ANUSHA KEDHAR (She/Her/Hers)
Associate Professor & Graduate Advisor
Anusha Kedhar is a scholar and practitioner of Indian dance. She was born and raised in Southern California but lived and worked in London, UK for several years as a professional dancer. She attended University of California, Berkeley (BA, Development Studies), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (MS, Demography), and University of California, Riverside (Ph.D, Critical Dance Studies.) where she received her doctorate in 2011. Her research interests include dance in India and the Indian diaspora, global political economy, caste and performance, and ethnographic methods in dance studies.
Kedhar’s book, Flexible Bodies: British South Asian Dancers in an Age of Neoliberalism (2020), winner of the Emory Elliot Book Award from the Center for Ideas and Society at UC Riverside and the Sally Banes Publication Prize from the American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), focuses on South Asian dancers in the UK and the creative ways in which they negotiate the demands of neoliberal, multicultural dance markets through an array of flexible bodily practices, including agility, versatility, mobility, speed, and risk-taking. Bringing together economic theories of flexible labor with embodied notions of flexibility in dance, the book re-frames flexibility as both a tool of labor exploitation as well as a bodily skill that dancers cultivate to navigate neoliberal multiculturalism. Kedhar’s writing on choreography, gesture, and Black Lives Matter protests has been featured in The Feminist Wire and The New York Times. She is currently working on a new project on caste, gender, and eroticism (sringara) in the pedagogy and performance of bharata natyam love songs (padams/javalis) and another project with Dr. Prarthana Purkayastha (Royal Holloway University, UK) and Dr. Royona Mitra (Brunel University, UK) titled “South Asian Dance Equity (SADE): The Arts British South Asian Dance Ignores,” which is being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Kedhar is an established performer and choreographer. Prior to coming to UCR, she trained in bharata natyam with Ramya Harishankar (US) and toured with Angika, a contemporary Indian dance company based in London, UK. She has also collaborated and performed with various contemporary South Asian choreographers in the US, UK, and Europe, including Mayuri Boonham (UK), Johanna Devi (Germany), Mavin Khoo (UK), Cynthia Ling Lee (US), Meena Murugesan (US), and Subathra Subramaniam (UK). Her solo choreography has been presented at the Southbank Centre (London), Mediterranean Institute for Theatre and Performance (Malta), UCLA (Los Angeles), Colorado College (Colorado), and Gibney Dance (New York). In 2008, Kedhar was a Fulbright Scholar to India and the recipient of the Selma Jeanne Cohen Award for dance scholarship. She has previously taught at Colorado College (2013-2017) and the University of Malta (2012-2013).
Kedhar, Anusha. Flexible Bodies: British South Asian Dancers in an Age of Neoliberalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
Kedhar, Anusha. “Choreographing Tolerance: Narendra Modi, Hindu Nationalism, and International Yoga Day,” Race and Yoga. Vol. 5 (1), 2020, pp. 42-58.
Kedhar, Anusha. “Breaking Point?: Flexibility, Pain, and the Calculus of Risk in Neoliberal Multiculturalism.” In Futures of Dance Studies, eds. Susan Manning, Rebecca Schneider, and Janice Ross. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2020, pp. 343-359.
Kedhar, Anusha. “It’s Time for a Caste Reckoning in Indian ‘Classical’ Dance,” in Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies: Decolonizing Dance Discourses (edited by Anurima Banerji and Royona Mitra), Vol. XL (2020): 16-19.
Banerji, Anurima, Anusha Kedhar, Royona Mitra, Janet O’Shea, and Shanti Pillai. “Postcolonial Pedagogies: Recasting the Guru–Shishya Parampara.” Theatre Topics 27, no. 3 (2017): 221-230.
Kedhar, Anusha. “Choreography and Gesture Play an Important Role in Protests” New York Times, December 15, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/12/15/what-does-the-style-of-a-protest-say-about-a-movement/choreography-and-gesture-play-an-important-role-in-protests
Kedhar, Anusha. “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot: Choreography, Gesture, and Protest in Ferguson.” The Feminist Wire, October 6, 2014. http://thefeministwire.com/2014/10/protest-in-ferguson/
Kedhar, Anusha. “Flexibility and its Bodily Limits: Transnational South Asian Dancers in an Age of Neoliberalism.” Dance Research Journal 46, No. 1, April 2014, pp. 23-40.