Ayla Joncheree leads the Rajasthan Rural Arts Programme (RRAP) and translates the RRAP vision into reality. Her professional background involves about 18 years of experience in the arts, research, and the cultural management sector spanning the domains of curation, organisation, in-dept knowledge gathering, fundraising and project management.
Relying on these multiple years of experience, she has developed herself as an artist-scholar: she is practicing artist (dancer) and a scholar, in search of in-depth knowledge on the subjects she works on. She made her first acquaintance with Rajasthani performing arts in 2001. A couple of Rajasthani musicians living in Belgium brought over dancers from Jodhpur and she started an intense training in Kalbeliya dance with them. She enrolled into the Indian Languages and Cultures program of Ghent University (2006). She studied Hindi and Sanskrit, Indian history and religions and took a minor in Anthropology and a post-graduate in Cultural Management. In 2012, she received a PhD research grant (2012 – 2016) with the title: “Kālbeliyās – Dancers, Gypsies or Snake Charmers: Staging of Authenticity and Dynamics of Identity”. Currently she works on a post-doctoral project at Ghent University (2017 - 2020), focusing on the practice of Kalbeliya dance by non-Indian performers. Simultaneously, she has always continued to train and work as a dancer. In 2014, she co-founded an Indian dance collective in Belgium: Bollylicious.