Rathimalar Govindarajoo


Rathimalar Govindarajoo

Dancer, Odissi Dancer, Bharata Natyam Dancer,

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysian born, Rathimalar Govindarajoo (Rathi) specialises in Indian Classical Odissi, Bharata Natyam & Modern Contemporary dances. She was one of the lead dancers in Ramli Ibrahim’s Sutra Dance Theatre and partnered Ramli Ibrahim himself from 1990 – 2002 in Malaysia. Still under the wings of Sutra for more than two decades now, she has performed in The Philippines, France, Italy, Japan, Indonesia, India, USA and Australia in both classical and contemporary dances. In 1998, Rathi completed the Six Week School of the American Dance Festival (ADF) in Dukes University North Carolina, U.S.A.

After obtaining her local Mass Communication (PR) qualifications in Olympia College PJ, Rathi later was one of the pioneers full-time contemporary dancers of the renowned South Asian British funded dance company, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company (SJDC) London, UK. While in the UK, Rathi toured SJDC’s productions of Phantasmaton & [h]Interland (2002/3), Transtep (2004), Flicker Transtep 2 (2005) and Exit No Exit (2006) throughout Britain and Europe. For Transtep (2004), she danced in works created by Lisa Torun, Filip van Huffel, Rashpal Singh Bansal and Shobana Jeyasingh. She has also revisited Malay traditional dance and music with an upcoming Malaysian choreographer and artistic director, Maziah Omar of Nusantara in Nottingham.

After touring extensively with SJDC throughout Britain & Europe through major productions, contextualizing performances with educational and outreach work for five and half years. She returns home hoping to contribute her dance experience towards the flourishing performing arts scene in Malaysia and venture into new choreographic works.

Her first attempt in choreography succeeded as Star Struck for Sutra dancers in 2006. Rathi’s second choreography, ‘Rebel Without A Cause?’, a duet with Suhaili Micheline and herself succeeded in Bilqis Hijjas’s Ballet Base production in 2008 and was nominated for Best Choreography in a Mixed Bill for 7th Annual Boh Cameronian Arts Awards 2009.

Rathi performed in KLPAC in ‘A Delicate Situation’, choreographed by Lina Limosani from Australia. Presented by the Rimbun Dahan Choreographers’ Residency 2008, A Delicate Situation’ was also nominated for 3 awards at the 7th Annual BOH Cameronian Arts Awards.

Rathi toured Australia, Malaysia, Singapore & India with Sutra in a new contemporary dance work, Rasa Unmasked by Anandavalli & Australia’s Lingalayam Dance Company in collaboration with Ramli Ibrahim & Malaysia’s Sutra Dance Theatre and American/Chinese composer/musician, Alex Dea in 2009.

For ‘Dancing In Place’ in Rimbun Dahan in conjunction of ‘Tanah Air’ Art For Nature 2009 a fundraising exhibition in aid of WWF-Malaysia, Rathi choreographed a sight specific work called ‘Quintessence’.

Rathi assisted Suhaili Micheline in choreography for the Malaysian musical ‘Impak Maksima’ that was held in Esplanade Theatre Singapore in Oct 2009.

“Audacity”, a contemporary piece inspired by Suryaan Nadeen was created for KL Fringe:Dansteater – CETUS in Nov 2009. The same piece (“HOPE”) was further developed for a Cancer campaign with the dancers of Sutra Dance Theatre.

Vision Of Forever an Odissi repertoire of Deba Prasad as well as his two renowned disciples – Guru Durga Charan Ranbir and Gajendra Kumar Panda was staged in Istana Budaya April 2010. Rathi partners her master, Ramli Ibrahim in Vision Of Forever and was Rathi’s come back to the homeground as an Odissi dancer. In May, July and August ‘2010, the production toured Malaysia. The production was set in a multimedia presentation, with lighting and set design by Sivarajah Natarajan.

For Bilqis Hijjas’s Dancing In Place – Cross Pollination 2010, Rathi resurrected and reworked an old piece choreographed by Ramli Ibrahim called ‘In Spirit’, a contemporary work on an ode to women who celebrate the Rhythm of Life.

In Alaripu To Moksha 2010, Rathi received the title ‘Co-Artistic Director’ under Sutra Dance Theatre.

Rathi is presently discovering opportunities to dance, teach and choreograph new pieces as a freelance artist in new classical and contemporary works. She auditioned for SJDC for their Classic Cut and was chosen to tour in the UK in 2011. Classic Cut is a programme in two halves. In the first half, Shobana revisits and reappraises Configurations, her celebrated 1989 collaboration with composer Michael Nyman. Performed by four dancers and to a live string quartet, it provides a unique snapshot of a pioneering artist’s work at the beginning of her Company’s life and an insight into an inspirational collaboration between choreographer and composer. Co-commissioned by ROH2, the second half will present a new work drawing on the dramatic and colourful theatre traditions of Bharatha Natyam. In the way that Configurations signalled an adventurous new direction for Shobana in 1989, this work marks new territory as she explores the characters of a classical form.

For Shobana Jeyasingh’s Classic Cut 2011/2012 in the UK, Shobana Jeyasingh celebrates her company’s twenty-fifth birthday with a ‘something old, something new’ double bill featuring a re-imagining of her 1988 classic “Configurations” alongside her latest work, “Dev Kahan Hai?” (“Where is Dev?”); Rathi received many positive reviews from the dance critics – “A special mention, though, for Rathimalar Govindarajoo, who exploded with power and energy every time she stepped out of the wings.” by David Mead. Classic Cut was premiered at the Royal Opera House, London, UK and later toured Eastleigh, Birmingham, Corby and Taunton from February to March 2012 . Rathi returned for it’s second season in September 2012 and toured to Tewkesbury, Falmouth, Leeds, London and she will be returning in December 2013 to perform Classic Cut in Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Rathi premiered Panjara recently, a work which clearly exemplifies the continuum of traditional and modern in Asian contemporary dance. She now freelances besides teaching and conducting rehearsals at Sutra. As one of Malaysia’s most compelling dancers performing in Malaysia and also international stages, Rathi strives to contribute her extensive dance experience towards the performing arts field in Malaysia.

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