BUL-Th-Port-4My research addresses intersectionalities between ‘new interculturalisms’, bodies, race, caste, decolonialities, and gender identity, and I contribute to the fields of diaspora and dance, contemporary South Asian dance and discourses on physical theatre/dance theatre.

My current book project titled Unmaking Contact: Choreographing South Asian Touch interrogates notions of contact, touch and choreographic touch at the intersections of race, caste and gender politics in order to reframe dominant Global North discourses. It is under contract with Oxford University Press and due for publication in 2023/4.

I recently completed a British Academy Small Grant funded project titled ‘Contemporary Dance and Whiteness‘ alongside Drs Simon Ellis (Coventry) and Arabella Stanger (Sussex). The project’s aim was to examine race and racism in British contemporary dance and to critique whiteness as part of a commitment to the field’s anti-racist futures. The project examined whiteness as a structure of racism that exists in the relationships between personal prejudice, cultural norms, and the lived conditions of inequality and racial violence. The project team wanted to walk a fine line in understanding and critiquing the default presence of whiteness in the field of contemporary dance while centering practices of liberation and solidarity through which whiteness is to be dismantled.

Publications: IMG_1076


Mitra, R (2015) Akram Khan: Dancing New Interculturalism Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


Blanco Borrelli, Melissa, Bryce Lease & Royona Mitra (Eds) ‘Outing Archives, Archives Outing’. Special Issue for Contemporary Theatre Review.(2021) 31:1-2. 91-112.

Banerji, Anurima & Royona Mitra (Eds) ‘Decolonising Dance Discourses’. Special Issue for Conversations (January 2021).


Mitra, R, B, Lease & M Blanco Borelli (2022) ‘Introduction: Outing Archives, Archives Outing’. Contemporary Theatre Review. Special Issue ‘Outing Archives, Archives Outing’31:1-2. 4-13.

Mitra, R (2022) ‘Unmaking Contact: Choreographic Touch at the Intersections of Race, Caste, and Gender’. Dance Research Journal. 53.3. 6-24. December 2021 Issue.

Mitra, R (2021) ‘Dancing the Archive Brown, Dancing the Archive Other in Akram Khan’s XENOS (2018)’. Contemporary Theatre Review. Special Issue ‘Outing Archives, Archives Outing’31:1-2. 91-112.

Mitra, R (2018) ‘Talking Politics of Contact Improvisation with Steve Paxton‘. Dance Research Journal, 50.3. 6 – 18.

Mitra, R and A, Banerji, A, Kedhar, J, O’Shea and S, Pillai (2017) ‘Postcolonial Pedagogies: Recasting the Guru–Shishya Parampara‘ in Theatre Topics’ ‘Notes from the Field’. 27.3. 221-230.

Mitra, R (2016) ‘Decolonising Immersion: Translation, Spectatorship, Rasa Theory and Contemporary British Dance‘ in Amelia Jones (Ed) ‘Trans/Performance.’ Performance Research Journal. 21.5. 89-100.

Mitra, R (2014) ‘The Parting Pelvis: Temporality, Sexuality and Indian womanhood in Chandralekha’s Sharira’ in Sherril Dodds (Ed) ‘‘Body Parts: Heads, Hips, Fingers, Feet, Chest, Belly, Butt.’ Dance Research Journal. 46.2. 5-19.

Mitra, R (2009) ‘Akram Khan Re-writes ‘Radha’: The ‘Hypervisible’ Cultural Identity in Kylie Minogue’s ‘Showgirl’’ in Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. 19.1. 23-34.

Mitra, R (2006) ‘Living a Body Myth, Performing a Body Reality’ in Nandi Bhatia (Ed) Feminist Review. 84. 67-83.


Mitra, R. (2020). ‘Costuming Brownnesses in British South Asian Dance’. In J. Ross, S. Manning, & R. Schneider (Eds.), The Futures of Dance Studies. University of Wisconsin Press. (Forthcoming Winter 2019)

Mitra, R. (2017) ‘Akram Khan on the Politics of Choreographing Touch’, in Butterworth, J. and Wieldschut, L. (eds.) Contemporary Choreography: A Critical Reader. London: Routledge.

Mitra, R.  (2017)   ‘Beyond Fixity: Akram Khan on the Politics of Dancing Heritages’, in Morris, G.  and Nicholas, L. (eds.) Rethinking Dance History.  London: Routledge.

Mitra, R (2016) ‘Authorship, Physical Theatre and Justitia’ in Paul Johnson & Sylwia Dobkowska (Eds) Justitia: Multidisciplinary Readings of the work of Jasmin Vardimon Company. Bristol: Intellect Books. 143-154.

Mitra, R (2010) ‘Performing cultural heritage in ‘Weaving Paths’ by Sonia Sabri Dance Company’ in Anthony Jackson and Jennifer Kidd (Eds) Performing Heritage: Research, Practice and Innovation in Museum Theatre and Live Interpretation. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 144-157.

Mitra, R (2010) ‘Living a Body Myth, Performing a Body Reality’ in Amelia Jones (Ed) The Feminism and Visual Cultural Reader (2nd Edition). London: Routledge. 560-570.

Mitra, R (2010) ‘Dancing Embodiment, Theorising Space: Exploring the ‘Third Space’ in Akram Khan’s zero degrees’ in Andre Lepecki & Jenn Joy (Eds) Planes of Composition: Dance, Theory and the Global London: Seagull Books Ltd. 40-63.

Mitra, R (2009) ‘Embodiment of Memory and the Diasporic Agent in Akram Khan’s Bahok in Colin Counsel & Roberta Mock (Eds) Performance, Embodiment and Cultural Memory Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 41-58.

Mitra, R (2005) ‘Cerebrality: Re-writing Corporeality of a female Indian dancer’ in Johannes Birringer and Josephine Fenger (Eds) Tanz im Kopf (Dance & Cognition). 15. 167-183.


Ellis, S, R, Mitra & A Stanger (2020) ‘Racism and Contemporary Dance’ on on Dance and Whiteness Project website.


Mitra, R (2015) ‘Desi Divas: Political Activism in South Asian American Cultural Performance, Book Review’ in Contemporary Theatre Review 25.4. 608-609. 

Mitra, R (2014) ‘The Dance that Make You Vanish, by Rachmi Diyah Larasati: Book Review’ in South Asia: A Journal of South Asian Studies 37.1. 185-187.


Mitra, R (2020) ‘Reflections on a Burning World’ on Dance and Whiteness Project website.

Mitra, R & A, Stanger (2020) ‘AntiRacism in the UK Contemporary Dance Sector in Times of Covid-19’ on Dance and Whiteness Project website.

Mitra. R (2019) I’ve danced my whole life, but none of that is useful at all’: Netflix’s We Speak Dance (2018), Vulnerability and Collaborative Critiques in “The Popular as the Political’ Special Issue of Conversations Across the Field. 

Mitra, R (2018) ‘On Dancing New Interculturalism‘ in Palgrave Theatre’s International Dance Day’s Campaign.

Mitra, R (2017) ‘A Test that Both Fixes and  Mobilises’ in Chow, B with  J, Abrams, M, Blanco Borelli, B, Lease, R, Mitra, J, Parker-Starbuck, G, Peterson (2017) ‘Civic Violence: Grappling with Life in the UK‘. Contemporary Theatre Review ‘Interventions’. 27.4.

Mitra, R et al (2016) ‘Writing from Silence‘ in LondonDance.Com.

Mitra, R (2015) ‘Akram Khan: Dance as Resistance‘ in Seminar Magazine’s special issue on ‘Why Dance?’.


Invited Speaker on “So How Does Gender Matter in South Asian Dance?”, SAMPAD. (November 2022)

Co-Chair and Curator of ‘Anti-Colonial Dance Studies’ Gathering at Dance Studies Association 2022, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. (October 2022)

Speaker with Jaivant Patel at Performance, Communities, Identities Working Group of Theatre and Performance Research Association 2022, Essex University (September 2022)

Invited Speaker with Broderick Chow, Mojisola Adbayo, Olivia Michiko Gagnon, Tia-Monique Uzor & mélissandre varin, TaPRA2021 Annual Conference. (September 2021)

Invited Speaker with Arabella Stanger for Centre for Dynamics of Ethnicity, University of Manchester (June 2021)

Joint Keynote with Mojisola Adebayo and Broderick Chow, Irish Society of Theatre Research, (May 2021)

Invited Speaker with Broderick Chow for Critical Pedagogies Public Lecture, Westminster University (May 2021)

Invited Speaker in Conversation with Rajni Shah, University of Sussex (November 2020)

Keynote at Intersections Conference 2020, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (January 2020)

Speaker at American Studies Association Conference 2019, Honolulu (November 2019)

Speaker at Bodies and Performance Working Group of Theatre and Performance Research Association 2019, Exeter University (September 2019)

Co-Chair and Curator of ‘Decolonising Dance Discourses’ Dual Gatherings at Dance Studies Association 2019, Northwestern University (August 2019)

Invited Respondent to Prof Kehinde Andrews’ Keynote on Beyond Diversity: What Next at SCUDD Annual Conference, Sheffield Hallam University (June 2019)

Invited Curator and Chair of London Theatre Seminars Sponsored Roundtable (May 2019)

Keynote at SPA Annual Conference 2019, University of Malta (March 2019)

Speaker at Public Lecture Series, University of Wolverhampton (March 2019)

Speaker at Postgraduate Research Training Series, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama  (February 2019)

Speaker at National University of Ireland Galway, Research Seminar Series (January 2019)

Speaker at Society of Dance Research’s Choreographic Forum on XENOS, Senate House London (June 2018)

Curator of Akram Khan Company Panel on XENOS, Sadler’s Wells (June 2018)

Speaker at TECHNE, Doctoral Training Partnership Event, Royal Holloway University of London (May 2018)

Keynote at Performing Research Symposium, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (January 2018)

Keynote at Girls School Association Cluster, Pipers Corner School, Buckinghamshire (October 2017)

Keynote at University of Surrey’s Movement Symposium (January 2017)

Kingston University (2016)

Navadisha, South Asian Dance Conference, Birmingham (2016).

Brunel Theatre Research Seminars (2016)

University of Surrey (November 2015)

Brown University, USA (October 2015)

London Theatre Seminars (2014)

Brunel Theatre Research Seminars (2014)

Gdansk Dance Conference at Gdansk Dance Festival (2012)

University of Warwick, Drama Department Annual Research Seminar Series (2008)