Tara Rajkumar OAM

For decades, Tara Rajkumar has worked tirelessly to promote Indian classical dance and culture in a transmigratory context in Australia and the UK.

Honour Roll

Tara Rajkumar has established a distinguished reputation as a brilliant performer and teacher of the Classical Indian Dance forms of Kathakali, earning high acclaim from both critics and the general public in Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe and India in a career spanning over 30 years including 17 in Victoria. She has successfully taken her art form to traditional temple venues in India and to prestigious theatres such as the South Bank in London, the Opera House in Sydney and the Victorian Arts Centre in Melbourne.

After migrating to Australia in 1983, Tara set up the Natya Sudha School and Natya Sudha Dance Company in Melbourne. The school is recognised for its high standard of training in South Asian dance. Her numerous acclaimed productions from Melbourne have been toured in Australia, the United Kingdom, India, New Zealand and Thailand. With the support of the Commission for the Future, Asia Link and Multicultural Arts Victoria she developed a unique cross-cultural project, Traditions in Transition, which culminated in a season of performances at the CUB Malthouse. She was Artistic Director of the project which brought together for the first time classical and contemporary dance from Japan, China and India, highlighting the contribution made to the Australian national cultural fabric by high calibre artists resident in Australia.

Tara was also artistic director and lead dancer of the Indian dance component in the Australian Festival of Asian Arts - From Japan to Venice programme - at the Victorian Arts Centre. Tara's projects through the Academy in the UK and her work in Australia have been successful in creating a cultural bridge and forging a deeper understanding between the different communities including the host community. She developed, for the first time in Australia, a course, New Dance form Old Cultures, for undergraduate students at Monash University. Through such programmes, she has made Classical South Asian Dance accessible to the community at large.

Tara's work is featured in the Immigration Museum in Melbourne in recognition of her contribution to the community as an immigrant to Australia. Through her distinguished and acclaimed contributions as a dancer, choreographer, artistic director, educator, researcher and communicator, she had demonstrated a strong and unswerving commitment to forge cultural bridges and a deeper understanding between the migrant South Asian community and the host community in Australia. Through her art forms she has made pioneering in roads into arts education and community service in Victoria.