work has won her much recognition. She has received the Hindu Federation of Canada Award for Dance (1989), the Dance Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award (1991), the DuMaurier Arts Award (1994), the William Kilbourn Award from the Toronto Arts Council Foundation (2000), the Galilean International Juried Award for Excellence in Performing Arts (2006), the Grant Community Achievers 2008 award, and was inducted into the Dance Collection Danse Hall of Fame in 2018.
- Photographs, slides, publicity materials and house programs, contracts with 15 Dance Lab, newspaper clippings, CV (c. 1999), Folk and Tribal Dances of India, portfolio containing information and images of Bundi painting, thank-you poster from Palmerston school, costume
- 29 photographs and 16 slides
- Contracts with 15 Dance Lab
- Copies of Folk and Tribal Dances of India and Indian Dances: Their History and Growth
- Portfolio of large cards containing information and images of Bundi painting
- Costume for Moghul Miniatures (c. 1979)
- Massey, Reginald. “Dancing in Delhi.” Dancing Times, vol. 92, no. 1101, May 2002, pp. 15-19.
- Parameswaran, Uma. “Rina Singha: Seventy Years & Still Dancing.” DCD The Magazine, no. 64, Fall 2007, pp. 16-22.
- Singha, Rina. Folk and Tribal Dances of India. Winnipeg: India School of Dance, Music and Theatre Inc., 1984.
- Singha, Rina with Reginald Massey. Indian
- Bharatiyanari (1975)
- Images (1977)
- The Seekers (1977)
- Interplay (1978)
- Moghul Miniatures (c. 1979)
- Magic of the Dancing Bells (1979)
- Genesis (1981)
- Rites of Spring (1981)
- Psalm of Joy (1983)
- Lost Coin (1984)
- Bronze Serpent (1985)
- Marriage Celebrations (1988)
- Yeshu Katha – 4 Women Tell the Story of Jesus (1988)
- At the Well (1989)
- Walls (1990)
- Prithvi is People (1991)
- Lullaby and Lament (1991)
- Choices, Choices, Choices! (1991)
- Christmas Windows, A Kathak Perspective (1991)
- Dialogue (1993)
- To Everything There is a Season (1993)
- Jhalak – Glimpses of Kathak (1994)
- Drums in the City (1994)
- Destinations (1995)
- And It Shall Come to Pass (1995) with Danny Grossman
- Fourteen Stations of the Cross (1996) with Danny Grossman and the Orpheus Choir
- Becoming: A Song from Exile (1996) with Cylla von Tiedemann
- The Seekers – From the Garden of Eden to the Walls of Jericho (1997) with Jahanara Akhlaq, Eddie Kastrau, Patrick Parsons and Devraj Patnaik
- Naqab (1998)
- Agony and Ecstasy (1999) with Danny Grossman
- Christmas Katha (1999)
- Lullaby and Lament (1999 and 2006)
- The River (2002)
- Circle of Bricks – Rhythms of Kathak Dance (2014) with Danny Grossman
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