Rajashree Shirke

Born on 15 November 1951 in Mumbai, Shrirnati Rajashree Shirke received her initial training in Kathak under D.S. Satamkar, and was later groomed in the art by Madhurita Sarang. She holds a Master's degree in Bharatanatyam from the Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai, where she was a student of Shrimati Kanak Rele. She has also received training in Bharatanatyam from P.N. Rajalakshmi, Kadirvellu, Sounderajan, and Thangamani Nagarajan. She holds a Master's in Hindi literature from the S.ND.T. Women's University, Mumbai.
Well established as a Kathak dancer, Shrimati Rajashree Shirke has channelled her energy also into teaching and choreography. She has performed Kathak at various festivals such as the Kathak Mahotsava in Delhi, the Haridas Sammelan in Mumbai, the Natya Kala Conference in Chennai, the Virasat Festival in Lucknow, and at events organized under the auspices of Shruti Mandal, Jaipur, Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai, and the Banaras Hindu University. Besides teaching dance at Lasya which she established in 1980, Shrimati Shirke has taken classes at the Academy of Theatre Arts in Bombay University since 2004. She has choreographed a number of dance productions with a narrativ e structure, such as Ravana Mandodari Samvaad (2006), Garva Harana (2007), 1857- Ek Uthaav (2009), Gheyi Ha Chhand! Makrand (2010), Hori Khela (2011), Rasa Yatra (2012), Khata (2012), and Sangeet Kanhopatra (2012). Some of these dramas are based on sources in the classics and modern Indian literature, while others are structured in the manner of traditional performances of Maharashtra. Shrimati Shirke has also collaborated with director Chetan Datar in theatrical productions such as Mata Hidimba (2002) and Haravlele Pratibimba (2004). She has organized seminars focusing on Marathi folk theatre, the linkage of literature and Kathak, and choreography in classical dance. Currently, she is researching on narrative performances in the temples of North India with the help of a Senior Research Fellowship of the Ministry of Culture, Government of lndia.
Among other honours, Shrirmati Shirke has received the Marathi Sahitya Sangh Award twice (2003, 2006) for her work in experimental theatre and choreography. Shrimati Rajashree Shirke receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution to Kathak dance.