Bhava, the emotion of the character, resides in the heart of the performer, finds its mirror in their eyes and expresses itself through the hands and body to establish rasa, the emotion conveyed to the spectator.
Born in a Bengali family and raised in Gujarat, Rukmini Chatterjee began her study of the classical Indian dance form Bharatnatyam under the exacting eye of the famous classical dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai. At the age of 13, she held her first public recital, or Arangetram. In 1983, she was awarded the title of “Shringarmani” at the music and dance festival for young artists in Mumbai. This was followed by an invitation to the prestigious Kalidas Sammelan, as well as to a series of other important dance festivals (Konarak, Khajuraho), and the major theaters of Calcutta, Madras, Delhi and Ahmedabad.
In 1990, she settled in Paris and since then she has made her life between the two cultures. In France she has performed for the Festival of Arles, the Biennale of Lyon and the Parisian Quartiers d’Été, as well as Châteauvallon, in Europe for the Venice Biennale, the Oslo world music festival, the Opera of Oslo, the royal Opera house in London and the festivals of Bergen, and Lausanne in India in the major theaters of Delhi, Kolkatta, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Chandigarh…
In 1992, she turned her talents to theatre and film. She successfully performed in several plays: Kafka’s The Trial and Hampaté Ba’s L’Enfant Peul, directed by Habib Nagamouchin
Around 1998, inspired by the creative energy and synergy of Paris and the varied arts and cultures she encountered there, she began a series of her own choreography’s in a spirit of openness to other cultural and artistic influences.
This resulted in the creation of Prakriti, her first choreography, inspired by Indian sacred texts of the Upanishads, interpreted by Indian dancers and European jazz musicians. This was performed at the Bergen Dance Festival.
In 1999-2000, she returned to Bombay for two shows that she conceived and directed: Adya Shakti, inspired by the goddess Kali, and Panchatatva, based on an interpretation of the ‘five elements’,represented by dancers and musicians, who came from the five continents. This was sponsored by the Times of India group.
Rukmini Chatterjee made an appearance as a dancer in a Tony Gatlif film, Vengo del Moro in 1999. At the Rencontres Théâtrales de Haute-Corse (directed by Robin Renucci) in 2000, she played the leading role in Tagore’s Chandalika, a production conceived by singer Sharmila Roy. She also did a cameo at the Astonvilla concert at the Élysée-Montmartre in Paris.
Continuing her exploration of the cultures she encounters, in the year 2000, she took part in Anokha, a performance by the French dance company Accrorap, a performance which blended Indian dance with Hip- Hop and toured to enthusiastic audiences from Mexico to Indonesia.
In July of 2002, she performed at the Linbury Studio of the Royal Opera House of London to strong critical acclaim.
In January 2004 she choreographed ‘Ardhanarisvar’ a performance blending the ancient arts of India: Kalaripayat,(martial art) Bharatnatyam(dance) and Indian classical music with Western classical music. This piece received strong critical acclaim at the Suresnes cité dance festival, The National Theater of La Rochelle in France, at the Costante Cambiamento festival in Florence Italy, as well as in Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore Pondichery Chandigarh and Ahmedabad in India. It was co sponsored by the ICCR, The French Embassy in India, The Indian Embassy in France and L’AFFA
In November 2004 she was invited to the ‘Oslo world music festival’ beside Cessaria Evora, Khaled… with the first part of her new choreography entitled ‘Rythmns’ or ‘Between Heaven and Earth’
In March 2005 she was chosen by the fashion photographer Jean Paul Goude to represent the face of India for the Galeries Lafayette.
In February /March 2006 she presented her choreography ” Between Heaven and Earth”/ “Entre Ciel et Terre”, a meeting of Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Flamenco to enthusiastic audiences of the group of 20 theatres around Paris.This performance afterwards travelled to the ‘Lille 3000’ festival in December 2006 and the Biarritz dance festival « Le temps d’aimer la danse » in September 2007.
Hermès France, had chosen her as the dancer and choreographer in the year 2008, to represent the ‘Indian Fantasies’, there year dedicated to India.
In 2008/09 she choreographed “ Rencontre ” / “Meetings” a coming together of Bharatanatyam, Kathak, European ballet, North/South Indian classical music and European classical music. It was greatly appreciated by the public and press alike, during the performances at the ‘Maison des Métallos’ Paris and 8 other major theaters in France. It has since then travelled to the ‘Bergen International music festival’, the Stavanger Concert house, the theaters of Drammen and Ullensakker in Norway in November 2009 and to 4 cities in India: Delhi, Kolkatta, Lucknow and Ahmedabad, under the auspices of the 1st ‘Bonjour India’ festival organized by Cultures France and the ICCR (Indian Council of Cultural Relations) to strong critical acclaim in December 2009.
In March 2010 she concieved, choreographed and directed ‘Hung’ – a surprizing performance drawing its inspiration from the myth of the godess ‘Kali’ – with the actress Valerie Dréville
In October 2010 she was invited to perform ‘Meetings’ at the ‘Oslo Opera House’. It was performed to full houses and standing ovations ’.
In March 2012 she conceived, and choreographed ‘Questionings’, an exceptional and first time ever coming together of Classical Indian dance and music and Black metal music. It was very well received by the press and public alike in all the 4 Indian cities, that it was performed in. (Please see press excerpts on the Questionings page).