Andrée Grau is Professor of the Anthropology of Dance and Programme Leader for the MA Dance Anthropology.

Andrée Grau trained in dance in her native Switzerland and in London. She graduated from the Benesh Institute in 1976 and was awarded an MA in Social-Anthropology (Ethnomusicology/Ethnochoreology) and PhD in Social-Anthropology from The Queen's University of Belfast, respectively in 1979 and 1983.

She has carried out fieldwork in Southern Africa, among the Venda; Aboriginal Australia, among the Tiwi of Melville and Bathurst Islands; India (Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka,Gujarat) and London, looking at performance from cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspectives. She has published - in English as well as French - in academic as well as professional journals within the fields of dance, music, visual anthropology and social anthropology. She has contributed to a number of encyclopaedias, writing entries for Australian Aboriginal dance and Eastern and Southern African dance.

She regularly presents her work at conferences in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America and acts as consultant for television, radio, and publishers in the UK and overseas.


A.I. Chor. (Associate of the Institute of Choreology) (1976)
F.I. Chor. (Fellow of the Institute of Choreology) (1979)
MA (Ethnomusicology / Ethnochoreology) (1979)
PhD Social-Anthropology (1983)

Research interests

The anthropology of dance, the anthropology of the body, Australian Aboriginal (Tiwi) dance, South Asian dance in Britain, identity and dance, dance in transnational and postcolonial world, dance and gender, arts for social change

Research projects

She directed the Leverhulme project 'South Asian Dance in Britain: Negotiating cultural identity through dance' (1998-2001) and was assistant director of the AHRB (Arts and Humanities Research Board) Centre for Cross-Cultural Music and Dance Performance (2002-2007), a collaboration between SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, London University), UniS (University of Surrey Guildford) and Roehampton.

Professional affiliations

Association of Social Anthropologists of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Islanders Studies

Congress on Research in Dance

European Association of Social Anthropologists

ICTM Ethnochoreology Study Group

Royal Anthropological Institute

Society for Dance Research

Consultancy work

Dance Studies
Dance Anthropology

Member of Editorial Board of The International Journal of traditional Arts

Peer-reviewed for publishers: Ashgate, Dance Books, Sage, Routledge.

Peer-reviewed for journals British Journal of Ethnomusicology, Dance Research Journal; Sport and Society

Refereed for the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Norwegian Research Council, and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

Interviewed for:
  • BBC World Service The Why Factor on why people dance (2014)
  • BBC Radio 4 Questions Questions on the evolutionary significance of dance (2005)
  • BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour on the first dance at weddings(2005)
  • BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour on why men don't dance (2004)

Adviser, Reputations: Mata Hari: unveiling the myth, BBC2 (2000)
Writer and presenter of programme on Venda music for 'Radio Television Suisse Romande', Geneva (1990)
Adviser BBC Television and Iambic Productions (1990)
Adviser, 'Dancing' Television series produced by Bruce Milliard for Ulster Television, 1988
Writer and presenter 'Songs of the Tiwi and other Aboriginal Peoples' for BBC Radio 3 'A celebration of Australia', May 1988
Adviser, 'The Dance Project', directed by Rhoda Grauer for WNET New York Television, 1988
Adviser, 'Naturally Creative', a Dibb Directions Production for Channel Four Television, 1987


Her main teaching lies in the area of the anthropology of performance. Her research interests are: dance and identity; dance in transnational contexts; cross-cultural concepts of classicism; cross-cultural conceptualisation of the body; dance and postcolonialism; arts for social change.

Examining Experience: Roehampton University: internal examiner BA, MA & PhD

External examiner
BA: Middlesex University (1998-2001)
MA: Laban Centre (1992-1994), Limerick University (1998-2001)

PhD examined since 2010:

  • Université Paris VIII, St Denis (2010) - Federica Fratagnoli, thesis : Les danses savantes de l'Inde â  l'épreuve de l'occident : formes hybrides et contemporaines du religieux.
  • Université Blaise Pascal, France (2010) - Anne Cazemajou, thesis: Le travail de yoga en cours de danse contemporaine: Analyse anthropologique de l'experience corporel.
  • Royal Holloway, London University (2011) - Royona Mitra, thesis Akram Khan: Performing the Third Space.
  • Université Blaise Pascal, France (2013) - Barbara Çurda, thesis: Enjeux identitaires, relationnels et esthétiques de la transmission de la danse Odissi en Inde: Le cas d'une école émergente à Bhubaneswar dans l'état d'Orissa.
  • University of Sydney (2014) - Geneviève Campbell, Thesis Ngarakuruwala - we sing: the songs of the Tiwi islands, Northern Australia.
  • Royal Holloway, University, of London (2014) - Phakamas Jirajarupat, thesis Lakhon Phanthang: Thai Traditional Theatre in the Modern World.
  • Australian National University (2016) - Yukiriko Doi, Thesis Milpirri at Lajamanu as an intercultural locus of Warlpiri discourse with others


Research outputs

  1. The anthropology of dance

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  2. Dance and narrative of womanhood

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  3. La danse, une approche anthropologique

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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